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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 grassy dunes.

Grampian’s cliff-top 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.

Elegant parkland 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.

Autumn Break Hotels

Waterside 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.

October and 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.

Knockomie 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.

Autumn offer: Dinner, B&B per person per night from £59.50

All-Inclusive 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 dinner; breakfast

Meldrum House 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 touch.

Offer from October 1: Dinner, B&B and a round of golf, £70 per person, based on 2 people sharing

Glen Lui 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.

Autumn offers: 1 night Dinner, B&B - £39 per person; 3 nights Dinner, B&B - £105 per person. 2 nights Dinner, B&B Wine tasting weekend, £110.

Craighaar Hotel, Bankhead, Aberdeen  Tel 01224 712275

A delightful – 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.

October/November 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


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