Picture a classic links course in your mind. What do you see? Fairways threaded through towering sand dunes? Greens framed beside a rugged shoreline? Pot bunkers barely big enough for an angry man and his wedge? Whatever image of links golf comes to mind, you will almost certainly be able to bring the picture to life in the north-east of Scotland.
This quiet corner is one of golf’s best kept secrets. While visitors head to the hotspots of Fife, Ayrshire and the Lothians in their thousands every year, comparatively few people make the journey to the region around the bustling city of Aberdeen, despite the dazzling choice array of world-class courses on offer.
Our week-long Northeast tour features seven rounds of golf over six courses and also includes a chance to enjoy some of the area’s other fantastic attractions. Tours include breakfast at your hotel and lunch at the golf course each day.
Prices for our Northest tour start at just £2,995/$3,800 per person, based on a party of eight touring golfers. We’d love to make this tour happen for YOUR team – click here to get in touch
Day One: Newburgh (optional)
6,423 yds, Par 72
Journey time: 25 minutes
We’ll meet at your arrival airport of choice (see notes below) and transfer to accommodation in Aberdeen. Your hotel, the four-star Doubltree Aberdeen City, is set in a quiet beachfront location but is only a 10-minute walk from Aberdeen’s city centre attractions. After your long flight, you may choose to relax in your lodgings or take a walk along Aberdeen’s sandy beach. For those golfers who’d like to tee up as soon as possible, we can arrange a round at the links at Newburgh on Ythan. This charming course, laid out next to the River Ythan estuary, is a perfect introduction to links golf.
Day Two: Murcar
6,516 yds, Par 71
Journey time: 15 minutes
The links at Murcar has recently enjoyed a return to prominence, thanks in part to hosting an event on the men’s European Tour in 2016. The layout is notable for incorporating several changes of direction which makes things particularly interesting when the wind blows – as it often does in this part of Scotland. The front nine boasts a memorable stretch of holes through beach-side dunes, while the back nine includes several dramatic changes in elevation, adding to the difficulty. Perhaps the most memorable hole is the 16th – a medium length par 3 to a raised green which usually plays into the prevailing wind. A snaking burn, acres of gorse and deep pot bunkers cause the danger.
Day Three: Montrose
6,585 yds, Par 71
Journey time: 55 minutes
Golfers have been enjoying the stunning natural links at Montrose since 1562, making it the fifth oldest golf course in the world. The front nine is an unbeatable example of a natural seaside links. Holes such as the par three 3rd (pictured), where the golfer tees off from the top of one dune and plays to a green perched on the top of another, love long in the memory. The course moves away from the shore after the turn and while the back nine is less spectacular, it is never less than a great test of golf. Clever bunkering and small landing areas mean Montrose is a course where brains, not brawn, are required.
Day Four: Royal Aberdeen
6,881 yards, Par 71
Journey time: 10 mins
For many years one of Scotland’s under-appreciated gems, Royal Aberdeen’s profile has risen in recent years thanks to successfully hosting events such as the 2005 Seniors British Open (won by Tom Watson), the 2011 Walker Cup and the 2014 Scottish Open (won by Justin Rose). The opening nine holes, stretching away from the clubhouse into a vast network of sand dunes, are unforgettable. The back nine is less spectacular but just as challenging.
Day Five: Carnoustie
6,948 yds, Par 71
Journey time: 1hr 20 mins
Some courses may have more visual appeal but few layouts in the world can match Carnoustie as a true examination of a golfer’s ability. The test is tough but fair. It is no coincidence that the roll of Open Champions at Carnoustie features some of the greatest ball-strikers of all time, including Hogan, Watson and Player.
The diversity of challenge is impressive. The monstrously tough 2nd is followed by the charming 3rd. The par-five 6th is a masterpiece of strategic design while the 9th and 10th call on accurate shotmaking.
Carnoustie saves the best – and toughest – for last. Anyone who can stay in the neighbourhood of par from the 15th to 18th will be playing some pretty good golf.
Day Six: Trump International Golf Links
7,428 yds, Par 72
Journey time: 20 minutes
When Donald Trump announced plans to build a modern links on pristine sand dunes near Aberdeen, he vowed it would be “the greatest golf course in the world”. Today you’ll have a chance to see if the 45th President of the United States was right.
This modern championship track, designed by Dr. Martin Hawtree, follows a classic pattern of two out-and-back nine hole loops. All 18 holes thread their way through mighty dunes. Add drives from elevated tees, heavily contoured greens with a profusion of run-offs, rivetted bunkers and lush green fairways lined with heavy fescues – the course is aesthetically stunning. Select your tees carefully in line with your game and the weather. The wrong choice would do nothing for your soul!
Day Seven: Cruden Bay
6,609 yds, Par 70
Journey time: 40 mins
Cruden Bay (pictured) is great fun on a grand scale; towering sand hills, cavernous bunkers and dramatic plateau greens abound. Shooting a good score relies on getting the right feel for the bumps, hollows and blind shots which must be negotiated, while the raised putting surfaces put a particular emphasis on the short game. The huge dunes come into play often; tees are perched on the top of some, greens are hidden behind others. No golfer ever forgets playing Cruden Bay – it’s an 18 hole rollercoaster.
Day Eight: Departure
We’ll say goodbye to Aberdeen after breakfast and transfer to your chosen airport for the journey home.
College Links Golf offers full-service golf tours. We’ll meet you at the airport and arrange accommodation, golf, transfers and three meals a day. Our service doesn’t include flights. Aberdeen International Airport is serviced by regular flights from major European hubs such as London (Heathrow and Gatwick), Amsterdam and Paris (CDG). Glasgow and Edinburgh International Airports daily flights from New York (Newark and JFK), Chicago O’Hare, Boston Logan and Washington Dulles. The transfer time from Glasgow to Aberdeen is 2hrs 45 mins. Transfer time from Edinburgh to Aberdeen is 2hrs 15 mins.
Prices for our Northeast tour start at just £2,995/$3,800 per person, based on a party of eight touring golfers. We’d love to make this tour happen for YOUR team – click here to get in touch