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”

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”

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”

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