Aberdeenshire is an excellent choice for the golfer
; with 165 miles of coastline, and a lot of sand dunes, this is natural golfing
habitat. There are some very old courses, including several of the top 10 oldest not just in Scotland
, but the world. To help you choose where to play, we have selected seven of the best.
Royal Aberdeen is one of the courses that has an ancient pedigree, with the Society of Golfers at Aberdeen being founded in 1780, and the Aberdeen Golf Club in 1815. The oldest known written record of a golf hole is also from Aberdeen — in 1625. The ‘Royal’ was added to the name in 1903, although the club received royal patronage from Prince Leopold in 1872. Royal Aberdeen is known as a challenging and true links course, nine holes out through the dunes, nine back along a plateau. When the wind is whipping in from the North Sea, this is a hugely enjoyable course to really test the player.
Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, Links Road, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, +44 1224 702571
The course at Murcar Links was established in 1909 and designed by Royal Aberdeen’s Keeper, Archie Simpson. The course is just to the south of Royal Aberdeen, and was described by the 1999 Open Champion, Paul Lawrie, as ‘as fine a links course as you could wish to play.’ Like its neighbour, Murcar is a true challenge, especially if the wind is blowing, and requires skill and determination on a level many lesser courses do not demand. For the golf aficionado, this course will provide a high degree of joy.
Murcar Links Golf Club, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, +44 1224 704354
Not only the seventh oldest club in the world, Fraserburgh Golf Club, founded in 1777, is the oldest golf club still operating under its original name — and the oldest north of St. Andrews. Redesigned in 1922 by five-times Open winner James Braid, this is another spectacular Links course and has been said to be about as close to the original game as you can get. The views from the dunes are stunning, and the fairways famously undulating. Only 45 minutes drive north of Aberdeen, this is a course not to be missed.
Fraserburgh Golf Club, Philorth Links, Fraserburgh, +44 1346 516616
Duff House Royal
Duff House Royal
Founded in the same year as Murcar, 1909, Duff House Royal received royal patronage in 1925. As with Murcar it was designed by Archie Simpson (with extensive redesign in 1923) and was formally opened with a match between the then Open Champion, J.H. Taylor, and James Braid. The course has an emphasis on natural beauty, and the beautiful parkland offers the player wonderful views, including the River Deveron, the Moray Firth, and the famous Banff Bridge. Then there is Duff House itself, which is often called the finest Georgian house anywhere in the world.
Duff House Royal Golf Club, The Barnyards, Banff, +44 1261 812062
Peterhead Golf Club was established in 1841, and the current ‘Old Course’ opened as nine holes in 1898, designed by two-time British Open Champion, Willie Park Junior. Remodelled into 18 holes in 1908, this is another fine — and challenging — example of a seaside Links course. Until 1925 the course was reached by a ferry boat across the river Ugie, with prospective players paying a penny to cross. The beaches around the course are wonderful, as are the views of the river and the dunes.
Peterhead Golf Club, Riverside Drive, Peterhead, +44 1779 472149
Ballater Golf Club
As with Peterhead, Ballater Golf Club was originally founded as a nine hole course, in 1892, before being turned into an eighteen hole course in 1905. With the course being on the banks of the River Dee in Upper Deeside, the views of the surrounding hills are outstanding. Mainly heathland in character, there are also parts of the course that are parkland. Excellent use of the natural undulations in the flood plain has led to a fantastic and fascinating course to play.
Ballater Golf Club, Victoria Road, Ballater, +44 13397 55567
With New Slains Castle a short distance away, the stunning bay, and the outstanding course itself, Cruden Bay Golf Club will provide the player an unforgettable game. Originally designed by the legendary Old Tom Morris in 1899, with help from Archie Simpson, and redesigned in 1926 by Tom Simpson and Herbert Fowler, Cruden Bay is a course that has drawn players of the game from across the world, ever since its foundation. This Championship Links course is, in short, a masterpiece, and is consistently referred to as one of the best — and most fun — to play in the whole world.
Cruden Bay Golf Club, Aulton Road, Cruden Bay, +44 1779 812285