Scotland's Banchory Golf Club: Make Sure Your Putter is on its Best Behavior
Aberdeenshire - Situated in the heart of majestic Royal Deeside in the North-East of Scotland, Banchory Golf Club is a beautiful parkland course. Given that it is open to the public all year round it is highly recommended as an experience not only to be enjoyed on the day itself but also for many years to come in the golfing mind as a highly worthwhile visit.
As with many of the best courses, the opening few holes set the tone and character of what is to follow. The opening three greens here are all temptingly within reach from the tee and will perhaps accordingly lure the unsuspecting visitor into a false sense of security as few players will complete these holes in under the card.
Small targets and undulating greens will mean that the putter will certainly have to be on its best behavior. The greens on this course are receptive to good approach shots as a general rule.
One striking feature of the course design, in my view, is the close attention that has been paid to the landing areas from the tee. Many holes have fairways with frustrating humps and mounds that will require skillful negotiation, otherwise your ball will be diverted into thick grass or come thudding to an abrupt halt well short of where you should be. Although the rough is far from deep, it is very dense and will pose a testing approach shot when encountered.
Fairway bunkering also means that good course management is an invaluable asset. An example of this can clearly be seen in the par 4 8th hole. The drive here requires to be threaded between two tall trees around fifty yards from the tee. In addition, this hole doglegs from left to right to an elevated, well-protected green. Anything too far to the left will be caught in the fairway bunkers.
However, there is a further complication in that a huge tree with sprawling branches stretches across the right edge of the fairway and many a soaring drive has been caught in its clutches and pulled to the ground. This leaves the most difficult of shots from where not even Seve Ballesterous could manufacture an approach shot to the green.
Perhaps the most challenging drive though is to be found on the par 4 11th. Played from an elevated tee your drive must again find the generous, but at the same time daunting, gap between two towering oaks and have a touch of draw ideally, to prevent your ball from running out of fairway.
However, you have been warned, an uncontrolled draw will find a watery grave in the form of a stream hidden from view from the teeing area, snaking its way into the River Dee.
In fact, a particular highlight of this course is the opening stretch of the back nine, winding its way alongside the gushing River Dee, which eagerly awaits any golfer with a tendency to leak one out to the right. The trademark of Banchory Golf Club however is the par 3 16th hole.
Despite being under 100 yards in length this tricky par three is played to a blind elevated green adjacent to the Doo'cot- a little picturesque pigeon tower- predating the golf course. Anything to the right will cause a flutter of feathers and a cacophony of noise while a tug to the left will send you reaching for a second ball as your first effort clatters into a thicket of trees.
Having myself had a hole-in-one at this hole it occupies a special place in my affections, but I can assure you that it will blight many a scorecard under the watchful gaze of the clubhouse, not to mention the birds.
If you have not been sufficiently tempted already, then bear in mind that this course can lay claim to having played an important part in the making of an Open Champion!
This is where it all began for the 1999 British Open Champion at Carnoustie, Paul Lawrie. Paul worked and played at Banchory Golf Club from the age of sixteen and it clearly did not do him any harm. Perhaps this course could also inspire your golf game onto greater things.
In terms of facilities, Banchory Golf Club is not to be found wanting. There is a new practice range, putting green, sufficient car parking Space, and a welcoming clubhouse complete with changing rooms and lockers.
Indeed, there is no better way to end your day than relaxing in the clubhouse and watching the golden sunset over the trees behind the first green.
The club is easily accessible from Aberdeen via the South or North Deeside roads and there are numerous other courses in the area worthy of a visit which makes Royal Deeside and Aberdeensire a golfing haven to be savoured.
Accordingly, take the opportunity to discover this gem of Royal Deeside, surrounded by beautiful scenery and steeped in tradition. Pit your wits against a distinctive, enjoyable, and well-maintained course- it is a must for all golfers who visit the area.
Banchory Golf Club
Head Pro: David Naylor
There is no email facility at the club.