Golf

Bonar Bridge: (7 miles) A heath and moorland course. Undulating, narrow, tree-lined fairways favour the accurate rather than the long hitter, and there are some small, difficult to read, greens. Rough is not fierce and the course is suitable for high handicap players and the visitor in search of family golf. Easy walking, great views and the chance to see and hear a huge variety of wildlife.

9 holes, 5,284 yards (for 18 holes), par 68 (SSS 66). Amateur record 66.

Skibo: (13 miles) Greg Norman said of this magnificent links `There is nothing better in life than a dream come true – and this is definitely that dream.` A testing, but fair, championship course with magnificent scenery of the estuarial waters of the Firth on three sides and the hills of Sutherland and Ross-shire all around. The course has a wide range of tees to suit all standards of play.

18 holes, 6,671 yards. Par 71 (SSS 72). Professional record:69. Amateur record: 70.

Dornoch: (18 miles) Ask any knowledgeable golfer to name his top 10 courses in the world and it`s almost certain that Royal Dornoch will feature high among them. This outstanding links is a championship course of the highest order and encapsulates everything a golfer seeks in the most satisfying of rounds – a beautiful setting, a tough but fair test of skill and fast, tricky greens. Bordered by the Dornoch Firth with views of the mountains of Sutherland and the gorse ablaze with yellow in early summer, the purity of the air and the surroundings ensure you feel good, no matter your score.

18 holes, 6,514 yards. Par 70 (SSS 73). Amateur record: C. Christie 66. Championship record: 62.

Golspie: (26 miles) Founded in 1889, Golspie is a mixture of links, heath and parkland, offering a challenge to all standards of golfer. When the wind blows, the course offers a true test of shot-making. Stunning views over the Dornoch Firth on one side and majestic Ben Bhraggie on the other, an easy-walking course and a friendly relaxed atmosphere in the clubhouse.

18 holes, 5,836 yards, par 68 (SSS 68).

Brora: (31 miles) The club was established in 1891 and this traditional links course was designed by James Braid in 1923. Australia`s Peter Thomson, five times Open Champion, says it is `the most natural links anywhere in the world.` And Today`s Golfer magagine voted it Best Value Course in Britain. Offers all the challenges of links with host of interesting and testing holes. Maintained in traditional fashion. Noted for fast, true greens.

18 holes, 6,110 yards, par 69 (SSS 69). Amateur record: J Miller 61.

Tain: Part inland, part links course with fast greens. River Tain winds through course at three holes. Designed by Old Tom Morris in 1890. Tain is also the home of the Glenmorangie malt whisky and the distillery is worth a visit.

18 holes, 6,404 yards, par 70 (SSS 71).

Alness: (21 miles) A beautifully-situated parkland course, overlooking the Cromarty Firth and surrounding hills of Easter Ross and the Black Isle. The course was extended from 9 to 18 holes in 1997 and offers a challenge to all levels of golfer. Not a long course, 4886 yards, but tight and the small greens can test and promote skilful approach shots. The new clubhouse was officially opened in 2000 and offers all facilities. The comfortable lounge has views over the town of Alness, known for its floral displays which regularly win Britain in Bloom and Scotland in Bloom trophies.

18 holes, 4,886 yards, par 67 (SSS 64).

Nairn: (52 miles) An outstanding championship course with fast greens on the shores of the Moray Firth. After Great Britain & Ireland defeated the United States to win the 37th Walker Cup here in 1999, the vanquished`s captain Danny Yates paid tribute to this traditional Scottish links, saying: `The golf course was spectacular. The conditioning, the set-up couldn`t have been better. This has been a special place and the people have been so wonderful.`

CHAMPIONSHIP COURSE: 18 holes , 6,705 yards (championship tees), par 72 (SSS 74). Medal 6,430 yards, par 71. Amateur record: Marc Warren 66. Pro record: David Small 65.


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