Royal Aberdeen (Balgownie) - North East Scotland - Scotland

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club,
Balgownie Links,
Bridge of Don,
Aberdeen,
AB23 8AT,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1224 702571

  • Golf Club Website

  • On A92 N of Aberdeen City Centre

  • Contact in advance – restricted at weekends


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Royal Aberdeen

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club was originally known as the Society of Golfers at Aberdeen, founded in 1780, this is the eighth oldest golf club in the world. The members originally played over a public strip of common land between the Don and the Dee. In 1815 the society changed its name to the Aberdeen Golf Club. The common land was becoming over-crowded, so in 1886 they decided to move to their present home, the Balgownie links, north of the river Don, which opened for play in 1888. Royal title was finally applied in 1903, despite the fact that Prince Leopold granted patronage more than 30 years earlier.

A trio of Simpsons had a hand in fashioning this course, brothers Robert and Archie and then the flamboyant Tom Simpson. J. H. Taylor, James Braid and most recently Donald Steel also made revisions.

Royal Aberdeen is a traditional out and back links running along the shore of the North Sea and is regarded by many as having the finest first nine holes in golf. The first tee is under the clubhouse window and the fairway heads straight for the sea. The next eight holes run parallel to the shore, weaving their way through towering sand dunes. You then turn back, heading for the clubhouse. The back nine holes play on higher ground and provide stunning North Sea views.

While the front nine holes are undoubtedly tough, the back nine holes are probably harder. They are more exposed to the elements, and consequently, bear the full brunt of the wind. The par threes here at the Balgownie are also first class as is the finishing hole, a brutal par four, in excess of 400 yards. A good tee shot will finish in a hollow in the fairway, leaving a long second shot across a swale to an elevated green perched in front of the clubhouse.

The 2005 Senior British Open was held at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club. Tom Watson beat Ireland's Des Smyth in a sudden-death play-off to claim the title. In 2014, Royal Aberdeen hosted the Scottish Open for the first time, which Justin Rose won by two shots from Swede Kristoffer Broberg. This was the Englishman’s first professional victory in Scotland.

David Raby, reckons that one of the best 18 holes in links golf is the front nine at Royal Aberdeen followed by holes 2-10 at Murcar Links Golf Club.
Royal Aberdeen is a traditional golf club, so remember to take your jacket and tie if you want to use the lounge or the dining room. Make sure you don't spend too much time looking for your ball in the rough though—the five-minute rule was made here back in 1783.
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Reviews for Royal Aberdeen (Balgownie)

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Description: The Balgownie at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club is a traditional out and back links course running along the shore of the North Sea and it has one of the finest first nine holes in golf. Rating: 9.3 out of 10 Reviews: 56
TaylorMade
Dan Hare
Superb golf here, a true out and back, and the outward nine are amazing - from the 2nd onwards it kept getting more and more unbelievably spectacular and fun. Almost an overdose of elevated tees giving the driver a whack into stunning dune valley fairways. Back nine has to be a tiny bit of an anti-climax, but still great holes and a superb finish. We found the members friendly (were led to the airport and waved off by a member we met in the club house), and didn't need jacket and tie in the bar. Stunning barmaid too ! Half price before Easter on a full course with great greens, just tremendous. The best collection of reviews I have seen on the site, and fully deserved.
June 11, 2009
10 / 10
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Paul calverley
The final course in a trip comprising Royal Dornoch and Nairn , Royal Aberdeen was not embarrassed. We played it on a calm, pleasent march morning and the course was in fantastic condition. The opening 9 played in the dunes, with fairways raising and falling naturally, were breathtaking. As the breeze got up so did the difficulty but only served to emphasise the strength of the layout. The course and clubhouse ouze class and will be a deserving venue for the Walker cup.
April 01, 2009
10 / 10
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Robert
Played this course in the summer and have just been back for more it is superb. I wish i was a member of this club as it presents a different challenge every time you tee it up. Mats are being used on fairways at the moment but that takes nothing away from a true golfing challenge. A lot of work is being done on the bunkers at the moment which look fantastic with the layers of revetted turf beautifly crafted. Cant wait to be back
January 18, 2009
10 / 10
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Bernhard Koehler
It was to pleasure to play the course. But prepare for tough 18 holes from the back tees. One of the best links courses in Great Britain or Ireland. Well worth the money!
August 25, 2008
10 / 10
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Butch Branscome
My brother and I played this course in Sept. of 2006 in a constant rain. It was our 2nd 18 of the day. It well may have been one of the best rounds of golf I have ever played, especially under the conditions. We were hurt by the rain in a way I would never have thought, my stoke-saver was completed soaked and useless after 6 or 7 holes. I lost a couple strokes due to not knowing the course and being unsure of where to hit the ball on a couple blind shots. But that in no way took anything away from my enjoyment of this course. I hope to come back and play again without the rain. You will not be disappointed. It is a very challenging course, I can't really complain about any thing with the course.
August 13, 2008
8 / 10
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kcbritton
Played 36 holes in late July. One of the great courses in Scotland. While the front is more visually stunning than the back, the back has many very good holes. A great test of golf and a must play. Do not miss this course!!!
July 21, 2008
10 / 10
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R Ingleton
Elegant, charming, tough but fair. The type of course you could enjoy every day of the week. The presentation is beautiful, you have the opportunity to play every type of shot. From one day to the next you could treat each hole in a different way making it a classic in terms of shot making and course strategy. It is in the top 5 Scottish Courses.
June 09, 2008
10 / 10
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Robert
Fantastic is the only way to describe this place. The place oozes class. The layout is fearsome with narrow fairways that are tight cut and great to play from. The overall condition is superb. This course has hosted some big events in the past and will host the walker cup in 2011 which is what it deserves given its quality. This is a must play but is a course that is not talked off much but maybe thats better because it will always be a treat to play here at any time of the year.
May 29, 2008
10 / 10
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Ted
All the previous comments hold true, a fearsome front nine through mountainous dunes, followed by the back nine running back to the clubhouse on top of a plateau. The front nine played into the wind when we played (I understand the back nine is usually into), any less than perfectly struck shots found either the dunes or bunkers. In normal wind conditions, ie. back nine into, this would make the course alot more playable and balanced. Overall an excellent and tough test of golf. Loved the Clubhouse and all of its history, and the view down the 1st hole tumbling down to the north sea. The staff and Members were extremely friendly and helpful, contrary we found to some previous comments.
September 19, 2007
8 / 10
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Graeme Miller
Having joined this course as a student member in September last year I have been blown away by the quality of this course. The front 9 is simply outstanding - requiring a great mix of power, accuracy and finesse with almost every shot. Especially when into the wind, which seems to blow in every day, the longer back 9 can play far harder than the more lauded front 9 and offers a different challenge with flatter fairways but larger greens putting more of a premium on a top quality second shot. The par 3s are all excellent, with the short 8th not too dissimilar to the Postage Stamp at Royal Troon and the final hole on each of the 9's are both outstanding. All in all a great links course and one of the very toughest (expecially when you consider the USA slope rating of 141 is higher than most Open venues) with every shot presenting a unique and tricky problem.
July 26, 2007
10 / 10
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