The course is short but this does not mean it cannot be challenging, by using the land astutely. There are only two par fives and two par fours where most players will use a driver. However, a further six par fours could invite long hitters to use a driver and go for the green or play for a short approach. The creative design will make this risky with strategically placed fairway bunkers and carefully protected greens with tricky putting complexes and surfaces. Also, there will be narrow fairways where heather and gorse lie in wait for the error-prone golfer to deal with. The course, despite not being championship length does well in the Scottish rankings. The top 50 courses are dominated by seaside links courses. On top100golfcourses.com Boat of Garten is currently ranked 38 in Scotland and in the top ten of non-links courses. For a heathland/moorland course only Gleneagles Kings and Queens are ahead plus Blairgowrie Rosemount just ahead at 36. It also does well in the best value listings.
Boat of Garten Golf Course (5876 yards, Par 70)
Garten is a small village in Badenoch and Strathspey, Highland, Scotland. The Golf Course is set alongside the River Spey in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, just 10 minutes’ drive from the village and Ski Resort of Aviemore. It can easily be accessed off the A9 Trunk Road. The location is known as the “Gateway to the Highlands”. The course is a hybrid of Heathland and Moorland which caused it to be labelled “The Gleneagles of the North”. The Cairngorm National Park is one of Scotland’s areas of outstanding beauty with the highest mountains in the UK. The River Spey is to the East of the course with a splendid backdrop of the Monadhliath Mountains. West of the course is the old-world Strathspey Railway which runs from Aviemore to Garten. To the South are the dominant Cairngorm Mountains. The club was formed in 1898 as a six hole course and in 1910 two more holes were added. In 1930 more land became available to rent and James Braid a renowned golf architect and winner of five Open Championships designed eighteen holes. The new course was in play in 1932. Braid’s design contains eighteen completely distinctive holes in a Birch Forest with the snow clad Cairngorm mountains providing the perfect backdrop. Each hole is cleverly and thoughtfully created and routed through fairways lined by the birch trees, heather and gorse, maximising the natural landscape and producing a beautiful and challenging, strategic test of golf. Minor changes have been made at times to improve the course. The fourteenth was relocated to introduce a dogleg. A new green was made for the fourth to establish a par five. The thirteenth was extended to make it a par five. The club celebrated its Centenary in 1998. For golf in the Scottish Highlands, Boat of Garten should be on every visitor's itinerary.
Selected golf Holes
Hole 2 - Urie - 360 yards, par 4, index 6 – This hole was recently included in the Best 100 Golf Holes in Scotland. From the tee it runs through the forest up and down along the fairway. Aim down the left half of the fairway to reach the widest landing area. This should give you a mid or short iron to the elevated green that sits precariously on the top of a ridge. A severe slope from front to back leaves a difficult putt down the green.
Hole 6 – Avenue - 403 yards, par 4, index 2 - This is believed to be is one of the best tests of golf in the north of Scotland. From an elevated tee your drive should reach the corner of a dog leg. From here an accurate iron shot is required to a demanding green. Cutting the corner is fraught with danger. If you cannot reach the green in two, leave you approach shot short and left to get the best view of the hogsback green.
Hole 8 – Plateau - 355 yards, par four, index 12 - From an elevated tee you drive down a fairway lined with silver birch trees. It is difficult to hold the fairway, the slopes can to take your ball off towards either side. The best option however is down the left side of the fairway. The green is high above you so your approach shot needs to carry all the way. Possibly take an extra club on your approach to make sure that you get your ball up onto the green.
Hole 11 – Braeriach - 379 yards, par four, index 3 – This hole plays back along the plateau. A drive down the left will open up the green. Then it is a mid to long iron approach. Longer hitters can cut the corner but that is a high risk shot.
Hole 13 – Tulloch - 473 yards, par 5, index 1 – From the tee there is generous landing area to set you up for layup shot of 170-200yds over the brow of the hill. Your second shot is uphill leaving a short iron to a very firm green protected by bunkers and a steep slope to the right.
Hole 14 – Spey - 323 yards, par 4, index 5 – A short par four with the best choice being an accurate tee shot to the left half of the fairway. The 2nd shot can be deceiving as you cannot see the bottom of the pin. It is best to trust the yardage because the green can look a lot closer than it actually is.
Hole 15 – Gully - 307 yards, par 4, index 15 - At the tee there is a lookout tower to view the hole which has two blind shots. There are two indicator poles to give you the line. Longer hitters may be able to take the green on from the tee. For the average player however, a tee shot of around 150yds will leave a shot of about the same distance over the gully to the sloping green.
Hole 16 – Craigowrie - 168 yards, par 3, index 9 – Trust the yardage and fly your ball all the way to the green, as the slope at the front can make it very difficult to save par. A deceptive par three that always appears much longer than it actually is.
Hole 18 – Road - 437 yards, par 4, index 7 – This hole requires two good accurate long shots. Aim left from the tee, because from the centre it will feed right leaving a tighter approach down the tree line. The green sits beside the clubhouse. Be sure that you have enough club because the slope at the front of the green will bring any short shot back, typically about 30 yards.
The Cairngorm Brewery Company is located in the village of Aviemore within the Cairngorms National Park in the Highlands of Scotland. Keen to keep traditional recipes alive and brewing new and interesting styles, the brewery has gained many awards and accolades for their beers. This is achieved by using the finest malted and roast barley, hops and crystal clear mountain water.
Traditional Scottish recipes such as Black Gold, Wild Cat and Stag are well established beers, along with new modern brews that have been added such as Trade Winds, White Lady and Autumn Nuts. The Brewery shop is open to the public and sets a perfect showcase for the award winning beers, guest ales and brewery merchandise. Tours are provided offering samples of ales. The Cairngorm Brewery provides a warm friendly Highland welcome and you will enjoy a visit when in the area.
Loch Garten Osprey Centre – is located at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds ( RSPB) Loch Garten Osprey Reserve. It is the ideal spot to observe these magnificent birds, with fantastic views of birds on the nest and close ups thanks to the non-invasive CCTV. This ancient Caledonian pine forest is where the ospreys chose to come when they returned to Scotland to breed. You can learn all about this and more from the helpful staff who are always on hand to answer any questions. Binoculars and telescopes are also on hand to add to your experience. The centre is also open daily during the spring for Caper watch (to see capercaillies, Scotland's largest grouse), although you will have to be a bit of an early bird to manage the 05:30 opening time. The reserve is a great place to go for a walk too, with some excellent trails to follow, plus the chance to see dragonflies, crested tits, and even red squirrels.
Cairngorm National Park - Summary
The National Park is home to the highest mountains in the United Kingdom, high above sea level you might think that you were in the Arctic on some of the highest plateaux in the world. The Cairngorms are mountains that form part of the Grampians and are perhaps the most famous of the mountain ranges. They are the UK’s largest area of high ground and can make for low winter temperatures and cool summers. The weather is unpredictable at best due to the huge mountains in the centre of the Park and as such, the mountain range environment can be as dangerous as it is spectacular. With avalanches in winter and flash floods in the summer, frost pockets develop in valley bottoms and gale-force winds ravage the mountain plateaus during storms. The mountains are home to some exceptional wildlife species, with some making their homes high up on the mountains in the Park. The Ptarmigan, a plump bird, who in the winter sheds its mix of grey, brown and black feathers to become totally white, with the exception for its tail and a black eye patch, is a striking bird that can be spotted high up on the Cairn Gorm and is happiest in more arctic-like environments. While other birds are more migratory, like the Dotterel which can be found high up in the mountains in the summer months, while the Snow Bunting likes to make its home here in the winter. Mountain Hares, like the Ptarmigan, also change colour season to season to keep them camouflaged from predators such as the Golden Eagle, who soar high above ridgelines, catching thermals and looking for prey.
Other Local Attractions are: Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness, The Malt Whiskey Trail, Strathspey Steam Railway, The Highland Folk Museum and Glenmore National Nature Centre.