Located at the “gateway to the Highlands”, Crieff Golf Club is surrounded by dramatic scenery with views over the Strathearn Valley. The course plays across rolling parkland that was once the grounds of the Hydro, a grand Victorian Spa.
Old Tom Morris laid out a nine-hole course in 1891, which was later extended to 18 holes by Robert Simpson and James Braid. In 1980, significant changes were made by John Stark in order to accommodate an additional 9-hole course.
Crieff is a parkland course, which can be enjoyed by golfers of all levels. The rolling fairways are generous and the rough is not too penal. Although the course is only 6,400 yards long, there are four par 4s in excess of 400 yards, requiring long and accurate tee shots. The course is laid out over a hill, consequently you may be faced with tricky sloping lies. Thankfully, the fairways climb gradually making walking relatively easy.
Crieff is an immensely friendly club, welcoming visitors with open arms. It also represents great value golf in a beautiful setting.
I set off for Crieff with great expectations as one of my trusted tomes, Golf World’s “Best Golf Courses in Scotland” ranked the course no less than 5 stars – ‘Exceptional. The Best’ – alongside other great inland courses like Gleneagles Kings and Ladybank.
Well, I’m sorry to report that Crieff does not even deserve to be in the four stars category – ‘Excellent. An outstanding day’s golf’ – and might only just get into the three stars slot – ‘Very good’ – so it shows you should not always believe what you read!
Don’t get me wrong, it is a decent course measuring just over 6,000 yards from the yellow tees which gets better as the round progresses, especially the holes from the 11th to the 15th at the top end of the course. But it takes over half the round to get going, by which time you may have switched off mentally as the course that you may have been anticipating has just not materialised!
The 11th “Jenny’s Wood” plays to a nice two tiered green, the 13th “Witches Crag” is a great par three played uphill to a pulpit green and the 15th “Heather Bank” is a fine downhill hole with a dog leg right. Crieff has some lovely views of the surrounding Perthshire hills but the course itself was a tad on the tired side, especially around many green fringes where, if I may be so bold, green keeping staff could do with erecting some temporary barriers to direct buggies and trolleys away from worn areas which need attention.