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Tain Golf Club

Tain golf course first tee
The view from the 1st tee may look like a peaceful kingdom, but you won't have to wait long to know it's no pushover.

Don't let first impressions fool you. Tain may look like a lamb from the first tee but there's a lion lurking, and the big cat springs to life after your first shot. Never have I seen a golf course whose bite is so much fiercer that its seemingly benevolent bark. Viewing the golf course from the first tee one sees a rather peaceful scene of gentle terrain--nothing really to worry about. It's only after you view the first green from the fairway that you see what you've gotten yourself into--how about two fences, a road, and a gully to negotiate and badlands all around the green? Not exactly what you had in mind when you teed up your ball. But hold on, there lots more fun ahead.

Tain's first green. Having gotten past the bunker on the left at 195 yards and water on the right at 221 yards, you've now got to get your ball up and over two fences and a road and stop it on the green. The fun has begun.

Golfers in the know always include Tain in their Northern Highland itinerary

Tain is a marvelous golf course and one of the most enjoyable plays in all of Scotland. Golfers in the know always schedule Tain when in the area. For sheer enjoyment, nothing can top it. From fairways that look to be sculptured using Quasimodo as a model to the generous scattering of gorse and broom throughout, to the placement of greens in positions that demand utmost accuracy, In addition, there's the Tain River that winds its way throughout the golf course and comes into play on four holes.

Tain golf course takes you for the ride of your golfing life.

Tain golf course is yet another of the legendary Old Tom Morris's designs, at least twelve holes of it are. Eighteen holes were not yet the norm when he designed it in 1890. Yet although there was more than one hand involved, there is great continuity in the design with each hole flowing into the next in what seems like a natural progression. Many of the Morris holes incorporate tee shots where the green is not visible. On some, the 11th in particular, the green is not visible even from the fairway!

Tain golf course view from 11th tee
View from 11th tee. Not a flag in sight. And you won't see it until you're on the green.

11th fairway on Tain golf course in the Highlands
View from the fairway on the 11th. The green is over the humps. The official name of this hole is "Alps" but the members call it "Dolly Parton"! There's a good birdie opportunity if you bring your shot in over the "cleavage."

Tain golf course 11th green
View from the green side of the cleavage on the 11th.

We highly recommend Tain links to the independent golfer. Great golf, great price.

By the way, don't let the raw and parched look of this golf course deceive you. Although most American golfers would think it's a sign of poor golf course management, it's done on purpose and there is a method in this madness, typical of so many links-type courses. How else to let the ground features asssert themselves? Plus, it's your friend when the wind howls because it allows you to keep the ball low and running. You don't want to be in the air when the air is moving at 30 mph. (Graeme Lennie, the Pro at Crail Golf Club, is so often asked how to play when the wind is blowing, and he tells them, "Keep your putts low to the ground, laddie.")

Tain overlooks the Dornoch Firth and the sea is your companion on many of the holes and the mountains visible on all of them, so even if you're playing poorly your eyes will be feasting on beauty.
According to the write-up in Tain's yardage book, "The sheltered location of the course ensures favourable weather for most of the year--winter greens are seldom used at Tain." That's good news if you're traveling to the area in the off-season.

A good way to end your visit is with a relaxing round or two at the clubhouse. There's excellent food and drink with a good view of the golf course and the 18th green.

Munro Ferries,
the able Pro.

Munro loves the golf course and will give you the lowdown not only on the best way to play it but a bit of the history of the links as well.

He is also a good source of information about the other courses in the area. Munro is a friendly guy. You'll like him

Golf Nook Scotland rating - an enthusiastic BIRDIE
Mary-Alice suggests....
What to Do All Day around Tain
You can always opt to remain in Dornoch, in which case refer to Northern Highlands. But I strongly suggest that you come to Tain and enjoy some of the interesting and rewarding experiences available here. Tain is the oldest royal burgh in Scotland, and was founded in 1066. Whisky, pottery, silver and cheeses are produced here, and you can visit each of the producers. Also, the Pictish Trail goes through Tain and the surrounding area, and the Trail is signposted so you can easlily follow it. Much history here.

Market Street and the town centre has so much to offer--beautiful buildings of architectural importance, and from family-run small shops to exclusive designer shops. Something for everyone. And if you get hungry, you will discover a broad range of eateries, from little tea shops to upscale restaurants.

Collegiate Church of St. Duthac - one of the finest medieval buildings in the Highlands.

Tain Through - on Tower Street. Includes museums, visitors' centre, and a medieval church in a beautiful churchyard setting.

Glenmorangie - Guided tours daily. See the age-old process and the shining elegance of the copper stills, the tallest in Scotland. The modest admission price is redeemable against purchases. You'll see the signposts for Glenmorangie as you approach Tain.

Tarbat Discovery Centre - a major attraction on the Pictish Trail.

An important archeological centre with finds from the excavations carried out on the site by the University of York. The first Pictish monastery from the early days of Scotland's conversion to Christianity (6th-9th Century) has been revealed. You'll also see wonderful sculpture carved by the Picts, never before publicly displayed, along with many other finds from the Picts and Vikings. Tarbat Discovery Centre is housed in a beautifully restored 18th Century church, which itself is of great historical interest.
Not an "amusement attraction," Tarbat Discovery Centre is a serious and well-done presentation of important, on-going archeological work. I found it fascinating and well worth the few extra miles from Tain. The modest admission fee helps support the work.
From the A9 turn east at Tain, following signs for Portmahomock.

Lighthouse at Portmahomack --
After you've visited the Tarbat Discovery Centre, drive the few extra minutes out to the tip of the peninsula--Tarbat Ness. Just follow the signs for the lighthouse. Leave the car in the car park and walk to the edge of the cliffs for a view you will never forget. Bring your camera.