Local Knowledge: David Owen's itinerary
September 26, 2007
Boat of Garten G. & Tennis C.
The village of Boat of Garten was named for a nearby river ferry, long since put out of business by a bridge. The golf course — known locally as "the Boat" — was designed in the early 1900s by James Braid, who also designed the Kings and Queens courses at Gleneagles. Willie Auchterlonie (pictured) has been a long-time member.5,648 yards; par 70 / boatgolf.com / 479-831282 / $65-$75View more photos of the Boat.
Tarbat Golf Club, in the microscopic village of Portmahomack, was founded in 1909. It's a links course on a sandy promontory on the southern side of Dornoch Firth, and on a clear day you can look across the water to Dornoch.4,657 yards; par 68 / 862-871486 / $36View more photos of Tarbat G.C.
Strathpeffer Spa G.C.
My playing partners did not doubt where I should go next: Strathpeffer Spa Golf Club, about 40 miles southwest. Strathpeffer's designers included Willie Park Jr., who laid out the original nine in 1888, and Old Tom Morris, who expanded the course to 18 holes in 1900. The course is quirky in the extreme.4,617 yards; par 65 / strathpeffergolf.co.uk / 997-421011 / $40View more photos of Strathpeffer Spa G.C.
My next destination was Cullen, in Morayshire, on the southern coast of the Moray Firth. A number of golfers I'd met had recommended Cullen, along with several other courses in the same general area, and I had found a tantalizing photograph in Scotland's Golf Courses. The book describes the terrain at Cullen as "not typical linksland because on several holes the golfer has to negotiate abandoned sea-cliffs and stacks.4,376 yards; par 63; cullengolfclub.co.uk; 542-840685; $40-$51View more photos of Cullen G.C.