• Neil White

Nairn


The welcome was warm, the tees, fairways and greens were pristine and the views across the Moray Firth were stunning.


But both Mrs W and I found Nairn easily the toughest of our adventures in the north of Scotland. Indeed, it defeated us.


Nairn has a sense of being a more up-market than our two previous venues - Brora and Royal Dornoch.




The smart clubhouse has an air of everything being ‘just so’ and the spotless asphalt path to the starter’s hut alongside the perfect practice putting green give an impression of care about detail.


There is certainly no lack of staff activity on the course – every hole on the front nine was being maintained as we played.


Indeed, the very friendly starter proudly pointed out the considerable expenditure on the course over recent years, especially on the sand traps.



Ah, the bunkers of Nairn. I don’t think I am exaggerating if I admit having played in at least eight of them possibly more.


In my opinion, the course relies on them too much. Even the supposedly easier holes are defended by them and we often found that what initially appeared to be good shots were gobbled up.


I accepted my fate on the picturesque par-three fourth where a bunker lurks once the approach has been weaved through two mounds.



But the defence on some holes was so stern that it was almost impossible to see a way around them. For example, I felt pity for Mrs W on the 11th after her well struck tee shot found the deep trap directly in front of the flag. Her lie was flush against the face, so she didn’t score.


The opening seven holes have the potential of beach sand coming into play if a mis-timed shot heads towards the sea.



The starter had informed us that the tide was out so if we were wayward, we could playback on to the course. I nearly took him at his word with a shanked shot into the first which resulted in a lost ball in the rocks!


Nairn devoured more of mine than any course since I played Portrush in a storm about five years ago. Sure, it wasn’t my best day with the driver but I thought the landing areas were too narrow on a couple of occasions found my punishment was unfair.




This was especially true on the short par-four 15th when I hit a pretty tidy strike from between the trees on the set-back tee only to be searching in vain for my ball.


Of course, I could appreciate that there are some cracking holes at Nairn. The 212-yard downhill par-three 14th is a scorcher as is the uphill par-four 13th.





But whereas I felt that during our recent games, courses were set up with an eye to the player gaining some success, it felt that Nairn was set up to punish us.


And there was simply no let-up.





Was it because the wind direction was the opposite way around to normal? I don’t know but I did feel that it required a level of golf I don’t possess even though I’m off a respectable 12 and only last week I had a decent game around Muirfield, one of the world’s toughest tracks.












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