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”).
We played here the day after having a knock next door, and the welcome was just as warm as at Gleneagles. The course was very different however, with the space maximised to fit in 18 holes. A couple of shared tees, and hole running alongside each other mean you are never far away from company (or danger). Sadly, our visit coincided with recent green maintenance work, so we didn't get to see the course in its prime. Nevertheless, the course design is appealing. An opening tee shot between two trees and in full view of the clubhouse gets the nerves sharpened. There are a plethora of par 3s of varying lengths, up to the beast of the 16th, at 235 yds from the whites. The pro is a true Scotsman taking our 2's club money before we realised you had to score a 2 on one of the 3 'magic holes' to get a return. He was obviously in collusion with the green keeper who had put the pins in inaccessible spots (for mortals) on all these holes.
Nevertheless, we enjoyed our round, which finished off our mini break and would all return to play again when the greens were in better condition.
One of my favourite courses in the Gleneagles area, strong layout especially the holes that run through the wooded areas and close to the Centenary course. Very scorable and great traditional club welcome, definately would recommend playing the course if ever in the area to play its big name neighbour.
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).
Located next to the PGA Centenary course, the short, but perfectly formed 18 holes at Auchterarder Golf Club offer a surprisingly enjoyable round of golf for a fraction the cost of a Gleneagles green fee. This is good, old-fashioned moorland/parkland golf at its very best in a setting where you’ll be totally engaged from start to finish.
Only two of the par fours measure longer than 400 yards, two of the three par fives are comfortably less than 500 yards and there are half a dozen par threes to be played – four of which are encountered over the final seven holes on the scorecard.
It’s an unconventional but highly entertaining layout that deserves far wider recognition than it receives at the moment. I wonder how many golfers who play on the three courses next door know what they’re missing with this wee beauty?
Having just discovered the charms of this place, I’ll certainly be back again.