Trump International Golf Links
Since its opening in 2012, Trump International Golf Links has established itself as one of the very best golf courses in the country, with sensational facilities to match. The Martin Hawtree-designed course starts great and just gets better and better thereafter. Standouts include the par-3 third, where anything hit left will end up on the beach, and the spectacular 14th, which offers one of the most breathtaking coastal views to be found anywhere. Make sure you keep something in reserve for the final hole, a long par-5 that features 18 bunkers between the tee and the green.
Royal Aberdeen (Balgownie)
A quintessential links course, Royal Aberdeen’s Balgownie Links, just to the north of the ‘Granite City’, has a deserved reputation for being one of Scotland’s premier courses. After an opening hole which tees off directly in front of the clubhouse – a knee-knocker of a start if ever there was one – it makes a 45-degree turn, playing out and then back along the beautiful, rugged coastline. How well you play is often determined by the weather conditions. A special mention for the par-3 eighth, too, which is easily one of the best short holes you will ever play.
Located around 45 minutes to the north of Aberdeen, Cruden Bay promises a “unique and unforgettable experience”. As anybody who has ever played its magnificent Old Tom Morris-designed links can attest, that’s precisely what it delivers. It is old fashioned links golf at its best complemented by jaw-dropping sea views. It’s really not hard to see why it is held in such high regard and is a regular inclusion in lists of the world’s top golf courses.
Duff House Royal
The Alister MacKenzie-designed Duff House Royal is proof that there is so much more to golf in the North East of Scotland than championship links courses. It nestles within a beautiful parkland setting that offers occasional glimpses of the Moray Firth and includes appearances by the River Deveron on five holes. The stunning Banff Bridge, which dates back to 1779, forms the spectacular backdrop to the closing holes. It truly is a fabulous and friendly place to play.