The Highlands – Boat of Garten – 5800 yds – Par 70
When it comes to golf in the Scottish Highlands, Boat of Garten should be first on every visitor’s itinerary. Designed by one of the grand-masters of golf course architecture, James Braid (1870-1950), “The Boat” is set alongside the River Spey in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, only 10 minutes drive from the bustling village of Aviemore. The James Braid layout is not long by modern standards but it presents a stern enough test for anyone, with the 6th hole regarded as one of the best in Scotland. The original nine-hole layout dates back to 1898 and served the club well until Braid was brought in back in 1930 to upgrade the course to a full 18 holes. The course is not only renowned as a demanding test of sporting skill but also as a magnificent setting for the game. Braid’s design features 18 completely individual holes, cleverly and sensitively shaped fairways lined by birch trees, heather and broom, maximising the natural landscape and producing a beautiful and challenging course. A hundred species of wildlife wander the fairways. Deer have long since come to an amicable arrangement over sharing the fairways with golfers and the rare osprey can be seen here on occasions.