Boat of Garten Golf Club Course Review

A picturesque Highland, heathland course where the striking Cairngorm mountains provide a stirring backdrop

Boat of Garten Golf Club
The 1st and 2nd holes at Boat of Garten
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Boat of Garten Golf Club Course Review

GF From £30 to £75
Par 70, 5,876 yards
Slope 131
GM Verdict – Perfect little heathland course in a spectacular setting with tree-lined fairways and views to the high Cairngorms.
Favourite Hole – 13th. A sweeping, uphill par 5 requiring power and precision to find a well-guarded green

Boat of Garten Golf Club

The 5th at Boat of Garten

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In the shadow of the magnificent Cairngorms amongst the pines and birches, you’re surrounded by beautiful yet fairly uncompromising countryside. But you’re (hopefully) strolling across manicured fairways rather than trudging through heather and over scree. Even when your game is at its lowest ebb, the spectacular scenery here will make for a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable round.

Boat of Garten Golf Club

The 2nd at Boat of Garten

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Designed by James Braid and established in 1898 Boat of Garten tests your accuracy and patience. The course is not long, just under 6,000 yards, but a straight ball is essential if a good score is to be recorded. The fairways are tight and lined with woodland, they’re also hard and undulating leading to cruel bounces. Even apparently straight drives can end up in the trees. The small greens are notoriously difficult to hold. Approaches that are just off-line can fall away and leave a tough up-and-down. It’s a deft short game that will sort the wheat from the chaff here.

Boat of Garten

8th hole at Boat of Garten

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Boat of Garten is one of those courses you’re sure you’ll master the next time you play. But, be warned, there are some long-time members who still feel that way.

Boat of Garten Golf Club

The 1st green

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A short par-3 gets things underway, but the pressure builds quickly with a testing tee shot on the 2nd. The course then forges out along the side of the Strathspey Steam Railway via the excellent par-5 4th from where follows a run of tricky, tree-lined par 4s to the lovely wee par-3 9th. The back nine offers a selection of highly memorable holes with great views to the hills.

Boat of Garten Golf Club

13th at Boat of Garten

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The par-5 13th is narrow and uphill, turning from right to left to a firm green, the 15th is a driveable par-4, played over a gully. You either go for it or lay-up and approach with two shots of 150 yards. The home hole is a tester that most will play as a par 5, turning to the right towards a raised green. “The Boat” is a unique and characterful course that challenges and captivates in equal measure.

Fergus Bisset
Fergus Bisset

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and it was concentrated by his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?