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Eric_Terhorst

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Tarbat GC, Portmahomack, Ross-shire, Scotland (pics)
« on: September 20, 2009, 02:02:19 PM »
On my recent all-too-brief visit to Scotland, we were looking for a warm-up on the way to Dornoch on a Monday morning, and spied a red flag on the Michelin map that marked the 9-hole golf course at Portmahomack, a village on the out-of-the-way peninsula east of Tain.   

According the Club’s web site: 
The club was founded in 1909, and John Sutherland, the famous secretary of Royal Dornoch G.C., advised on the design of the original course.

As shown in the aerial view courtesy of Google Earth, the village separates the course from the beach, so it’s not hard by the water.  But if you look closely at the aerial, you can see the shadows of some dunesy hillocks in the center and southern part of the property, on which the best holes are located. 


We played it on a beautiful breezy morning perfect for golf, and after being told by two older gentlemen on the first tee that “it’s always like this in Scotland”   ;D we paid our 20 GBP fee at the honor box, and trailed after them.  It was thoroughly enjoyable.   
 
The 284-yd first hole starts off into the roly-poly part of the property and features a narrow landing area for a 4- or 5-iron tee shot, then a blind second shot into a narrow green.  Unfortunately my pics of that hole didn’t come out.

The 335-yd 2nd plays back toward the clubhouse, and with its wide-open fairway and playing downwind was nearly drivable—a couple of well-placed little bunkers make it more interesting.
 



Holes 3 and 4 play across the non-descript farmland but #3 is a challenging uphill 400-yarder terminating near the top of the hill, with a neat false-fronted green




The terrific 5th is a strong uphill 180-yard par 3, requiring an aerial approach over two two fearsome bunkers in front—good practice for the 2nd and 6th at Dornoch!




The 389yd 6th begins the journey into quirk, with this tee shot that features trouble left and blindness right:


If you don’t get it post the marker post (about 150yds out) then you’ve got this view


to a tiny green that has trouble behind, OB left, and a couple of little bunkers


#7 is a par 3 played from two different tees—this illustrates view from the blind short tee


The 7th green


The 300yd par 4 8th is one of those short two-shottters that begs to be played over and over again—first you get to negotiate the roller coaster action of the fairway



Then you have a terrifying shot to the 8th green that falls off on all sides, and is guarded by a couple more Dornoch-style bunkers


The 9th is a beautiful and interesting home hole, bordered by a schoolyard and cemetery left


The narrow green has a swale in front and falls off in back, again providing an opportunity to practice your Dornoch recovery shots before you drive up to “The Big Course”
 



Tarbat is one of those pleasurable little outings that make you want to be reincarnated as a Scottish villager….

Mark Chaplin

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Re: Tarbat GC, Portmahomack, Ross-shire, Scotland (pics)
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2009, 02:23:57 PM »
Hi Eric,

Nice post, aren't these the sort of courses that make Scotland. The footprint of the village is the same as the course and there are a few interesting holes. I guess the greenfee for your visit was pretty modest to?

Hopefully catch up again before too long.

Mark
Cave Nil Vino

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: Tarbat GC, Portmahomack, Ross-shire, Scotland (pics)
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2009, 05:04:22 PM »
Thanks Eric,  I love fairways like the 8th to a much greater extent than than any degree architectural merit they may have.  The Fun of hitting into 'no mans land' and wondering what sort of stance you'll get. Wonderful.
Let's make GCA grate again!

Brian_Ewen

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Re: Tarbat GC, Portmahomack, Ross-shire, Scotland (pics)
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2009, 02:54:23 PM »
Thanks Eric , very enjoyable .

Adrian_Stiff

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Re: Tarbat GC, Portmahomack, Ross-shire, Scotland (pics)
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2009, 06:03:22 PM »
What a lovely little course. Thanks for the pics.
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

Steve Wilson

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Re: Tarbat GC, Portmahomack, Ross-shire, Scotland (pics)
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2009, 07:49:41 PM »
There goes another of my unique claims here on GCA.  I played Tarbat in May of 2000.  My intentions that day had been to play Tain, but there was a large outing of some sort that had the course tied up for most of the day and, much like you, I discovered the location of Tarbat by seeing the little red flag on a map.  At that the honor fee was only 10 GBP.

I remembered the par three but not its number.  There was so much wind that I couldn't hold that fifth green either time I played it even though I backed off to a nine iron on the second nine. 

And the eighth, once again I couldn't recall the number of the hole, with its table top green was the other outstanding memory I had of the course.  Seeing the pictures of the course brought some specific shots back to mind--I went too far left with tee shot on the 7th and was in some deep hay. 

You had a much warmer brighter day than I did at Tarbat.  Thanks for the pictures.  It brought back some nice memories, and it confirmed my recollection that there was some good golf there--especially with the wind as it was.

I'm down to one course in Scotland that I've never heard anyone else mention having played.     

 
Some days you play golf, some days you find things.

I'm not really registered, but I couldn't find a symbol for certifiable.

"Every good drive by a high handicapper will be punished..."  Garland Bailey at the BUDA in sharing with me what the better player should always remember.

David_Tepper

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Re: Tarbat GC, Portmahomack, Ross-shire, Scotland (pics)
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2009, 08:11:29 PM »
Should anyone venture to Portmohamock to play the Tarbat 9-holer and happen to be looking for some cultural edification, I would highly recommend a visit the the Tarbat Discovery Centre, which is the white building behind the #8 green in Eric's pictures.

The Tarbat Discovery Centre is a de-consecrated church that houses one of the best small museums I have come across in the Highlands. It features a sizeable number of archeological artifacts from the Picts and other peoples who have inhabited the area for the past 1,000 or so years.

Phil McDade

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Re: Tarbat GC, Portmahomack, Ross-shire, Scotland (pics)
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2009, 08:55:35 PM »
I'm down to one course in Scotland that I've never heard anyone else mention having played.     

 

Steve:

This has me really intriqued.

I've played Corrie.

David_Tepper

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Re: Tarbat GC, Portmahomack, Ross-shire, Scotland (pics)
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2009, 09:03:42 PM »
Anyone played the 9-holers at Bonar Bridge or Gairloch?

James Boon

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Re: Tarbat GC, Portmahomack, Ross-shire, Scotland (pics)
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2009, 03:36:37 AM »
I'm down to one course in Scotland that I've never heard anyone else mention having played.     

Considering nearly every Scottish village has its own little nine holer at a minimum, we could be discussing this one for some time?  ;D

Thanks for the pics Eric, looks a fun wee course.

Cheers,

James
2023 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Aberdovey, Royal St Davids, Woodhall Spa, Broadstone, Parkstone, Cleeve, Painswick, Minchinhampton, Hoylake

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

Tom MacWood

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Re: Tarbat GC, Portmahomack, Ross-shire, Scotland (pics)
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2009, 06:06:06 AM »
This course looks to be a step above the average little nine-holer. Another golf course attributed to the never discussed (or almost never discussed) John Sutherland.

Emil Weber

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Re: Tarbat GC, Portmahomack, Ross-shire, Scotland (pics)
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2009, 06:37:16 AM »
It is unbelievable how this review, the recent one of duff house royal and some more (i don't remember the names ;D) make me want to play golf at these understated places. Just how many charming scottish courses fly under the radar.

Great review, much appreciated.

Robin_Hiseman

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Re: Tarbat GC, Portmahomack, Ross-shire, Scotland (pics)
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2009, 09:22:47 AM »

I'm down to one course in Scotland that I've never heard anyone else mention having played.     

 
[/quote]

Steve.  Could it be Auchenblae?
2023: Aberdovey, Liphook, Mill Ride (x9), Hillside, Lytham, Delamere Forest, Formby, Birkdale, Carya, Maxx Royal, Cleeve Hill, Sunny (Old & New), West Byfleet, Hoylake, East Berks, RSG, West Sussex, Hollinwell (x2), Alwoodley, JCB (x2), Beau Desert, Painswick (x2), Stranahan, Belfry (Brab & PGA)

Brian_Ewen

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Re: Tarbat GC, Portmahomack, Ross-shire, Scotland (pics)
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2009, 04:26:55 PM »
Come on Robin .

Living in Stonehaven , surely you must have guessed I have played Auchenblae many times ..... Old and New !

I miss the quarry hole very much   :P

Lumphanan anyone ?   :)

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