Tain Golf Club
Old Tom Morris came to Tain in 1890, after creating Royal Dornoch up the road. Here at Tain, Morris laid out 15 holes, three of which the club didn’t keep. A few years on, Dornoch’s John Sutherland extended the course to a full 18. Today, 10 of Morris’s original holes remain untouched.
From the medal tees Tain goes 6,400 yards, which does suggest that it’s one of those courses you are obliged to play “smart.” But at par 70, and with four par 4’s of more than 400 yards, Tain readily accepts the driver. The par 3’s are substantial; one requires a 3-wood and that’s without the wind, which is never. The typical Tain green is fast, rumpled and bunkered. Tain holds its own. Take Tain’s third hole, 435 yards, a dogleg left par 4. It’s a dog that bites, one that presents on any given shot a baffling series of calculations, none exclusive of the others, and each of which must be reckoned correctly, especially off the tee. There’s the ever-present wind, the curve, the plateau up there, and those springy fairways that can carry the “perfect” drive to oblivion. Never mind those bumps in the lawn; they’ll do with the ball as they please. It’s a “fearsome” hole, says Munro Ferries, the Ian Woosnam look-alike who serves as Tain’s golf professional.