21 Royal Aberdeen Balgownie

Architect: A Simpson, T Simpson, Braid
Stats: 6,900 yds, par 71, SSS 73
GF: £50-£120
Visitor information: Any day, after 15.30 weekends – and from any tees
W: royalaberdeengolf.com
2008 Ranking: 23 (Up 2)
Improvements since 2008 Rankings:
Course: None advised
Clubhouse: None advised

Set on rugged links land to the north of Aberdeen, the course is carved through impressive dunes, with a memorable front nine that forges out along the coastline and delivers a superbly eclectic mix of holes. Upon reaching the turn, the layout moves slightly inland and the back-nine holes are played on more of a plateau.

Panellists’ comments: “The starting holes are visually fantastic – perhaps the UK’s best links front nine”; “Immaculate condition”

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