Nairn the Perfect Host for the Walker Cup
The pinnacle of an amateur golfer’s career either side of the Atlantic is to appear in the bi-annual Walker Cup between the USA and Great Britain & Ireland. Many amateurs delay turning professional in this now extremely lucrative worldwide game in order to play in this historic match. In 1999, Nairn was the host and it presented a great challenge for the 8 man teams. Amongst the competitors who have subsequently had very successful professional careers playing in the GB & I’s 15 – 9 success were the Englishmen Luke Donald and Paul Casey and the American Matt Kuchar. Donald is a former World Number 1 and won the money list both sides of the Atlantic in 2011. Two decades after that Walker Cup meeting, Matt Kuchar with 9 PGA Tour wins is World Number 23 and Casey is even higher at World Number 16.
While the professional game rarely visits links courses, other than the Open Championship, and sometimes the Scottish and Irish Open, links golf remains the purest form of the game, and where it all began; in Scotland. Links land is exactly that, a link between the sea and land unsuitable for agriculture. As a result of their location, and the lack of trees, courses tend to be open to the elements of variable wind which means the challenge can be different each day.
Nairn presented itself very well to some of the world’s top amateurs that year, and did so again a few years ago when the female equivalent of the Walker Cup, the Curtis Cup was played there.
The Walker Cup was held over two days with four foursomes, one of the traditional ways that golf has been played since the game began. Partners take alternate shots around the course in a matchplay situation. There follows eight singles and that format is repeated on the second day.
GB & I trailed after Day 1 having lost the afternoon singles 5 – 3 after the morning foursomes had been halved. At lunchtime on Day 2, the match was all square at 8 – 8 so there was all to play for. In the afternoon, GB & I won seven of the eight singles, with only Simon Dyson, the Yorkshire who has played for many years on the European Tour the only loser.
Over the years of the Competition which was established back in 1922, and named after George Herbert Walker, the President of the USGA the USA has been dominant. Incidentally, Walker’s grandson was George H W Bush, the former President of the USA. The current score after 46 matches sees GB & I with only 9 wins and a draw. 1999 was a memorable year and Nairn a memorable course to hold the event.
Should you be tempted to try your own skills on this Course, you will be visiting a lovely part of Scotland. You can even find accommodation that allows you to enjoy the Moray Firth with Beach House Nairn and Beach Cottage Nairn both offering flexible choices, available from Nairn Holiday Rentals.