Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, Aberdeen, Scotland
Which Scottish links is most likely to be added to the Open Championship rotation? Many would be surprised that the answer could very well be the historic Royal Aberdeen Golf Club’s Balgownie Links, near the heart of the city, a challenging and difficult layout that will have everything needed to stage the Open in this bustling northeast Scotland city once it completes a purchase of some adjacent acreage. The front nine is especially severe and is arguably the most difficult in the British Isles, meandering between huge dunes on both sides, a visually stunning and dramatic series of golf holes. The inward nine, while not quite as backbreaking, is nearly always played into the prevailing wind, has been stepped up dramatically with a new par-5 12th designed by Donald Steel. The views coming in on the back nine, toward the spires of Aberdeen city centre, are unique in the game. Royal Aberdeen Golf Club is one of Scotland’s oldest, with a continuous existence since 1815, and the venerable clubhouse, wonderfully traditional and Scottish, reflects this historic past. A classic gentlemen’s club, jacket and tie is required in the main lounge, but what makes the clubhouse one of our favorites is the “Old Bar,” worth the price of the green fee by itself in our opinion! More casual than the main lounge, you will find it hard to resist, if just for the name! Dark mahogany wood, ancient photos of club captains adorning the walls, great views down the first toward the North Sea, this 19th hole has it all!