Visiting gems like Ballater often constitute my favourite golf days. Normally only played as a gap filler, a warm up before travelling off in search of a near-by headline act. On occasion however, the under card turns out to have something about it, a charm to captivate and Ballater falls into that category. Two delightful par 4’s get you underway but for me the stars of the front 9 are the par 3’s at 5 and 9, the 5th as bonny as they come and the 9th having a guarding ridge providing an optical illusion which makes you question if the yardage on the scorecard is correct, which of course it is. The stouter inward 9 has tougher holes. The 11th with its elevated green, the 14th with its narrow driving area and internal out of bounds which I don’t normally like, but works very well in this case and the two finishing holes a middle length tricky par 3 and short, but devilish par 4 to finish a very enjoyable hit. Ballater typifies Highland courses, friendliness, serenity, wonderful scenery and just a little bit of quirkiness. How many courses are there that has a curling rink behind the first tee? But first and foremost Ballater is a lovely course with added bite in the inward half and a club which should be seriously considered by anyone planning a trip in the North East of Scotland. MPPJ.
Date: May 31, 2015