In the heart of the Scottish Highlands with the towering Cairngorm Mountains to the south and the River Spey skirting its fringe, there are few more sylvan settings than the Boat of Garten Golf Club. Heather and silver birch trees outline many holes with the chuffing of the nearby Strathspey Steam Railway adding a delightful nostalgic touch.
Elgin Golf Club
Elgin, along with Boat of Garten, Grantown-on-Spey, Forres and Moray, is one of the 5 venues for the Speyside Golf Festival.
It really is a surprise to most visitors to discover just how good Elgin Golf Club is in every respect. The much under-rated course has some of the best Par 4’s in Scotland. From the start you are stretched with eight Par 4’s over 400 yards including the 1st and 2nd. You get a bit of a breather on the 3rd but it is not an easy green to hit and hold. And so it goes! Long irons & fairway woods tend to get much more of an airing here.
There’s a good balance to the round though and that’s what makes it special. You are tested for two or three holes then given a break. Then comes another tough stretch, hitting you hard before the course throws you some slack again. You might be hankering to take on Scotland’s wind-tossed links but a round here at Elgin will create a new interest and healthy respect for heathland golf.
Forres, along with Elgin, Grantown-on-Spey, Moray and Boat of Garten, is one of the 5 venues for the Speyside Golf Festival.
Designed by Open Championship winners James Braid and Willie Park, Forres Golf Club is just less than 6300 yards, not the longest by today’s standards but it certainly provides a good test. The course offers a chance to relax and appreciate a truly delightful setting. Well known for its spectacular views over Findhorn Bay and the Moray Firth, Forres Golf Course is always beautifully maintained and a joy to play.
But for good golfers, there’s plenty of challenge to be encountered. The course is crammed with memorable holes such as the 16th, aptly named ‘Pond’ where a watery grave awaits errant tee shots. In its recent history Forres has been honoured to host events such as the Scottish Professional Championship, the Northern Open, and the Scottish Young Professionals Championships - a testimony to its intrinsic quality.
Grantown on Spey, along with Elgin, Moray, Forres and Boat of Garten, is one of the 5 venues for the Speyside Golf Festival.
The picture-perfect Speyside village of Grantown-on-Spey offers one of those delightful golf dalliances. It doesn’t really matter how well you play here, you’re really going to enjoy it! Grantown is simply gorgeous, a delight to the eye and a pleasure to amble over. The first half dozen holes are open and let you warm up. Cross the road to the 7th and it’s a different world, tree-lined and heathery with noticeable changes in elevation. Murdie’s View is the 9th; a 275-yard reachable Par 4. Many have a pop at the green from the panoramic high tee and only the fortunate few succeed.
Grantown is effectively three courses in one with the closing few holes different again, providing a unique series of provocative challenges that really do ask some serious questions of your play. For this reason many feel this is the most exhilarating section.
Moray Old Course, along with Elgin, Grantown-on-Spey, Forres and Boat of Garten, is one of the 5 venues for the Speyside Golf Festival.
Like the famous Old Course at St Andrews, Moray Old starts and finishes in town. This is classic links, marching away from the clubhouse all the way to the 12th before turning for home close to the beach. Catching the full effect of wind and tide, this is golf-by-the-sea as it should be! Moray Old was laid out by Old Tom Morris back in 1889 with little fundamental change to it’s routing since. The 18th is considered one of the finest finishing holes in Scotland. A wall and gardens on the right are out of bounds but you need a solid drive to gain position to reach the parapet green.
Moray Golf Club also offers Moray New, Henry Cotton's challenging 18-hole layout that is shorter and tighter than the Old with smaller greens yet every bit a challenging and rewarding test.