GOLF IN GRAMPIAN – SPECTACULAR COLOURS AND A DRAM AT THE 19TH
our Grampian Review
Autumn in the
Grampian offers golfers an irresistible cocktail of golf and whisky,
gently stirred with fresh air, stunning scenery, blazing autumn
colours and hotel renowned for their fine food and hospitality.
Grampian has a huge variety of courses for golfers of all levels
– from traditional testing Scottish links courses, to cliff-top
fairways affording panoramic vistas, and courses set in rolling
parkland. And whether you’re a novice or the next Tiger Woods, you’ll
enjoy an evening re-charging your batteries at some very special
nineteenth holes, relaxing in front of a blazing log fire with a
warming malt whisky and savouring menus using the freshest local
produce. Autumn offers, at hotels ideally placed to explore the
best courses for you, are great value for golfers.
A strip of classic,
traditional golfing links stretches from Aberdeen, where golfers
can relish golf links as nature intended. The outward nine on Royal
Aberdeen’s Balgownie Links offer the truest form of this type of
terrain – wild, wind-tossed, rolling and exacting. Royal Aberdeen
was the first club to institute the 5 minute search limit for a
lost ball – perhaps a testament to Balgownie’s topographical challenge.
North along the coast, Cruden Bay is a hidden gem, rated in the
top 100 courses of the world by Golf Digest. But beware, golfers
come once to sample the seaside bumps and hollows of this fascinating
links course and are entirely smitten. Further north still Peterhead
Golf Club can equal Cruden Bay with testing layouts through the
courses yield exhilarating vistas along the coast and out across
the North Sea. Strathlene, near the busy fishing port of Buckie
is a headland course with great views. Here, play is suspended while
golfers stop to watch the Moray Dolphins, locally known as ‘Loupin
Dugs’, sail by. And at the Royal Tarlair Golf Club in Macduff, the
13th hole has one of the most dramatic cliff-top settings
of any hole.
courses complete the picture of Grampian’s varied golf terrain.
On the Banffshire coast, Duff House Royal boasts bountiful greens
created by Dr Alistair McKenzie, the man who created the home of
the US Masters, Augusta National. To the west along Deeside, the
courses of Banchory and Ballater, set amongst the rolling hills
and woodland of one of the most beautiful valleys in Scotland, offer
most spectacular views, especially with broad swathes of countryside
bathed in the reds, golds and russets of autumn.
Inn, Peterhead tel 01799 471121
A modern 4-star
hotel with the height of comfort in big, bright, airy rooms. Guests
have free use of the hotel’s leisure facilities, to ease away aches
and pains and to ensure maximum relaxation for the golf course –
heated indoor pool, sauna, steam room, and a Body Balance therapist
for aromatherapy, massage and reflexology. The hotel is ideally
placed for Grampian’s coastal links courses.
November offers: £51 dinner B&B for two persons sharing a double
or twin room. The hotel’s autumn promotional £20 petrol voucher
is a real gift for touring golfers.
Hotel, Forres tel 01309 673290
A timeless family
run country house hotel, set in landscaped grounds overlooking the
royal burgh of Forres. Staff are happy to book tee times on behalf
of guests – there are some twenty golf courses within a half hour’s
drive of the hotel, and welcoming open fires to come home to. ‘Taste
of Scotland’ restaurant, awarded 2 AA Rosettes. Groups of six golfers
or more are given a private dining room for dinner and a pewte Quaich
engraved with their team name.
Dinner, B&B per person per night from £59.50
Autumn offer: £99 per person per night, Dinner, B&B, including:
champagne on arrival; traditional Scottish cream tea; house sprits;
wines; liqueurs; malts; brandies and all soft drinks; table d’hote
Hotel, Oldmeldrum tel 01651 872294
The hotel boasts
its own private 18 hole golf course, available to hotel residents
at a green fee of £30 – and the Pro is celebrity Paul Lawrie. This
baronial house, dating from the 13th century, stands
in fifteen acres of landscaped parkland which includes an ornamental
lake. Guests can savour the very special surroundings in an unfussy
atmosphere of relaxation and informality. Service is attentive yet
unobtrusive and the cuisine is traditionally Scottish with an international
Offer from October
1: Dinner, B&B and a round of golf, £70 per person, based on
2 people sharing
Hotel, Ballater Tel 01339 755402
A small friendly
town hotel with country house appeal, set in beautiful Highland
countryside overlooking Ballater golf course towards Lochnagar.
Menus in the conservatory/restaurant, awarded an AA rosette, reflect
the auld alliance, an interesting mix of modern Scottish cuisine
with a distinct French influence. Five course gourmet wine-tasting
dinners are available through October and November.
1 night Dinner, B&B - £39 per person; 3 nights Dinner, B&B
- £105 per person. 2 nights Dinner, B&B Wine tasting weekend,
Hotel, Bankhead, Aberdeen Tel 01224 712275
– and affordable – hideaway which has been carefully restored to
provide well-appointed rooms, including unusual split-level Gallery
suites, and an old-world atmosphere in the wood-panelled bar. Friendly
staff make guests feel instantly at home and menus prepared by award-winning
chefs have a reputation for excellent fresh local produce. Just
a few miles west of the city, the hotel is a great gateway for golf
in Aberdeen and its environs.
offer: Thursday to Sunday: 3 course dinner with coffee and fudge
and full Scottish breakfast £39.95 per person (sharing a double/twin
room) per night. Minimum two night stay