Bulldog's blog: With Bond as guide, a worthy trip to Tain GC

The 11th hole at the Tain Golf Club in Scotland.

The 11th hole at the Tain Golf Club in Scotland.

Senior writer Alex Miceli, affectionately known as the Bulldog, will be in England and Scotland for nearly a month and will be keeping you updated with his latest tidbits in a daily blog for Golfweek. Here is his July 8 installment . . .

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INVERNESS, Scotland - I’ve never come to the U.K. the week before the Open Championship, at least not to cover a tournament, but this week I start my month in Britain covering the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.

The last time I covered an event this far north was the Walker Cup at Nairn in 1999 when the U.S. got smoked in Sunday singles, 7-1, and lost the cup, 15-9.

Those teams had a few headliners - Matt Kuchar for the U.S. with Paul Casey and Luke Donald for GB&I foremost among them.

Which means Casey is returning to a place where he has had success - on the heels of having had success in Ireland two weeks ago.

Arriving in Edinburgh on Sunday morning, I decided to drive up to Inverness, using the movie "Skyfall," the recent James Bond sequel, as my guide.

Bond went up the A82; I decided to take a different route through the Highlands: A84 to A85 and then off the beaten path to A827, which goes along the north side of the Loch Tay.

Some beautiful views above the Tay, which is a lake, which must run over 30 miles before eventually finding your way back to the A9 and the 90-mile trek to Inverness.

I would recommend the trip with some caveats.

First, if you are unsure of driving on the left side of the road, this trip is not for you;

Second, be prepared for some close shaves with oncoming traffic, walls, bushes and high grass;

Third, more than once you will be thinking of all the infrastructure projects Prime Minister David Cameron could be initiating on the A827.

All that being said, it is an interesting drive and worth taking once.

One of the reasons for coming up this far north that is not for work is to play golf.

The two courses that immediately come to mind are Royal Dornoch and Nairn, both classic links venues.

But there are more than those two.

One very enjoyable links course is Tain Golf Club.

Founded in 1890, the original Tom Morris layout has few holes on the water, but as many links venues, is influenced by the winds off the sea.

The course is not long by modern standards, at 6,404 yards or 6,109 yards from the visitor yellow tees, but is all most can handle, especially just off a plane.

The 10th hole, named Garden, may be a little over the top regarding the severity of Tain, but at the same time it doesn’t look like a garden spot, either.

Hopefully the photos do Old Tom’s work justice.

In my humble opinion, it’s worth the trip and on the way to Royal Dornoch, which is also on my list this week.

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One last thought before leaving for Castle Stuart.

Of course, by now you know that Andy Murray won Wimbledon, ending a 77-year British drought.

What you may not be aware of is that Murray is actually Scottish and the Scots are none too pleased at how Murray has been described as a Brit versus a Scot.

The last man from Britain to win Wimbledon was Fred Perry, but in the car on the way to Castle Stuart on BBC Scotland I heard a Murray headline and that it has been since 1896 since the last Scot, Harold Mahony, won Wimbledon.

Next stop, Castle Stuart.

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