Ballater Golf Club was formed in 1892 and members played over a 9-hole course on land owned by the Laird of Invercauld. It was not until 1905 that the course was extended to a full 18-hole layout and James Braid played Harry Vardon in an exhibition match to mark the occasion.
Situated in the heart of Royal Deeside, with Balmoral Castle, the summer retreat of the Queen located nearby, Ballater is a lovely small town of just over three thousand residents whose numbers are swelled every summer by thousands of visitors to the Highlands.
The golf course is located at the southern edge of the town and it boasts magnificent scenery with Lochnagar dominating the skyline to the southwest. The 6,059-yard course is routed over gently undulating land situated on terraces beside the River Dee and it’s a fine mix of heathland and parkland golf with the river running alongside at several holes.
Par threes are real feature holes at Ballater and worthy of some consideration:
Hole 3 – “The Dooker” – 223 yards long – is a tough hole with a fair amount of waste ground between a ridge and the front of a well-protected green.
Hole 5 – “Glengairn” – 186 yards long – has a small target requiring a precise tee shot. Miss on the left at your peril!
Hole 9 – “Larick” – 216 yards long – is played semi-blind downhill. Anything short will run on but avoid the bunkers on either side of the green!
Hole 13 – “The Dee” – 158 yards long – has the river Dee (and out of bounds) to the left. If the tee shot is short it will break to the right.
Hole 17 – “Brockie’s Pond” – 165 yards long – where the tee shot is exposed to any cross wind. With waste ground in front of the green, do not be short!