Top 20 Golf Courses in North East Scotland 2015
North East Scotland Best in Region rankings updated
The city of Aberdeen is the focal point of our North East Scotland region, with more than half the courses in our newly updated rankings located less than a 25-mile drive from the Granite City’s harbour district. Of course, oil has now overtaken fishing as Aberdeen’s predominant industry, which allows the city to continue on the path to prosperity, as some of the Top 100 Team discovered on a recent visit.
The Balgownie course at Royal Aberdeen retains the number 1 position in our North East Scotland listings and this venerable old links, which the club moved to in 1886, has a proud tradition of hosting prestigious national and international events. Most notably in recent times, it has held the British Senior championship in 2005, the Walker Cup in 2011 and only last year, the Scottish Open. Regarded as one of the top layouts in the world, the Balgownie sets the standard for golfing excellence in this region.
Hard on its heels though, at number 2 in our rankings (up one position from last time), we have Trump International Golf Links, which swaps places with Cruden Bay. First opened for play in 2012, the Trump course is now maturing into the natural links layout it was always capable of becoming. Now starting to fulfil its true potential on a wonderful coastal site, the course seems destined to make a name for itself as a major professional tournament venue in the very near future.
Five of the remaining seven positions in the North East Scotland Top 10 remain the same so there’s little movement to report. Moving up two places to number 6 however, the Old course at Peterhead is a terrific track, first laid out more than a century ago in the dunes where the River Ugie empties into the North Sea. Also making a modest climb in our updated chart, up one position to number 10, is Duff House Royal, which Alister MacKenzie and his brother Charles redesigned back in 1923.
In the lower half of the new listings, three courses make significant upward moves. The first of these is the 18-hole Haughton layout at Deeside (rising six places to number 11), a modern track that’s the main component of a vibrant 27-hole golf complex. One spot behind at number 12, climbing three places, is the lovely little course at Ballater, where the fairways are set out in a beautiful location beside the River Dee. Kemnay also climbs an impressive five places to number 15 and this is a course that’s undergone a number of configuration changes since it became an 18-layout in 1992.
There are two new entries in our chart, and they’re both situated to the southwest of Aberdeen city centre. Peterculter is the highest newcomer at number 17, and this early 1990s design is yet another course that’s been laid out on the banks of the fast flowing River Dee, a popular location for constructing golf courses it seems. The other new entry is Portlethen at number 20, which is a modern design that Donald Steel and Cameron Sinclair created for the members, incorporating natural features like the Findon Burn into the routing.
We’re very grateful to all the club champions and professionals in this region who contributed to our re-ranking process. To view more details of the courses in our North East Scotland Top 20 rankings, click the link. If you’ve played extensively across this region and would like to help shape the next edition of the chart then please drop Editor-in-Chief Keith Baxter an email at [email protected].Jim McCann
Top 100 Golf Courses
06 July 2015 Respond to this article