Nairn Golf Club - hole 1 and clubhouse
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Nairn Golf Club - hole 1 and clubhouse
Like most classic Scottish links courses, the first tee at Nairn Golf Club is just steps beyond the back door of the clubhouse. Courtesy of Nairn G.C.
Nairn Golf Club - hole 2
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Nairn Golf Club - hole 2
Nairn Golf Club's second hole is a par 5 from the championship tees. From any tee, you have to navigate the burn that cuts the fairway in half and all the fairway bunkers. Courtesy of Nairn G.C.
Nairn Golf Club - 3rd hole
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Nairn Golf Club - 3rd hole
If you're playing into the wind, reaching the fairway at the par-4 third hole at Nairn Golf Club is just half the battle. Avoiding a bunch of deep, greenside bunkers is the other half. Courtesy of Nairn G.C.
Nairn Golf Club - hole 4
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Nairn Golf Club - hole 4
Miss just a few yards to the left on the short par-3 fourth at Nairn Golf Club and you will literally be on the beach. Courtesy of Nairn G.C.
Nairn Golf Club - hole 5
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Nairn Golf Club - hole 5
Miss the fairway right on the short par-4 fifth at Nairn Golf Club and you find the sea. Miss left and you find this stuff. Courtesy of Nairn G.C.
Nairn Golf Club - hole 6
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Nairn Golf Club - hole 6
Five bunkers, gorse, heather from tee to green, and a putting surface that can make you queasy is all part of the long par-3 sixth at Nairn Golf Club. Courtesy of Nairn G.C.
Nairn Golf Club - hole 7
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Nairn Golf Club - hole 7
Nairn Golf Club's seventh hole is a true par 5 into the prevailing wind. Courtesy of Nairn G.C.
Nairn Golf Club - hole 8
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Nairn Golf Club - hole 8
The short par-4 eighth at Nairn Golf Club is usually downwind and nearly driveable. Courtesy of Nairn G.C.
Nairn Golf Club - hole 13
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Nairn Golf Club - hole 13
The long, uphill par-4 13th hole at Nairn Golf Club is the most difficult hole on the course. Courtesy of Nairn G.C.
Nairn Golf Club - holes 14 and 15
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Nairn Golf Club - holes 14 and 15
The 14th and 15th greens at Nairn Golf Club offer great views of the Moray Firth and the Black Isle. Courtesy of Nairn G.C.
Nairn Golf Club - hole 16
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Nairn Golf Club - hole 16
A good drive will leave an eagle putt on the short par-4 16th at Nairn Golf Club. Courtesy of Nairn G.C.
Nairn Golf Club - clubhouse
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Nairn Golf Club - clubhouse
Nairn Golf Club's clubhouse was upgraded for the 2012 Curtis Cup, and the views over the course to the sea are entrancing. Courtesy of Nairn G.C.
12 Images

Nairn Golf Club is a timeless links in the Highlands

NAIRN, Scotland -- Nairn Golf Club is a quintessential example of linksland golf. The rumpled, heaving fairways slither through gorse- and heather-carpeted dunes like so many angry snakes.

From the tees, the aiming points and landing areas are often obscured from view. For first-time visitors, some of the tee shots at Nairn look utterly merciless. Add in a strong westerly wind off the Moray Firth -- which is visible from every hole and fully in play on the first seven holes -- and hitting a fairway feels almost as great as holing a birdie putt.

But it's not until you get to the greens that Nairn's teeth are truly bared. Breaks are at the same time wild and inscrutable, and, again, the wind can slap balls off line faster than you can say "three putt."

Some 80 years ago, James Braid called Nairn's greens "unrivaled" in quality and texture -- and they've had nearly a century to mature since then. As the site of the 2012 Curtis Cup matches, Nairn Golf Club was universally praised as a true test of links golf.

Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.
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Nairn Golf Club is a timeless links in the Highlands