The Royal Aberdeen Golf Club was founded in 1780 in a different location as the ‘Society of Aberdeen Golfers’ and is recognized as the 6th oldest golf club in the world. It became the Aberdeen Golf Club in 1815 and then in 1888 moved from the Queen’s Links across the River Don to its current site on the Links at Balgownie. It obtained its Royal designation from King Edward VII’s patronage in 1903.
St Andrews Old Course often gets the recognition as the oldest golf course, but in fact Aberdeen golf dates to 1625 with the Queen’s Hole on the Links of Aberdeen that was lost to history when the Club had to move due to football (soccer) and cricket taking over the playing fields.
In 1783 Royal Aberdeen gave golf one of its most famous rules with the introduction of the 5-minute lost ball rule. Even at the dawn of golf, pace of play was an important issue.
Royal Aberdeen also had the original ballot box for voting on members. The box would be on display for three months when a name was proposed – it only took one black ball during that time to disqualify the applicant.
The new course at Balgownie was commissioned to be laid out by the storied Simpson brothers – Archie and Robert – of Carnoustie (Simpson’s Golf Shop is still in business today). It was later lengthened and re-bunkered by another golf legend, James Braid.
The Balgownie championship course is a tale of two nines with the front nine considered one of the best in Scotland. The inward nine is less undulating, with some blind shots and more difficult green complexes.
The signature hole is considered the 17th called “Pots” a 181-yard, par 3 with a triple-tier green and fantastic views out to sea. Tom Watson’s favorite hole is the 9th called “End” a long and challenging par 4 that finishes with an approach to an uphill green.
Royal Aberdeen has a second course that is great fun to play, the Silverburn. A short 18-hole course with 9 par 3s. However, in the prevailing windy conditions along the coast, it is no pushover.
Through hosting of the 2011 Walker Cup, 2014 Scottish Open and the 2018 Men’s Amateur among other prestigious competitions, many of today’s top players have challenged the links at Aberdeen. Ritchie Ramsey is lucky enough to have grown up on the course. A replica of his Havemeyer Trophy, for winning the US Amateur as the first Scot since 1898 and the first Brit since 1911, sits proudly in the trophy case at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club.
Located in north-eastern Scotland, Aberdeen is a golfing ‘hidden gem’. It is home to several exceptional links golf courses including Royal Aberdeen and Cruden Bay, and is only a short drive from St Andrews.
Scotland’s third most populous city is a cultural hub, with an abundance of activities to enjoy and places to visit when you’re not on the golf course.
8 nights 4* accommodation and 7 rounds of golf
Prices starting from $5,505
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