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: 9.2 out of 10 Reviews: 60
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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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Cédric
How this course is rated below Nairn, or, even more shocking, below Cruden Bay just leaves me speechless! Royal Aberdeen is in such an obviously different class!! The front 9 is probably one of the best you will ever find with the par 5 2nd being the best hole of the course. The back 9 is maybe not as good but really only because the front 9 is too good a comparison! If only they could switch! The course and the clubhouse just ooze class. Only negative point was that we were not allowed to play from the back tees (same as Dornoch)... We felt very welcome nonetheless but like in other "old fashioned" clubs,you are allowed to play the course but not quite to get the "full" experience! Such is life... I would go back any minute! Cédric
April 21, 2007
10 / 10
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Kenny
July 30, 2007
The back tees are in play for anybody during the summer. The course is usually in it's best condition in late July/August/September so I suggest you come back a bit later in the year next time!!
Cedric
September 19, 2007
As I said Kenny, I would go back any time!!!!And I will definitely take your advice into consideration...
bob
Watched the Sr British Open there a couple years back and the cut was 14 over par which shows you how difficult it can play in the wind. Front nine is great especially. When the rough get's thick in July/August it can get a bit unfair, I hit two of the best shots of my life and lost two balls. Very good but not in same league as Carnoustie, Turnberry, Kingsbarns, etc. Better than Cruden Bay and Murcar for sure.
January 06, 2007
8 / 10
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Bill Vostniak
Only calling the first nine great is a huge mistake. The second nine is not as dramatic nor visually hystrionic, but to date Royal Aberdeen has with Prestwick been the two courses far exceeding prior expectations in Scpotland for me. Simply brilliant stuff, start to finish.
October 04, 2006
10 / 10
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mheywood
This course goes straight into my top five. It is a beast of a course with all the trouble in front of you. Played off the whites and it beat me up good and proper. Better than the majority of Open Championship rota courses I've had the pleasure to play and the greens are fantastic. The stretch along the coast from the 2nd through to the 9th is tremendous and the back nine does not disappoint either. This course is a must play and if difficulty was king, would be a regular on the Open rota.
September 21, 2006
10 / 10
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michael ball
the front nine at aberdeen is best 9 holes i have played and the back nine isn't bad just isn't as good as the front, but played tougher into the wind, the 9th is the best par 4 in scotland, woth every penny! if they could cater to 40000 a day it would be a great open venue.
September 15, 2006
10 / 10
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Bernhard Koehler
I think this course is ranked much to low. IT is a great links course in perfect condition with a great layout. Play this course, but prepare for a hard fight with the course, especially with wind.
August 21, 2006
10 / 10
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