Royal Deeside : Some Golf Courses
To commence your 'royal' golf tour, head first for the impressive little town of Banchory, built in the glistening granite stone typical of this area. Banchory has a well-established parkland course found only 100yards from the town centre and built largely on the terraces of the river Dee. Its wooded and riverside setting provides an ideal and inspiring round. In the early part of his career Paul Lawrie, the 1999 (UK) Open championship winner, was a golf assistant at this club. Just out of the town to the west is Inchmarlo Golf Centre which offers a 16-bay floodlit driving range and good short-game facilities. There is a new 18-hole course, opened in the summer of 2001, to accompany the existing 9-hole course.
For a round of a different nature take the A980 to Torphins, a hilly 9-hole course with some blind holes that are perhaps better appreciated the second time around. The course has excellent greens and makes an ideal holiday excursion. A further three miles beyond is Lumphanan where hilly heathland merges with lovely surrounding views. This is a tough little 9-holer with narrow fairways and small greens but, for holiday golf, it represents exceptional value. The course is usually unmanned and collects its modest fees in an honesty box.
At Aboyne several new holes were added some years ago, contributing greatly to the course's challenge and character. Visitors are delighted with the contrast found in the club's two distinct halves, the front nine being a lush tree-lined parkland while most of the homeward section is rugged heathland. On the other side of the loch a new 9-hole course has recently been opened at the Aboyne Loch Golf Centre.
A few miles north of Aboyne on the B9094 is an exceptional 9-holer. The delightful little course at Tarland has gained quite a reputation since it has been improved and lengthened. With an excellent level of greenkeeping and a warm welcome at the small clubhouse, those that discover Tarland take it to their hearts. Don't be put off because there are only 9 holes - twice round here is a worthwhile encounter.
One of Royal Deeside's premier tests, Ballater seems a flat and unassuming course from the first tee. But it has many subtle and disarming aspects. The 5th is a memorable example, a par 3 to a raised green that needs to be hit and held otherwise the strokes can soon pile up. A good combination of length and understated challenge makes Ballater well worth exploring.
Over the river Dee, which borders Ballater's golf course, are the grounds of Balmoral Castle, the Royal Family's Highland home and summer retreat. Balmoral has an intriguing 9-hole course for use only by the household staff and occasionally by a golfing member of the Royal Family. Recently, however, it has been made available for corporate outings.
The final outpost on this royal tour of Deeside is Braemar Golf Club, a delightful 18-hole course surrounded by hills. Perhaps short on distance but the highest 18-hole course in the UK. Although set well over 1000ft above sea level it is not hilly; in fact, playing along the banks of the Clunie Water it is mostly flat. The 2nd hole at Braemar is one of the most exciting in the region, a green placed high above the fairway with the amazing backdrop of the Glenshee hills. The combination of stunning scenery and fresh air, as well as the delightful village, makes a trip to Braemar and its golf course most rewarding.
And to complete the round.....
Continuing south, the A93 reaches its highpoint at the Cairnwell pass, where the Glenshee Ski Centre is located. After a steep descent over 5 miles the road reaches Spittal of Glenshee where the 9-hole Dalmunzie course is located. After another 20 miles lies the attractive town of Blairgowrie where three courses, including Rosemount, are to be found. Heading east on the A926 one first reaches Alyth where there is a clutch of courses, then Kirriemuir, near Glamis Castle, an 18-hole course, and Forfar, another 18-hole course. Further to the north-east is the pretty town of Edzell which has both 9-hole and 18-hole courses. A delightful B-road travels north to Fettercairn and the magnificent Cairn O' Mount viewpoint. From there the road drops steadily until it reaches Banchory where the journey began.
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|Introduction||Cairngorms National Park||Glenshee Ski Centre||Golf in Royal Deeside||Ballater Boules|
|Walking in Royal Deeside||History with Boots On||Walking near Ballater||Dalmochie Lumberjack's Trail||Indoor Bowling|
|Munros near Braemar||Aboyne Rugby||Photography in Royal Deeside|
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