The Nairn Golf Club will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2012 by hosting the 37th Curtis Cup Match. The club was conceived in 1887 by Edinburgh-born advocate Robert Finlay, who rose to become a Viscount after presiding for three years as Britain’s Lord Chancellor.
The astute Finlay persuaded influential London friends to join as members. The property nestled on the shores of the Moray Firth featured a highland wilderness of gorse and heather for which Archie Simpson, professional and keeper of the green at Royal Aberdeen, created the original design. Later, Old Tom Morris totally redesigned the layout and extended it westward over the Earl of Cawdor’s property.
At the turn of the century, five-time British Open champion James Braid – he was the first competitor to break 70 with a 69 in 1901 – altered tees and bunkers before creating new green complexes. Then in 1920, new holes at Delnies were designed by Ben Sayers of North Berwick before, once more, Braid returned to contribute his expertise.
Just prior to the 1999 Walker Cup Match at Nairn, architect C.K. Cotton, did some judicious lengthening of the course to bring it up to today’s modern standards. Nevertheless, Nairn remains a classic links layout that Braid and others from his era would fully recognize.
In addition to the 1999 Walker Cup Match, the 2006 Scottish Amateur Championship and 2007 Senior Amateur Open Championship have been staged at Nairn.
As part of the preparations for the Curtis Cup, the club recently completed an extensive development of its popular Newton Lounge, Junior room and cloakroom facilities. The upgrade is part of ongoing plans to enhance the members’ and visitors’ experience at the club.