Fraserburgh is the most north-easterly town in Aberdeenshire, 42 miles north of Aberdeen and it boasts one of the finest links courses in the country. Its location exposes the course to air currents from both the Moray Firth and the North Sea so this par 70, 6,308-yard layout offers a stiff challenge when the wind blows from whatever source.
In addition to its 18-hole Corbie Hill course, Fraserburgh also has an interesting 9-hole course, the Rosehill, which may be short at 2,400 yards but few can match its par of 33. The courses are well protected by sand hills that fringe the length of Fraserburgh Bay and both are fine examples of traditional Scottish links.
Fraserburgh has records of golf played as far back as 1613. The Parish Kirk Session of that year contains details of young man called John Burnett who, “for playing at the gowff” on a Sunday instead of attending church, was sent to “the maisters stool” for correction!
Fraserburgh Golf Club was founded in 1777, meeting every third Tuesday during the season. The club moved to their present location, the Philorth Links, in 1891 and much of today’s course was shaped by the great James Braid in 1922.
A couple of substantial alterations to Braid's layout have been made down the years. In the 1950s, three new holes (at 15, 16 and 17) were brought into play then, in the 1970s, a pair of adjacent holes were laid out at the 8th and 9th, 11th and 12th.
Fraserburgh Golf Club are always pleased to see visiting golfers and, unusually for many clubs, they offer a choice of tee to the visitor – “whether you want to play the full distance of the course from the medal tees or would rather play off the yellow boxes is entirely your option” – now there’s a refreshing attitude that many other clubs (who are over protective of their medal tees) should note!
Played today on a sunny, breezy day. Arriving from the pretty town, a friendly welcome and the usual gentle Scottish links opener . The second is a fun uphill hole before the walk up to the third reveals the remainder of the course with a great view. It was reminiscent of the climb at nearby Cruden Bay, but not as spectacular, which would be an accurate depiction of the course. However, that's not a fair comparison and if someone were to want a quick, fun, good value round with some quality holes I would not hesitate to recommend Fraserburgh. In some ways it's a victim of its location with many near neighbours making more use of their sand dunes. At this time of year fairway mats are in operation with some forward tees and one temporary green. If I could, this would be 4.5 balls, and if I return in the Summer maybe this would be a five ? Recommended anyway.
The seventh oldest course in the world, but does it still stand up to the advances in modern playing equipment? If the wind is blowing then it does most certainly. The 1st and 18th share the same expanse of flat land with light rough and the odd bunker separating the two, and both have flat, lightly-defended greens. So the start and finish are quite relaxing. That is probably the one area where the course could most do with alteration if the greens committee were so minded. The 18th could easily be turned into a downhill par5 with a tee box on the hill. The bunkering could also be beefed up or have the two fairways become one of the world’s widest as per you know where. Beyond the 1st green the hill looms large, like at Gullane, and you know that level lies may be quite rare for most of the holes. Holes 10, 13 and 14 reminded me of Hayling in Southern England with good compact and fairly flat holes, enhanced by bunker placement in sympathy with the natural mounds. The temptation is there to play aggressively and take consequences if it fails. Holes 1-3 and 15-18 form two blocks of holes that run in the same direction but other than that you are presented with frequent changes in playing and wind direction. Very few holes play North-South though as the course is on a fairly slim parcel of land between dunes and road. If the long rough can be avoided you can make a good score even if the wind is up. I’m sure the nine-year-old in the group behind who plays off nine would agree. Lucky young chap learning his golf here.