Tain Golf Club Course Review

Very natural course set on the beautiful southern side of the Dornoch Firth

Tain Golf
The 1st green at Tain
(Image credit: Tain Golf Club)

Tain Golf Club Course Review

GF £35 - £70
Par 70, 6,404 yards
Slope 127
GM Verdict – A fine Scottish seaside course is a beautiful setting, delivering interesting and entertaining variety.
Favourite Hole – 17th. Black Bridge is one of the great par-3s requiring power and accuracy to avoid the snaking river.


The 4th at Tain

(Image credit: Tain Golf Club)

Old Tom Morris was employed to lay out a course at Tain in 1889 and it was open for play in 1890. The course is fondly described as his “Northern Jewel.” 10 of Old Tom’s original holes remain in play to this day: On the way out, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th and 9th and coming home, the 10th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th.

Sheltered by its position on the south side of the Dornoch Firth, Tain is sometimes overlooked by visitors who steam straight on to Royal Dornoch. But those who do are missing a treat. Tain offers a great example of the natural Scottish links. Protected by gorse and heather, burns and deep rough it’s a challenging proposition and one that can be extremely rewarding. On a pleasant day with the call of seabirds on a gentle breeze, and views to the surrounding mountains there are few more calm or scenic spots to swing a club in the British Isles.

Tain Golf

Aerial view of the 16th green

(Image credit: Tain Golf Club)

Over the years, Tain has been a regular host to championships including the Northern Counties Cup and the Northern Links Challenge. The course opens with a tricky par-4. Water and out-of-bounds lurk right from the tee and the approach is blind, over a road to a testing wee green. Two further tough par-4s are followed by a demanding par-5 that is only reachable in two for the very longest hitters, prepared to take a bold line from the tee. The short holes are a feature at Tain and the 5th is the first of them – a very attractive par-3 well protected by bunkers. On the back nine – there are back-to-back Tom Morris designed par-3s on the 16th and 17th – The first of those demands accuracy to avoid both bunkers and river. The 17th is an absolute cracker with the river protecting short and right.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during 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 history section of "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?