Macdonald Spey Valley Aviemore Feature Review
Golfshake ambassador Matt Holbrook took time out to head up to the Scottish Highlands to stay and play at Macdonald Spey Valley. Find out how he got on playing this fantastic championship course in Aviemore.
Set in the picturesque surroundings of Spey Valley in the Scottish Highlands - Macdonald Spey Valley is a championship golf course which is host to the Scottish Hydro Challenge on the European Challenge tour.
The course measures 6,500 yards off the yellow tees and opened in July 2006. Despite the age the set-up and layout would easily pass as a course that has been around for decades and is set within the visually stunning sanctuary of the Cairngorm Mountains.
Just 30 minutes from the Highlands capital Inverness, the course is located just 3 minutes car journey from the Macdonald Aviemore resort which boasts 151 rooms, a shopping mall, cinema and countless family friendly activities which would make for a perfect get away for everyone.
The welcome received from the pro shop was exactly what you would expect from a venue of such class. The pro shop whilst small was well stocked of all essentials a golfer would need along with some very nice logoed apparel.
I was pointed in the direction of the driving range with grass bays available, chipping green (with bunker) and putting green.
As I stood alone on the driving range I took a moment to stop and listen. I was listening to nothing but the pure silence that contains a dream of a golf course.
From the 4 par 3's The 6th and 16th really stand out.
The 6th plays around 180 yards with a bunker nearly as wide as the green picking up anything short and the gorse awaiting the over hit tee shot - but this hole also stand out due to the pure scenery on display from the tee.
The 16th, also around 180 yards, has water front right and more hungry bunkers waiting to eat up anything offline.
Quick word on the 10th - biggest green I have seen for a while, but good luck 2 putting.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the opening hole. A gentle 348 yards playing up to the top of the fairway then back down to a well protected green. It gives you a great indication of what awaits.
The 7th is a tough 400 yard with the fairway sloping down and then back up to an elevated green with deep front bunkers, club choice on the second shot is highly important.
The 8th and 9th both leg from the tee so club selection is vital to put yourself into a good position but can be attacked, whilst in total contrast the 11th and 12th are both 420 yards + with tight tee shots and fairway bunkers ready to pounce!
Providing you find the fairway on the 15th the approach is very easy on the eye with a very undulating green and the small lake to the right.
The 5th Hole. Spey Valley signature hole. From the championships tees its 635 yards. From the yellow tee a mere 608 yards. Its mammoth. Playing down hill slightly its important to get a tee shot away but fairway bunkers one again carefully placed. The tee shot is also blind (course guide comes in very handy). If you manage to avoid the traps from the tee you're still not done as more await on your second shot, and then again on your approach. The hardest hole for a reason but an unlikely 4 or likely 7 you'll have stacks of fun playing.
I found the other par 5's - 3rd at 463 yards, 13th at 513 yards and the 17th at 489 yards are all good birdie opportunities as long as you find the fairway.
The 13th weaves beautifully down the valley from right to left so a nice draw here and a 4 is easily doable.
Post Rounds Thoughts
The course itself is in all round excellent condition and with the heather and gorse its give a linksy type feel about it but the tree lined fairways bring you back to reality.
The tee boxes are excellently manicured, the fairways firm enough to get a good roll but soft enough for a good divot. The greens are in superb condition as you would expect - firm and true but hold very well. The bunkers have the right amount of sand and the rough isn't too penal. Its my belief that you would have to be very stray from the tee here to get into trouble but would still enjoy it all the same.
Spey Valley Course VLOG
Matt's Spey Valley Course VLOG
The scenery is second to none and the surroundings make it feel like you are a million miles away from anything but the golf course.
The bar has a warm and friendly vibe with a great menu and when it's nice enough you can sit outside looking over the practice facilities. If not sit inside in front of the log fire to warm up.
This is a top venue, top location and a outstanding golf course. It's difficult to find fault with everything Spey Valley has to offer from start to finish and given the opportunity would love the chance to pay another visit.
It's well drained during the winter months and well watered during the summer giving a championship feel whenever you visit. I'd highly recommend and rate this easily 10 out of 10.
For more information visit: www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/our-hotels/macdonald-aviemore-resort/golf/
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