Royal Aberdeen GC dates from 1780 when the Society of Golfers of Aberdeen was founded, and the Society became the Aberdeen GC in 1815
The club was awarded Royal status in 1903
Originally the club played at The Queen's Links in Aberdeen and moved to the current site known as Balgownie links in 1888
The course was originally designed by Archie & Robert Simpson from Carnoustie.
James Braid later lengthened and rebunkered the course, and in more recent times Donald Steel and Martin Hawtree have made further upgrades.
Over the years Royal Aberdeen has played host to many championships including:
- The 2005 British Senior Open Championship (won by Tom Watson)
- The 2011 Walker Cup
- The 2014 Scottish Open (won by Justin Rose)
It is widely accepted that the front nine is world class, but that the back nine suffers by comparison, and I agree
The round commences with the first hole heading directly to the sea.
It's a nice hole, but things go up a notch on the 2nd tee.
Holes 2-9 each play north parallel to the sea and each hole is surrounded by the impressive dunes.
There is nice variety in the holes, with the constants being long rough, rumpled fairways and greens amply defended by deep revetted bunkers
It is wild links golf not unlike Cruden Bay in parts, and it is exciting!
The back nine turns back south for the road home, and heads inland away from the dunes
The terrain is less inspiring but is higher and has sea views and is exposed more to the weather
The golf is decent without the immediate appeal of the front nine
Having said that I liked the par 3's at eleven and seventeen
Notable holes include:
- hole 2, a lovely par 5, and a wonderful introduction to the dunes
- hole 3, a long long testing par 3 in a gorgeous setting
- hole 4, a longer par 4, and the hardest hole on the course (see pic mid page)
- hole 5, a short tricky par 4 where the areas of play seem almost overwhelmed at times by the rough and bunkering
- hole 6 is a shorter par 5 where accuracy and course management are critical (see pic top of page)
- hole 8, a magnificent par 3 with ten bunkers protecting the green (see pics mid page)
- hole 14, a strong par 4 with burn potentially in play off the tee
- hole 15, with it's 'donut' bunker!
- hole 17, a strong par 3 heading back toward the sea
Royal Aberdeen is an exhilirating links experience in a natural wild dunes environment not unlike Machrihanish or Cruden Bay
This is my type of course
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf trip to Scotland to suit your group.
For itinerary suggestions please see Destinations: Scotland