Blairgowrie Golf Club is charmingly situated at the feet of the Grampian Mountains amongst glorious pine, birch and heather. The club was founded in 1889 when a nine-hole course was laid out close to the Black Loch on land owned by the Marchioness of Lansdowne.
Dr Alister MacKenzie was commissioned to extend the course to 18 holes in 1914, but the Great War delayed the opening until 1927. Then, in the 1930s, James Braid was called in to add a further nine holes and create a new 18-hole layout. Today’s Rosemount is therefore a James Braid design with a sprinkling of Alister MacKenzie. The original nine-hole course remains and it’s a charming 2,327-yard heathland track called the Wee.
The Rosemount is definitely a very pretty and classy inland course, the crisp turf has a moorland feel to it with the fairways pitching and rolling through avenues of trees. Each hole is carved through the trees, which provide a natural amphitheatre for a calm and tranquil round of golf.
From start to finish the holes are good and varied, but the best holes are left until last. The 17th is especially noteworthy, a lovely par three called “Plateau” with a two-tiered green. The pro’s tip is to take plenty of club, to get on the right level and avoid three putts.
The Rosemount is regularly voted in the top fifty Scottish courses and it does deserve its plaudits for it is an excellent course. There is nothing dramatic or significantly difficult about this layout. You can open your shoulders, as the fairways are generously wide. The course is maintained to a very high standard and all this makes for a good, honest and enjoyable golf. Perhaps it’s a course to which you might want to retreat after you have had enough buffetting at the seaside... and the club's second 18-hole course, the Lansdowne, named after the Marchioness, is pretty good too.
It’s generally a case of slim pickings when it comes to high quality golf away from the sea in Scotland, however, at Blairgowrie the old adage about buses rings true because two come along at once.
The Rosemount and Lansdowne play over the same fantastic heathland terrain and bring a touch of the Surrey sandbelt to the Perthshire countryside. Neither quite matches the very high benchmark of their southern counterparts but there is still much to enjoy on this idyllic 45-hole, 300-acre property adorned with spectacular pine, birch and heather.
This highly regarded golf club was founded in 1889 and also boasts a 9-hole ‘Wee’ course which was part of the original layout. Alister MacKenzie was the original architect of the current Rosemount before James Braid made significant revisions in 1930.
The start and finish on the Rosemount, venue of Greg Normans first European tour victory, is exceptional. The S-shaped opener is a tough start but introduces us nicely to everything that is good about Blairgowrie and whilst the second is not a long hole the wonderful green complex could see you run into all kinds of trouble.
The final four holes must be considered as one of my favourite finishing stretches. The delicate 130-yard 15th plays into a secluded corner of the property, the green is a small undulating target to find and is well defended by sand whilst the 16th opens up a bit more and from the seldom used ‘Martini Tee’ plays 498-yards over a loch and with a fiendish green ranks as the best hole on the course. I even encountered a family of deer crossing the fairway on this glorious part of the estate.
The 17th is a dramatic short hole played over a valley to a two-tiered green whilst the sweeping last is a fitting finish to a wonderful round of golf. After a narrowing drive the fairway plunges down towards a back-to-front sloping green sitting proudly in front of the impressive clubhouse.
The main weakness of the course is undoubtedly the 5th, 6th and 7th. The latter two have been redesigned slightly in recent times (they used to be part of the Lansdowne until the mid-1970s) but they still fail to impress as much as the remainder of the course – ultimately the terrain on this section is poorer with a more parkland feel. The 5th is also a confused affair with scattergun bunkering and even a young tree in the middle of the fairway!
The scoring stretch of the course comes next. Between the 9th and 12th we play two par-fives and a couple of par-fours measuring just over the 300-yard mark. The first of the long holes - “Roon the Ben” - is the best of the quartet with an early dog-leg and a brace of bunkers to really make you think on the tee.
The 13th is a solid two-shotter but just when the course is crying out for a short hole we get another par-five at the 14th! Fortunately we don’t have to wait long for the much needed par-three as it arrives at the aforementioned 15th which is the start of a thrilling finale.
Also, a word if I may for the excellent putting surfaces (re-laid in the 1960s). They had that lovely tight, firmness to them which produced a quick pace and a trueness I wasn’t expecting at this time of year.
The bunkering throughout doesn’t quite catch the eye as some of the real top drawer heathland courses but the strategy of them makes sense nonetheless. Personally they could just do with a bit of life and this would elevate the course even further.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
Im giving this club top marks as its how a golf club should be run, relaxed and very friendly staff and people and the course every hole is differant and beautiful with plants wildlife and the holes being a whole mix of differant type holes honestly is so much fun to play and one favorite courses in scotland. The clubhouse is beautiful too and has showers and everything so on hot day perfect.
This is a must play for anyone in area in my view only thing i guess i could say is greens were 8/10 v good but could been faster althou no slow by all means but still giving it top marks plus the club is not stuffy and does a lot for families and juniors so well done to the club and management i say.
From the first contact this was a good experience. That continued on the warm greeting in the pro shop and bar. We were a varied group of pro, me, good lady player and good junior. We were very well looked after at every turn. The course itself is lovely, reminiscent of a Surrey heathland or similar. Great variety and some memorable holes with beautiful springy turf. We all agreed that we would travel up just to play this course.
The recently upgraded clubhouse facilities at Blairgowrie are second to none, with adjacent paths and grassed areas kept in immaculate condition – nothing fussy or grandiose, just everything kept in its own, understated place. The Rosemount yardage booklet makes mention of the club’s attempt, over the last 100 years, to maintain a “strict standard of quality and tradition” both on and off the course and, believe me, they do that with consummate ease.
The round gets off to a flier with what my playing partner and I agreed is one of the best opening holes in Scottish golf, a left doglegged par four, played to a beautifully sited raised green guarded by a pair of bunkers to the left. From the third hole onward, it’s evident that most of the bunkers on the course have been reworked in recent times.
Perhaps they’re not all as aesthetically pleasing as the lovely heather backed sand traps on the 2nd (which would not look out of place at either the celebrated Berkshire or Sunningdale courses) but their visual appeal is very easy on the eye, nonetheless.
The routing is far more imaginative that that of its younger sibling next door - who says the old-time course architects didn’t know much about golf design? - but in fairness, the Rosemount is laid out on the best landscape on the property, culminating in a fine golfing flourish on the final four holes.
Starting at the very short 15th (which somehow works for a hole measuring only 130 yards from the back tees – four cavernous bunkers close to the putting surface and a wickedly undulating green proves that short can be difficult) and ending with the slightly right doglegged 18th where the green lies right in front of the magnificent clubhouse (as all home holes should, of course), this stretch of holes around the Black Loch are a very fitting way to conclude a round on one of the very best inland courses in Scotland.
The club seem to market itself more competitively these days with many attractive packages on offer in the golf magazines and on the web. Discerning golfers who fancy a fine golf experience away from the traditional links on the coast would be foolish to miss an opportunity to put their skills to the test at Blairgowrie.
played this course early summer '07', absolute magnificent course and well worth the green fee's!Very nice clubhouse and surroundings, alongside 3 beautiful courses.Rosemount course has some challenging but delightful holes to play against, par 72.Definetly worth going back to as it's one of Scotlands hidden gems id say so, thank you for the pleasant welcome and many thanks to ground staff!