Gleneagles (King's) - Perth & Kinross - Scotland

Gleneagles Hotel,
Auchterarder,
Perthshire,
PH3 1NF,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1764 662231


In 1908, the idea for an hotel at Gleneagles came to Donald Matheson, general manager of the Caledonian Railway Company. He had a dream to build a “Palace in the Glens” which would attract noble and wealthy railway travellers. James Braid (the five times Open Champion) was commissioned to design the King’s course, assisted by Major C.K. Hutchison and Matheson himself.

In 1919 the championship King’s course opened for play and in 1921 the King’s course hosted the first informal Ryder Cup match between Great Britain and the USA. No half points were awarded for this fledgling event and a strong British team that included James Braid won the competition 9 points to 3.

Gleneagles is the perfect mountain setting for a game of golf; the King’s course is surely the best moorland track in the world. The sweeping views of the Ochil Hills and the peaks of Ben Vorlich and the Trossachs are simply ravishing.

Braid was given the most perfect terrain upon which to build a golf course and he built a very special golf course. The holes blend perfectly into the landscape. The springy fairways wind their way through punishing rough, strewn with heather and gorse. Many mature pines, silver birch and rowan provide natural amphitheatres on a number of the holes.

You cannot help but be enchanted by this golf course. Even the named holes are evocative: Silver Tassie, Blink Bonnie and Wee Bogle. But it’s the views that will probably interrupt your concentration on the game. In Golf Between Two Wars, Bernard Darwin wrote: “The beauty of the place is beyond all question; the exact merits of the course perhaps more difficult to decide”. Darwin went on to say that the ground was once slow; this made the course very long, even for the likes of J H Taylor and Sandy Herd. Then the ground hardened under the feet of thousands, and the ball ran further and further and consequently the scoring became lower.

The book, Classic Golf Holes, features the 18th hole: “From the tee boxes beside the little hut just beyond the 17th green, the drive should ideally clear the crest of the ridge over a line between the twin bunkers. It will then catch a downslope which will speed the ball on towards its ultimate destination. Thereafter, again ideally, the player will repair for the night to the splendour of the hotel.”

In a recent poll we asked: “Have you played all three courses at Gleneagles? If so, which one do you prefer?” The King’s came out on top with 42.9% of the vote followed by the Queen’s with 38.1% whilst the PGA Centenary could only manage 19%.

A number of important events have been played over the King’s course, including the Curtis Cup, Dunhill Trophy, Scottish Open and the WPGA Championship of Europe. Lee Trevino, standing on the 1st tee of the King’s course, remarked: “If heaven is as good as this, I sure hope they have some tee times left”.

In October 2016, Gleneagles staged the 100th edition of the Scottish PGA Championship. The event was played on the King’s course, which has been returned to how it was 100 years ago. The restoration work has reversed most of the changes that were made in the late 1980s with the most significant alteration focusing on fairway width – increased by 40% – resulting in bunkers moving from the rough and back into the fairways.

Gleneagles is one of our Top 100 Golf Resorts of the World

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Reviews for Gleneagles (King's)

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Description: Gleneagles is the perfect setting for a game of golf and the King’s course is surely the best moorland track in the world. Rating: 7.8 out of 10 Reviews: 39
TaylorMade
Stefan Hindmarsh
Our two ball arrived at Gleneagles to find out that the course was closed until further notice, however 5 minutes later, to our relief, it opened! However this was not necessarily a blessing… A build up of golfers now wanted to tee off and the luck of the draw meant that we had the pleasure of being stuck behind a 4 ball who quite simply did not understand the basic etiquette of the pace of play! Nevertheless, we played the course in wet conditions. The groundstaff had done an excellent job to make the conditions playable after torrential rain for the past 24 hours. And they even permitted us to play from the back tees too!

The first, "Dun Whinny", is the iconic first hole that every course should have! An easy start with a wide fairway and short Par 4, however the imposing raised green and bunkers surrounding it really make it special. A great start! The second, "East Neuk", from the back tees is nothing short of a brute! Par 4 436 yards with bunkers in play off the tee and on the approach. I ended up in one green side bunker and was happy to take a 6! The 3rd, "Silver Tassie", is a mad hole… Huge humps and hills rise up infront of you and somewhere a fairway is too be had. Then the second is completely blind over a cratered hill to a bowl green. Complete and utter madness but great fun. Then the 4th, "Broomy Law", for me has to be the hardest hole on the course. Par 4 466 yards long uphill the whole way! An incredibly wide fairway that stops the ball immediately on impact, leaves a 200 yard plus approach for most into a narrow raised green, not visible from some parts of the fairway. The 5th, "Het Girdie", Par 3 of 178 yards from the back is one of my favourite Par 3's in golf. The iconic green sits above cavernous bunkers deep below and thick rough over the back. Both of us missed the green and neither scrambled for a Par, but such was the immense beauty of the hole, I don't think we minded! The 6th, "Blink Bonnie", is a real birdie chance which is rare on the Kings course. It plays differently from whatever tee you play. From the blue back tee the angle is very different from the regulation tee. The line straight over the large fairway bunker, is intimidating but if struck can leave the green hittable in two, as the approach is played downhill with only 240 yards roughly remaining. The views from this green of the surrounding mountains are also simply stunning! My excuse for a 3 putt Par… The 7th, "Kittle Kink", some may say is the kind of risk/reward hole suitable for the Ryder Cup. However, I shan't degrade it with such terms. The tee shot is all about how much you dare to carry it, as the fairway lies almost at a complete 90 degree angle to the tee, so an approach of 210-160 yards can be had here however also if too much aggression is taken off the tee a shot of 200+ yards awaits over bunkers from thick rough… The green is surrounded by bunkers at the front, which in all make it a very tough hole indeed! The 8th, "Whaup's Nest", is a cracking Par 3 again of 178 yards. The green lies again a a 90 degree angle to you about 10 yards below you, so yardage is vital. Then the green itself has a huge slope from front to back so depending on the pin position distance is even more important! I reckon not many birdies arise here! The 9th, "Heich o' Fash", is all about the drive, an absolute imperative to find the fairway, other wise thick rough awaits. If the fairway is hit then an easy approach to raised green awaits, but if not… high numbers lie in the depths of bunkers and rough!

The 10th, "Canty Lye", has a nice touch on the tee where you order through what you want to the Halfway House. However, once that is done, a long tee shot awaits for the second Par 5 of 499 yards. Apparently as it is S.I. 1, it is a hard whole but both of us hit a bad shot on the hole and both walked off with a 5. But it is still a great hole as the scenery once again is spectacular, and the green is surrounded by deep bunkers. The 11th, "Deils Creel", is a huge uphill Par 3 measuring 230 yards from the back tees. Played to a sloping green surrounded by bunkers once again, a 3 is an achievement indeed! The 12th, "Tappit Hen", is the start of 4 holes with simply incredible tee shots. Here a carry of 235 yards off the back tees is required just to carry the hillock with bunkers inset on its face. Then once you find your ball over this ridge, a approach of 180 still awaits! A great hole, but nothing compared to what was about to come… I read somewhere that James Braid always assigned his name or something to do with him, to the hole that he thought was the best on the course. And he certainly he got it right! Off the back tee the fairway seems miles away, and is hidden by even more capacious bunkers. This 464 yard Par 4 is amazing! A thin sliver of fairway rolls over humps and dips, through bunkers, the whole way to a raised green. The fairway bunkers were so big that one actually blocked me from seeing a bunker infront of the green. Just brilliant! Or as Braid himself named it, "Braid's Brawest". The 14th, "Denty Den", is a lovely hole with decisions to be made off the tee. At only 309 yards off the back this hole is drivable. However danger lurks everywhere if you stray. However, a real refreshing hole which often yields birdies. The 15th, "Howe o' Hope", is the last of the run of imposing Par 4 Tee shots. As you hit over the brow of a hill, fate decides where your ball ends up. However, then a great approach lies ahead. Downhill to a split green running away from you fast downhill, from 180 yards, so most end up at the back of the green where the pin happened to be when we played, however at the front and suddenly 3 putts loom. The 16th, "Wee Bogle", a Par 3 of 158 yards off the extremely raised tee, plays much shorter to a tiny green surrounded by small deep bunkers. Gleneagles' answer to the Postage stamp at Troon. I loved it! The 17th, "Warslin' Lea" is a dog leg left Par 4 of 377 yards that requires a tee shot to be as close to the right as possible in order to see the green therefore bringing in thick rough and the one fairway bunker into play. Then the 2nd is a short shot played up to a raised green and a regulation 4 awaits most if the green is hit. Then you prepare yourself for one last hole, the 525 yard Par 5 18th, "King's Hame". Off the normal tees this is a Par 4 of 453 yards, however the ridge in the middle of the fairway is carryable. But off the back a drive of 275 yard carry is required, otherwise a long iron/5 wood is the shot, making the Par 5 a true 3 shotter. Then over the ridge blind to leave yourself a wedge into the biggest green on the course. Depending on your shot into the green birdie or bogey awaits.

In all despite horrible weather, and the group infront playing in a different time zone, perhaps in Japan…. I thoroughly enjoyed the Kings course and playing with a 2-Fore-1 voucher it was good value for money, which not many have said about Gleneagles before…! The course was unlike any other I have played. Completely wacky in parts… But more eccentric that psycho. One of the best courses I have played of that parkland/heathland hybrid cross. Great! And the off course facilities weren't bad either…! SLH
July 27, 2010
10 / 10
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Graham Taylor
Massively over-rated. An average course in a nice settling but the subsoil cannot cope with the amount of rain leading to a boggy experience when it rains - i.e. most of the time. Hotel is good but the golf course is just average. Why would anyone go here when they can play links golf on great courses nearby?
September 08, 2009
4 / 10
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Derek
September 08, 2009
I think i would award the Kings some more balls than you but broadly i'm with you on the "massively over-rated" comment. I just can't get my head round how this course features so highly on the rankings. I've played at least two inland courses in scotland that are far better (Loch L. and Spey Valley) and others that are a good wee bit better or as good (Rosemount, Ladybank, Downfield). I've pretty much only just started on my golfing odyssey around Scotland so there could be other inland courses the equal of the Kings. A triumph of marketing possibly?!
Vorndron
Excellent course and stunning setting (best I've ever played/seen).We were treated by excellent weather but the course is immaculate and very frinedly staff. Definately go back.
June 02, 2009
10 / 10
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Ian Smith
A late March trip to Gleneagles was always going to be a risky proposition but I was tempted by the greatly reduced green fee to have a go at this Braid classic. Unfortunately the weather was not kind and a fierce north westerly wind meant the golf was a struggle. It was still possible to appreciate some great golf holes carved into the Perthshire hills. It was a lot more open than I had anticipated but it is designed in such a way that you very rarely see other golfers. That feeling of solitude when playing a hole was very appealing. The course was in good condition for the time of year and not as wet as I had expected. My main gripe would be how far forward the yellow tees were. It meant the course was playing only 6100 yards, par 68 which left me feeling I wasn't getting the full King's experience. Several par 3's in particular were playing too short. They look completely different - and better - off the regular tees. The facilities and welcome you get are everything you would expect from somewhere like Gleneagles. I would love to play again in mid-summer but could never justify the peak season green fees. I would still rate Blairgowrie Rosemount as the best inland track I've played in Scotland.
April 01, 2009
6 / 10
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David O
Played the King's on 27th February, in fairly mild weather (for February in Scotland) with a stiff but fair breeze.The course was undergoing a major overhaul with heavily sanded greens and the rough and ferns cut back severely. I joined up with two members for the last couple of holes and they told me that they had never seen the course this open. Combine this with the fact that the only set of tee markers available were yellows (6100 yards par 68) and the course played extremely short and easy.I admit that in common with other reviewers, the scenery is excellent but the course is a little underwhelming and there are a lot of blind or semi-blind approach shots - I agree with Jim McCann that the 3rd is a little unfair. Enjoyed some of the holes more around the turn (8-13).Would like to return in summer to play from at least the white tees with the rough more encroaching to see if my first impression is wrong.
March 04, 2009
6 / 10
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David Redwood
There is no disputing the quality of the Gleneagles experience and playing in March enabled us to get a very good deal. However, although I thought the course was very good and the scenery stunning, I was left feeling slightly underwhelmed as I expected more. Not a patch on Ladybank and there are numerous other much less vaunted courses that I would recommend over the Kings.
April 01, 2008
6 / 10
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colin
I played here 2 years ago, and was disappointed. I found the scenery pleasant rather than stunning, not a patch on Loch Lomond, and the course a decent rather than great challenge. Stand out hole was Braids Brawest - the 13th i think. What a great par 4 that is. I'm certainly not saying it's a bad course, it's very good in many ways. Just not great.
October 26, 2007
6 / 10
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Dan Flanagan
This is a truly fantastic golf course. I lost count of how many times my jaw dropped when I walked on to a new hole. The design is superb, views spectacular and the course was in immaculate condition. I can hardly remember a more enjoyable round of golf. Probably the best inland course I have played, and that includes Wentworth and Woodhall Spa. The Queens is also very nice (although abit short) but give the PGA a miss.
May 03, 2007
10 / 10
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Alex Westenfield
Played in June 2006. Simply put, my favorite course I've played in Scotland(and I thoroughly enjoyed St Andrews Old & New, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns, Muirfield, Queens here as well). Beautiful scenery, great welcome from the staff and starter, an awesome view up the first and down the eighteenth with some absolutely great and some very challenging golf holes throughout. If coming back, I would play Kings twice, Queens once and skip the PGA Centenary.
February 21, 2007
10 / 10
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Richard Smith
Although I try to confine my golf in the UK to links courses, I can unreservedly recommend the King"s course to anyone playing golf in Scotland. The King"s course rambles through rolling terrain and presents one great challenge after another. We played from a more forward set of tees, and the course played to the sternest par of 68 that one could imagine. Although I've only played the Kings course one time, I can remember almost ever hole with clarity and fondness. The King's course deserves it high ranking and should be sought out and played. The resort is outstanding in it's own right and a bit of heaven if you have been staying in Bed and Breakfast inns on your trip. As for the other courses, I didn't get the chance to play the Queen's, although I will try to do so in the future. I have a low opinion of the Nicklaus course, and I would spend my time on the King's and Queen's courses, regardless of the fact that the Ryder cup is being played on the Nicklaus course. Richard Smith Knoxville, Tennessee
June 04, 2006
10 / 10
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