Cruden Bay Golf Club

In my opinion this is the best links course in North East Scotland, and my favorite course in the whole country!  Cruden Bay regularly features in Top 100 lists and was rated number 77 in the world by Golf Magazine last year (www.golf.com/article-list/top-100-courses-in-the-world-2015/cruden-bay-cruden-bay-scotland-top-100-courses) so it’s a must play course when you visit Scotland.

Located 23 miles north of Aberdeen just off the A90, the course was designed by Old Tom Morris and Archie Simpson and opened in 1899 thanks to the Great North of Scotland Railway.  The growth in the popularity of the game of golf in the 1890’s coincided with the growth of the rail network and courses like Cruden Bay were developed along with railway stations and hotels to attract tourists.  The Cruden Bay railway station closed in 1932 and the hotel in 1939 when it became an army hospital for the Second World War. Continue reading “Cruden Bay Golf Club”

Trump Aberdeen

To use its correct name Trump International Golf Links Scotland is located about 10 miles north of Aberdeen city centre on the A90 (also 10 miles from the airport) on a fantastic 20 mile stretch of coastline that is also home to Royal Aberdeen, Murcar, Newburgh and Cruden Bay.  This was a controversial project from its inception.  Conservation areas, objections from local residents and plans for an offshore wind farm development in sight of the course all threatened the project.

From the impressive entrance at the clock tower and the driveway that winds its way through the Menie Estate past McLeod House to the clubhouse this feels like an upscale venue.  The driving range and impressive practice area are located on either side of the parking lot.

Continue reading “Trump Aberdeen”

Planterra Ridge – The Lake Changed Everything

Planterra Ridge in Peachtree City, GA is a private club and one of the four courses in town owned by ClubCorp (the others are Flat Creek, Braelinn and Whitewater Creek).  The Planterra course is the best of the four and sits within the Planterra Ridge sub-division but the homes rarely affect the views or your play.  This is a true country club with swimming pool, tennis courts and a good restaurant to complement the golf.  Full disclosure: I am a ClubCorp member and this is my home club.

Opened in 1994, Planterra is the newest of the courses in Peachtree City and plays 6800 yards (par 72) with a rating of 73.0 and slope of 131 from the back tees. This is a fantastic layout and normally in excellent condition.  Planterra has hosted US Open local qualifier tournaments several times including earlier this month. Continue reading “Planterra Ridge – The Lake Changed Everything”

Heron Bay Golf Club

Looking back at my history of rounds in Georgia, I’ve only played at Heron Bay in Locust Grove, GA once a year since first visiting in 2011.  I really should play here more often as it’s a great course.  The Cole Reservoir behind the 4th and 12th greens makes for spectacular views at any time of year.  The sculptured bunkers around the greens are a common design feature along with the creeks that cross fairways in front of greens to keep things interesting especially on the longer par 4’s.

Continue reading “Heron Bay Golf Club”

Georgia National

Georgia National is a beautiful parkland course in McDonough, GA and one I’ve always found to be very challenging.  It’s a long course with a great variety of holes that make you think.  Elevation change, fairway bunkers that are well positioned and several greens with false fronts. Get your drive out of position and a layup may be the best strategy.

Continue reading “Georgia National”

Whitewater Creek Country Club

Arriving at Whitewater Creek you are met by the most impressive clubhouse in Peachtree City.  This antebellum style building with wraparound porch has southern charm written all over it and is a very popular location for weddings. Nearby, the scenic Starr’s Mill is also a great spot to visit.

This Arnold Palmer signature course, designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, opened in 1987.   Whitewater Creek is not the longest course in Peachtree City (both Braelinn and Planterra Ridge beat it by just over 100 yards from the back tees) but it is most difficult. Continue reading “Whitewater Creek Country Club”

White Oak Golf Club

Coweta County in west-central Georgia has a total of 153 holes of golf all within minutes of Newnan and conveniently located just off I-85 south of Atlanta. Two of the best courses are at White Oak Golf Club which is just three miles east of the interstate.  The Old Course and Seminole course we’re both designed by Joe Lee and Rocky Roquemore and wind there way through the White Oak sub division.  The is one of the best 36 holes facilities in Georgia.

Any course called the ‘Old Course’ has a lot to live up to!   Continue reading “White Oak Golf Club”

The Club at Shoal Creek

This was originally Griffin Country Club which unfortunately went bankrupt and closed in January 2013 before being bought on the courthouse steps in May 2013.  It was closed for some time while the new owners made improvements to the course before re-opening as The Club at Shoal Creek.  Improvements included work on the bunkers and the installation of new mini verde greens. During the time that the course was closed it was used as a location for filming the popular TV series The Walking Dead.

The new owners are committed to making further improvements to the property.  Although this work is still in progress I found the tee boxes and fairways were well maintained and the new greens were in excellent condition.  Many of the cart paths still need some repair work.  The sponsored granite tee markers at each hole look to be a recent addition.    Continue reading “The Club at Shoal Creek”

Paul Lawrie Golf Centre Inchmarlo

Now owned by 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie, the Inchmarlo Golf Centre in the town of Banchory about 20 miles west of Aberdeen has had an interesting life since it opened as a driving range in 1994.  The 9 hole Queen’s course designed by Graeme Webster was added in 1997 and then the fantastic 18 hole Lairds course, also designed by Webster,  in 2001. The club was on the up and up.  I was a member here for a couple of years before I moved to the US.

In 2010 there were plans to build a luxury hotel, restaurant and spa near the course but to date these have not materialized.  Scottish celebrity chef Nick Nairn  also planned to build a cookery school at Inchmarlo but eventually chose a location in Aberdeen city centre.  The downturn in the economy at the time certainly didn’t help.  Continue reading “Paul Lawrie Golf Centre Inchmarlo”

Sun City Peachtree – Fun in the Sun

Sun City Peachtree Golf Club is a ClubCorp owned golf course situated within the Del Webb active adult retirement community in Griffin, GA about 40 miles south east of Atlanta.  It’s not too far from the Atlanta Motor Speedway which hosts a NASCAR race early in the season.  Sun City is linked to the other nearby ClubCorp courses in this membership cluster – Heron Bay and Georgia National.  As a ClubCorp member these are courses I play quite often.

After checking in at the main gate follow the road through the community to the golf club.  The golf clubhouse has a large lounge/ dining room area to relax in. The pro shop and small locker room are also in the same building.  Behind the clubhouse is a large driving range and short game practice area.  When the course first opened the starters box was in a trailer but this was soon replaced with the current golf clubhouse which looks big but is dwarfed by the enormous community clubhouse behind the 16th green.   Continue reading “Sun City Peachtree – Fun in the Sun”

Aboyne Golf Club on Royal Deeside

For a change from Links golf I’d recommend a few days on Royal Deeside west of Aberdeen.  Royal Deeside follows the River Dee up into the scenic Grampian Mountains and gained it’s ‘Royal’ title because of Balmoral Castle, the Royal Family’s summer home since the 1850’s.

Royal Deeside is a golf destination in in it’s own right and I’d be quite happy playing here all week with seven courses directly accessible from the main road on the 56 mile drive between Aberdeen and Braemar (there are more courses just a few miles off the main road too).  You will find a mix of parkland and highland courses starting at Deeside Golf Club and Peterculter Golf Club in the Abredeen suburbs, through Banchory home to both Banchory Golf Club and Inchmarlo, and then on to Aboyne, Ballater and ending up at Braemar which is the highest 18 hole golf course in Scotland at 1,200 feet above sea level.  Reviews of all these courses to come in the future.   Continue reading “Aboyne Golf Club on Royal Deeside”

GSGA Member Play Day at Brickyard Golf Club

If you are a member of a club in Georgia and keep a  handicap with the Georgia State Golf Association (GSGA) then a fun way to gain access to some great private courses is to play in the GSGA Member Play Days.  There are 21 events in 2016 starting in April at the Legends course at Chateau Elan and finishing in November with the season finale event at the Idle Hour Club in Macon. These are not tournaments but are organized like the real deal and played on days when these private clubs are normally closed for maintenance. Continue reading “GSGA Member Play Day at Brickyard Golf Club”

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