No 23 - Royal Aberdeen - Balgownie

The front nine at Royal Aberdeen's Balgownie are first class and make this historical links a must play

Royal Aberdeen

23 ROYAL ABERDEEN – Balgownie

Architect: A Simpson, R Simpson 2006 position: 27 Stats: 6,530 yds; par 71; SSS 73 GF: £50-£150 T: 01224 702571 W: royalaberdeengolf.com (opens in new tab)

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so eager to get out onto a course as I did sitting in the character-filled clubhouse here.

The prospect is awesome as you look out across the opening tee and down the 1st fairway towards a distant green perched temptingly on the edge of the links with the North Sea behind.

Winding through impressive sand hills, the front nine provides one of the finest stretches of links holes anywhere.

The secret to its success is variety – from long holes, where your ball-striking is tested to its limits, to the shorter par 4s and 3s, where strategy really comes to the fore. FB

+ Filled with character and history; front nine is absolutely first class - Back nine is good, but can only be an anti-climax after the outward half

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Where next?

>>> Top 100 Golf Courses: No. 24 (opens in new tab) Back to the Top 100 Golf Courses list - An introduction to Golf Monthly's Top 100 Golf Courses by editor, Mike Harris - Who makes up The Top 100 Golf Courses panel? - How do Golf Monthly assess the Top 100 Golf courses?

- Gallery: Golf Monthly's Top 10 Golf Courses in pictures

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Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?