When Donald Matheson, general manager of the Caledonian Railway Company, decided to build a luxurious hotel and golf resort in 1910 his idea was to provide a Highland haven for Britain?s urban elite. Nestling deep in the beautiful Perthshire countryside, Gleneagles was deemed the perfect spot: remote yet accessible by rail.
The hotel wouldn?t officially open until 1924 but golf was played much more quickly. Prolific course architect James Braid was commissioned to design two golf courses: the King?s and the Queen?s. The former, widely considered to be Braid?s masterpiece, opened for play in 1919. Surrounded by purple hills and pine forest, there are few golfing venues to rival its splendour.
In 1921 a group of touring American pros took on their British counterparts around the newly-opened Perthshire track. The result was a win for the home side and, more importantly, a precedent had been set that led to the inception of the Ryder Cup six years later.
The King?s has been the venue for the Scottish Open on eight occasions, the most exciting and dramatic in 1992. The title seemed destined for local favourite Colin Montgomerie but an affable Australian called Peter O?Malley had other ideas. He played the closing five holes of the King?s in an astonishing seven under par to snatch victory by two strokes.
This classic track carves through the trees over moorland turf, each tee providing a fresh vista and different distraction. Fans of the pro game will be familiar with the majority of holes, especially the uphill 1st, the drivable 14th, the curling 17th with thick rough on the left and the superb 18th where a good drive offers a chance of reaching the huge green in two. That giant surface will always be remembered as the site of the longest televised putt ever holed. The man responsible? TV chat show host Terry Wogan!

Address: The Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder, Perthshire, PH3 1NF
T: 0800 389 3737
W: gleneagles.com
STATs: par 70, SSS 73, 6,471 yards
GF: from £70 per round through winter 2006/2007
Designer:
Opened:
GM TOP 120 RANKING: 10