Thanks to Gus Gurney, Captain at Tain GC, for providing the answers to our latest Golf Highland Q&A.
How long a member of Tain GC?
I joined Tain GC in 2013 when my wife and I moved in to the area. I had not been a member at a Golf Club since 1995, but played Tain once and knew I wanted to join.
What attracted you to become involved in the management of the Club?
I wouldn’t call it an attraction! Golf Clubs need active Committee members and like most golfers I have an opinion. I had time on my hands and felt that I had something to offer.
How long have you been on the committee?
I joined the Committee in 2015.
How long as Captain?
I am 4 months away from completing my 2nd and final year in the role, and I wish I could have picked an easier year than this one has been.
What are the main challenges you face as Captain?
Last year would have been similar to the challenges met by every other Captain at Tain GC. Try and balance the books at year end, keep and maintain a healthy membership, continue improving the Golf Course and increase visitor numbers. This year has been like no other. Surviving this year is the Club’s ultimate challenge. Visitor income at Tain GC is vital to the Club’s ability to survive and although we are starting to see some visitors, the loss of the American market is a real blow. The management of the Club’s finances is pivotal to that survival.
Where do you come from, what is your handicap?
Originally I come from a small town called Newent, on the Gloucestershire / Herefordshire border. My handicap is holding steady at 7. I have achieved Cat 1 status once and still hope to get back there one day.
What is your favourite hole on the course?
It’s hard to pick a favourite! Tain is blessed with many great holes and all so different. The 11th (Alps) is the signature hole and one everyone remembers but I think the view from the 12th tee (Glenmorangie) is one of the finest in golf – if I’ve not got a card in my hand, the sun is shining, the wind is not blowing and the tide is in!
Do you have any tips for playing the course?
You don’t have to be long but you have to keep it straight, the rough can be brutal. Have the confidence to use every club in the bag and play with imagination.
Are there any unusual facts or features?
The Course is an Old Tom Morris design and dates back to 1890 when the original course was laid out over 15 holes. The site of the original Clubhouse can still be seen at the rear of the 17th green. As mentioned before, the ‘Alps’ live long in the memory of many visitors.
Does the course have any deals for visitors?
We have always had a reduced rate on a Tues/Thurs afternoon. This has now been extended to include a Sunday. £30 per golfer or £100 for a 4ball teeing off between 2pm and 4pm on these days. Our normal Green fee has also been reduced to £50 for the month of August and September (normally £70).
What are the course records for men and ladies?
Men’s Course Record is 64 and is held by Munro Ferries and the Ladies is 69 and held by Roseanne Niven.
Has there been a lot of enthusiasm for playing now that lockdown has eased?
We have had a small increase in membership but we have seen a large jump in the number of people playing in competitions at the weekends. It’s great to see the course busy with golfers once again.
Do you have any upcoming events?
Our 4 Day Open at the start of August has been cancelled in line with current Scottish Golf guidelines, but we are holding a few fun members competitions that week instead. However, we are still scheduled to hold the North Of Scotland Open for the David Blair Trophy at the end of August and the Northern Counties Cup at the end of September.