Review for Royal Aberdeen (Balgownie)

Reviewer Score:


Most people will already know that Royal Aberdeen is a must play, - but incase you dont, read on.

For lovers of links golf there can be few greater courses. I rate is as the best course in Scotland (or Britain for that matter) not to have held an Open championship (it has of course staged the Senior Open championship). I believe it pips Royal Dornoch to this title. The course starts with an intimidating but visually epic tee shot. It is a great hole hitting from just infront of the clubhouse windows, downhill and out towards the sea. The shot into the green requires a club extra to avoid the deep valley in front of the green. This green is as close as you get to the sea and you really feel the presence of it as you attempt to putt on this wonderfully contoured green. Then starts what is commonly regarded as the best front 9 in links golf. You go out through the dunes from eleveted tees through narrow fairways and wonderful green complexes. I use the word complexes because each green is a piece of art in itself, wonderfully contoured and very fast and true running. The ability to hit to the 'right part of the green' is definitely a requirement here or 3 putts will be the result.

When the front 9 climaxes with holes 8 & 9 you very well might think you are in golfing heaven. The 8th is a fantastic par 3 with severe bunkering making it the hardest (although by some way the shortest) par 3 on the course. The 9th may very well be the best hole on the course - a long sweeping par 4, uphill and the neaer to the hole green you aim from the tee, the further your carry has to be to get to the fairway. Unfortunately the 10th is the only bad hole on the course, although it does become a good hole once the ugly blind tee shot is out of the way. Then commences a back 9 which is diffferent in feel to the front 9 but containing no less quality. Brutally long and with relentlessly difficult greens, it eases up a bit for 15 and 16 before the great finishing holes.

The 17th par 3 back towards the sea is a longer version of the signature 8th and then the last is a 450yard monster of a par 4 which you can see all in front of you and is a deservingly quality hole to finish the round. In conclusion, a real tough test of golf through length, superb bankering and green complexes the likes of which the pro's have to deal with on tour. The condition is always excellent first class and if you are like me in that you appreciate traditional links more then the recently created ones of Kingsbarns and Castle Stuart (which are excellent courses in their own way), then you may agree that Royal Aberdeen is only bettered by Carnoustie, and even that is a VERY close call.

Date: September 20, 2010

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