Completely overshadowed by the world-famous Gleneagles Resort next door, the village of Auchterarder was offering golf as a sporting amenity to its locals more than thirty years before the arrival of the Caledonian Railway Company’s Grand Design in 1924.
Formed in 1892, Auchterarder Golf Club acquired the services of Ben Sayers to set out a 9-hole course in 1913 and this layout from the 1888 Open runner-up remained in play until a major expansion at the end of the 1970s resulted in the course that’s still in use today.Measuring a modest 5,750 yards from the back tees, the layout at Auchterarder is arranged with six par threes, four of which are encountered on the back nine – indeed, a round here concludes in a somewhat unconventional manner, with testing short holes played at the 16th (“Gully Brae”) and 18th (“Hame”).
A party of 12 visited Auchterarder for a game on a travelling day and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
The clubhouse is a pleasant place to sit and contemplate the course to come, and it's a relief that the First tee shot isn't as tight as it appears between two mature trees and over a stone wall.
It's a fun course with some challenging holes on a sloping site with many trees in play.
The conditioning was good, and as an aside it was enjoyable to play the strong uphill sixth whilst looking down on those toiling on the PGA Centenary (a local has previously observed that it's strange that the Ryder Cup was hosted by the 4th best course in Auchterarder).