I'd arranged to stay overnight at the excellent Braeval Hotel in Nairn (basic and comfortable room, great food and an award-winning bar with a huge array of real ales and single malts) after our Stroma adventure and to play a couple of courses in the Nairn area on 4 September 2012. I'd played the Championship Course at Nairn GC with Polly a few years ago, but I'd missed the club's 9 hole Cameron Course. This is normally a 1634 Yards Par 29 course designed to be less challenging than the formidable Nairn Championship Course, a traditional straight out, straight back links course that is undoubtedly one of the best courses of any kind in Scotland. If you're playing the Championship Course as a visitor, I recommend you warm up over the Cameron first. It's a lot less daunting, the greens are a lot smaller and probably slightly slower than the big course, but the Cameron is fun on its own and well worth the £15 green fee.
The Cameron starts with a 110 yard Par 3 played downwind when I played there. The strong winds that had blown in after our round the day before at Stroma were still evident, but at least it was dry and sunny. I played an easy 9 iron at the 1st to within 15 feet. the putt proved to be as straight as it looked, so an opening birdie was good. This is a view back up the 1st fairway towards the Clubhouse. The 9th hole was out of play as a large marquee had been put up on that hole to house part of the celebrations of the Club's 125th Year Anniversary a couple of days before, so a temporary 9th hole had been built between the 1st green and 2nd tee. I think that says a lot about the quality of the Nairn Golf Club as a whole, since most clubs would simply have contented themselves with an 8 hole second course for the celebratory period. The temporary 9th was 8 yards shorter than the normal 128 yard 9th, making the course as I played it 1626 Yards, Par 29. I'd expected the temporary 9th to be pretty rough, but its condition was almost as good as the other permanent holes, with a fast and true running green that would be the envy of a good many other links courses I could mention. An easy enough par there, but there were stiffer tests to come, starting at the 3rd.
I parred the downwind 187 Yard flat Par 3 easily enough, but the 326 Yard Par 4 was played directly into the strong wind and was also the Stroke Index 1 hole. I was happy enough to make a bogey after my tee shot was blown way right of the fairway into some rough. Holes 4 and 5 were also parred and although the 6th is only 196 Yards, it was played directly into the wind and I needed my Driver to reach that far, missing the green to the right. A good pitch and a couple of putts for bogey was OK, as this is a tricky hole. This is a view of the 6th green with the Clubhouse in the background. The 7th is a 169 Yard Par 3 played slightly down and across a hill, with a strong crosswind from the right. I missed the green long and left with a 3 Wood but rescued my par with a good chip and putt.
This is the 8th, a 115 Yard Par 3 played downhill from an elevated tee, directly into the wind. I played an easy 8 iron to within 15 feet but missed the birdie putt. I was round in 30 gross, only 1 over par with 13 putts. That equated to a net 24.5, so go me!
The Cameron is really good fun and is pretty easy walking. Highly recommended.