Royal Aberdeen Golf Club Balgownie: Course Review, Green Fees, Key Times and Key Info

A high-quality course at an historic club that the links purist will love. It’s rugged and rumpled but carefully thought out.

Royal Aberdeen
A striking view across the 17th green to the boats in the north sea
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Top 100 Courses UK & Ireland 2023/24

(Image credit: Future)

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club Key Information

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Row 0 - Cell 1
AddressLinks Road, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, AB23 8AT
Phone Number01224 702571
Green Fees£95-£215
Visitor TimesMon-Fri 8 - 8.30 and 2 - 3.30, Mon, Weds and Friday 10 - 11.30, Sat and Sun 3.30 - 4.50
Slope Rating144 (Blue), 141 (White), 138 (Yellow), 136 (Red), 123 (Black), 115 (Green)
Opened1780 (club founded) 1888 (move to Balgownie)
Designed byArchie and Robert Simpson, James Braid, Hawtree and Co.
Golf Monthly Verdict

Royal Aberdeen's 9th hole

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

A well presented, beautifully conditioned out-and-back links delivering true, testing, fair seaside golf. The front nine with tees up in the dunes, forging out along the coast delivers as good a stretch of links holes you will find anywhere. The run for home, often played into the wind presents a daunting and suitable finish to a hugely solid test of golf.


– Fabulous setting played out to and alongside the north sea coast and the boats waiting to get into the busy harbour

– Simply brilliant front nine, a great mix of holes

– Playing surfaces that remain in great shape all year round


UK & Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses 2023/24 - 16

Royal Aberdeen has a progressive attitude towards continuous course improvements and that, combined with excellent reports on the superb condition of the course, means it continues to be a feature in the top 20 of the ranking. It's one of the very best courses in Scotland.

Archie and Robert Simpson from Carnoustie designed the first layout at Balgownie, before James Braid advised on alterations to the greens and bunkering in 1925. Hawtree and Company have more recently added their touches.

It’s an excellent out-and-back layout with a selection of highly memorable holes. The first strikes out from directly in front of the old-school, memorabilia-packed, clubhouse, straight towards the North Sea and a flag seemingly perched right on the shoreline.

The layout then turns into the dunes, following the coastline to the turn. There’s an eclectic selection of holes asking for power, precision or both. The 8th is a great par-3, protected by 10 bunkers that seem to completely surround the green.

The course moves slightly inland as the run for home commences. Into the wind, the back nine can be extremely challenging. The stretch of long par-4s from the 13th to the 16th is particularly tough. Each of them requires two fine shots if a player is to reach in regulation.

Over the years Royal Aberdeen has played host to many memorable tournaments. Recently, Tom Watson won the British Senior Open at Balgownie in 2005, GB&I defeated the USA in the Walker Cup over the links in 2011 and Justin Rose triumphed  in the AAM Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen in 2014. Royal Aberdeen hosted the 2018 Amateur Championship, won by Jovan Rebula.

Royal Aberdeen should be near the top of the must-play list for links connoisseurs.

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club Balgownie Course Review

What The Top 100 Panel Said

Jamie Hudson UK&I Top 100 panel
Jamie Hudson

A traditional treasure is in stow when you arrive at the Balgownie course. The out and back links layout offers welcome surprises, striking topography and countless feature holes. The first hole is one of my favourite openers I’ve ever played in terms of a visual appeal. The region is packed with leading links courses, but if I were resident in the area this is the place I’d want to play.

Richard Healy UK&I Top 100 panel
Richard Healy

As a championship course the presentation and overall condition was impressive. Holes are framed by impressive natural features, dunes and large banks with extensive seas of fescue, providing clear definition that is further refined by progressive cuts at the margins. It’s another world playing the initial holes through the dunes, a glorious experience culminating at the par-3 8th - my endearing memory.

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club Location

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club Balgownie Course Green Fees

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10th Apr - 7th May£149
8th May - 15th Oct£215
19th Oct - 7th Apr 2024£95

Contact the club via the website to find out more and to book

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club Balgownie Course Scorecard

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club Balgownie Course scorecard

(Image credit: Royal Aberdeen Golf Club)

Best Courses Near to Royal Aberdeen Golf Club



This is a fabulous and traditional links with elevated tees, gorse and wide views out to sea. The course really enters its stride down by the shoreline from the par-five 4th. From then on, great and engaging golf continues all the way.



A spectacular modern links designed by Martin Hawtree, just 8 miles up the coast from Royal Aberdeen. Carved through the dunes, it's a spectacular layout delivering a unique and memorable golfing experience

Best Places to Stay Near Royal Aberdeen Golf Club

The Marcliffe Hotel and Spa - Book now at
The Marcliffe has been recognised as Aberdeen's premier hotel for a number of years. Set in a leafy suburb, just a short drive from Balgownie, it delivers luxurious accommodation and fine dining. There's also a fitness centre, garden and terrace.

Malmaison Aberdeen - Book now at A sophisticated hotel in central Aberdeen. A lively and stylish place to base yourself. Featuring a brasserie and sneaky whisky snug, there's also a nice wee spa.

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club Balgownie Course Gallery

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club Balgownie Course Historical Top 100 Ranking UK&I

  • 2023/24 - 16
  • 2021/22 - 16
  • 2019/20 – 16
  • 2017/18 - 16
  • 2015/16 - 17
  • 2013/14 - 19
  • 2011/12 - 21
  • 2009/10 - 23

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Golf Clubs are there in Aberdeen?

It's a good question - Let's try and list the clubs in Aberdeen City - Royal Aberdeen, Murcar Links, Nigg Bay, Caledonian, Bon Accord, Northern, Hazlehead, Auchmill, Deeside, Peterculter.

What Big events has Royal Aberdeen hosted?

Royal Aberdeen has been host to numerous significant tournaments over the years. In 2005 the club welcomed the Senior Open championship, won by Tom Watson. The Walker Cup visited in 2011 and GB&I were victorious. Justin Rose won the Scottish Open at Balgownie in 2014 and in 2018 the club hosted the Amateur Championship won by Jovan Rebula.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He 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 history section of "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?