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Scottish Links Golf

a different game

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Aberdeen &
Grampian Highlands
Cruden Bay
Royal Aberdeen


Royal Troon, Turnberry, Prestwick...

Just east of Edinburgh
Scotland's Golf Coast
North Berwick, Muirfield, Gullane...

Northern Highlands
Royal Dornoch, Brora, Nairn...

St. Andrews area

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Murcar Links Golf Club

The spectacular links coast that Murcar Golf Links sits on has seen golfers playing on it since the 16th century. Murcar, Royal Aberdeen and Cruden Bay are only about 20 miles apart on this coast. If you want to experience what it's like to play pure Scottish links golf, here's a good opportunity to play some of the best. Royal Aberdeen, Murcar and Cruden Bay form a triple play as good as any in the world.

Golf Tourism Scotland voted Murcar "Course of the Year - 2007." Scottish Links Collection lists it 's as one of "Scotland's Top 40 Great Courses", and it's always described as one of the top 100 courses in the entire United Kingdom. All in all, Murcar Links is quite a superb and challenging Scottish seaside links layout.

View of Murcar golf course in Aberdeenshire

Murcar Golf Links sits right next to Royal Aberdeen Golf Club. In fact, there's the story of a group of Japanese golfers playing Royal Aberdeen who finished #9 and, rather than making the turn to come back, mistakenly kept going straight onto Murcar's course. They ended up playing 25 holes and finished in Murcar's clubhouse looking for their shoes. Since they spoke no English, it was a while before anyone could figure out what had happened. The incident (whether true or not!) shows how closely alligned these two majestic golf courses are. With no wall or fence between them, these two Scottish seaside links both hug.the North Sea and share the same topography, wind and spectacular views.

Murcar golf course 1st tee
As with so many links layouts, the gentle look off the first tee gives no indication of what's in store.

The general slope of Murcar Golf Links is a gentle one toward the North Sea. This provides some great views from just about anywhere on the golf course. However, for some strange reason, the sandhills don't seem to be as rounded and weathered as they are on their royal neighbor to the south but seem more sharp and steep. These anomalies are incorporated into the golf course in the form of elevated tees, sharply defined fairways and inverted saucer greens that make shooting your handicap quite a challenge. Nowhere is this more evident than on the 402 yard 10th, Hitting a blind tee shot into the prevailing winds from the medal tees your drive will have to carry 248 if you are to reach the crest of a steep hill. Sorry, but that's way out of my range and I have to rely on my short game to par this hole.

Murcar is not a classic out-and-back links with a mind of its own. After zig-zagging for the first three holes, you reach a magnificent run of six holes that skirt the sea. They are beautiful and they are made even more beautiful because the prevailing wind will be behind you. You'll need it on the 489 yard 4th, a par 5. The 5th is a 162 yard par 3 that offers an uphill shot to a plateaud green. The 7th, called Serpentine. (Never trust a hole named Serpentine or a horse names Diablo!) It's named after the serpentine stream running diagonally across the fairway 180 yards from the tee. You must clear it if you are to have a good chance of a par. You can play short but then you face a 175 yard shot to a bunkered green that falls off in the back. A well-designed hole and typical of the interesting and challenging holes on this superb golf course. Ten thru twelve zig-zag a bit but then the holes turn homeward and run pretty much southerly all the way to the clubhouse.

Murcar golf course bunker
Sand dunes, gorse, and heather abound--just as they do on their nearest neighbor, Royal Aberdeen. And the rough is just as punishing.

Murcar is a relatively short layout--just 6,325 off the back tees but, with a par of 71, it has a respectable AFSD of 181 yards. Club selection is critical in playing this course. You'll have to factor in uphill and downhill targets, wind speed, how much the ball will run after it lands, and much more.

Murcar golf course 18th green
Home at last. The 18th is only 329 yards but nine bunkers await you on this last hole, including four fairway bunkers to commandeer any slices and hooks.

Golf Nook Scotland rating -- BIRDIE

For What to Do All Day, please refer to the Aberdeen & Grampian Highlands page.