Jeremy Ellwood heads north to Aberdeen to take in the delights of Meldrum House Golf Club and its magnificent baronial country house hotel
Meldrum House Golf Club Stay and Play Review
On course Par 70, 6,367 yards This superb country house hotel lies just 20 miles north-west of Aberdeen, and only about 20 minutes from the airport. The golf course at Meldrum House has to be one of the best and most interesting parkland designs in Scottish golf, old or new, for there is so much interest and challenge within its holes.
The 1st hole sets up beautifully with water short of the green to factor in to your tee shot and approach. The 2nd hole serves up a bit of a reprise with a less generous fairway and a slightly more threatening pond on the right.
The tough par-4 4th and 7th holes will test your mettle, though in between the par-5 5th is a real chance to open the shoulders and perhaps get home in two with its downhill approach. The 8th is then a quite delightful hole playing over and then alongside water to a rollercoaster green protected by three towering pines.
On the back nine, look out for the 11th, where the final approach is protected by no fewer than 15 bunkers, with a superb and varied final trio then providing a memorable finish.
The par-5 16th plays quite steeply downhill and a decent drive may leave you in two minds as to whether or not to take on the stream just short of the green. The 17th is then a very clever little par 4 playing round to the right, and the final hole is a medium-length par 3 where the front left corner of the green is mischievously protected by a big tree.
Off course The hotel is a very special experience indeed. You drive down past the golf course through avenues of rhododendrons, with the sense of anticipation rising as you make your final approach to the magnificent, 13th-century, quintessentially Scottish baronial castle.
You’ll enter through the mansion doors, but your room may well be in the extension wing opened in 2016, where many of the rooms enjoy glorious views out over the golf course – mine gazed out over the 4th and 7th holes and, aided by a little bit of elevation, they looked an absolute picture as the sun gradually set.
You can dine in the Pineapple Restaurant, or choose the cosy, snug 1236 At The Cave Bar as I did, thoroughly enjoying its wonderful ambience and extremely tasty menu. This 800-year-old room is also home to whiskies galore should you wish to tarry awhile and reflect on a splendid day’s golf.
Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and instruction. He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, a highly regarded trade publication for golf club secretaries and managers, and has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played well over 950 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, right across the spectrum from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.
Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf
Jeremy is currently playing...
Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft
3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft
Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft
Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)
Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response
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