Scottish legend Colin Montgomerie once described Nairn Golf Club – the venue for next week’s Amateur Championship – as “one of the best links courses in our great country”.
From Monday to Saturday, The Amateur Championship swings into action, with players competing in a mixed stroke play and match play format.
The winner of this R&A competition secures exemptions to The Open Championship and the US Open and, by tradition, an invitation to play in the Masters Tournament.
Nairn Dunbar, which was to jointly host it, won’t be involved after the field was reduced in light of travel restrictions in place because of Covid.
Record-holding eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner Monty, a former world number two, clearly rates the seaside town’s stunning course.
He said: “In 1987, I won the Scottish Amateur Championship at Nairn, which still holds a very special place for me. I always feel very welcome at Nairn.”
Meanwhile, three-time European Tour winner Edoardo Molinari has also publicly praised the Highland links in the past, saying: “I have fond memories from when I played at Nairn as an amateur.
“It is a wonderful links course – this is a pure test of golf.”
Second time Amateur Championship has visited Nairn
In 1994, Lee James defeated Gordon Sherry 2 and 1 in the final of the Amateur Championship at Nairn, and more drama is set to unfold at the same venue 27 years on.
England’s Joe Long won the 125th Championship at Royal Birkdale last year, defeating Joe Harvey in an exciting 36-hole final.
The time around the field has been trimmed down to mostly British entrants, with a few from elsewhere, including Scandinavia.
Trio of Nairn golfers in action
Many eyes will be on two brothers on their home course, Sandy and Callum Scott, and Fraser Fotheringam, also of Nairn GC.
Sandy, 22, is seventh in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, and has extended his time at Texas Tech University due to the impact of Covid last year.
A wrist injury, which required surgery, robbed him of competing at his second successive Walker Cup last month and he will be eager to dazzle in his hometown.
Calum, 17, has also made a name for himself of late, heading to Texas and making an instant impact.
Greg Sands, the Texas Tech head golf coach, said of him: “He absolutely loves the game of golf and you can tell he is hungry to get better.
“Calum is from a golfing family, and I know he has learned some of the valuable things from his father and from Sandy.”
Calum will be the first player to tee off when the Amateur gets under way at 7am on Monday.