Golf in Perthshire

| April 17, 2013

Perthshire will be the focus of the golfing world on 26 September 2014 when the Ryder Cup descends on Gleneagles in a blaze of publicity, a stellar cast of golf’s superstars and some seriously compelling golfing action. Now is your chance to get in before the rest of the world finds out all about Gleneagles’ charms, but also the 38 other superb courses in this green land of rolling hills, tumbling rivers and epic mountains.

 

PGA Centenary Course Image Credit: Gleneagles

PGA Centenary Course
Image Credit: Gleneagles

Golf in Perthshire has a Rich Heritage

James IV of Scotland, who once ironically tried to ban the game after complaining it was putting his men off archery practice, made the first ever recorded purchase of golfing equipment in Perth in 1502 when, for the princely sum of 9 shillings, he bought ‘golf clubbes and balles‘. It took some time for its popularity to spread, and almost a hundred years later, in 1599 four local men were tried and confessed ‘to playing at the golf on the North Inch in the time of preaching afternoon on the Sabbath’. During the 17th century, though, golf became socially acceptable and the city’s Inch parks allowed golf alongside, of course, archery.

Gleneagles Ryder Cup 2014

It was quite a coup when Gleneagles won the right to stage the Ryder Cup in 2014, the first time for over forty years that golf’s premier team event, and these days one of the world’s most keenly anticipated sporting extravaganzas, has been staged in Scotland. Preparations continue apace with Jack Nicklaus helping ensure that the PGA Centenary Course is the ideal setting for the world’s top golfers. Nicklaus himself has been impressed by the local landscape describing it as ‘the finest parcel of land in the world I have ever been given to work with’. Before the Ryder Cup the PGA Centenary will also host the Johnnie Walker Championship from 23-26 August 2013.

Gleneagles Offers Two More Championship Courses

A round at the PGA Centenary will be one of the most sought after in golf post-Ryder Cup, but Gleneagles offers two more superb championship courses. The King’s Course is quite simply one of the finest moorland courses in the world. The King’s Course and neighbouring Queen’s Course were both designed by the legendary Fife-born player and course designer James Braid. They are easily amongst his finest courses. His brief was apparently to design an ‘easier’ course at the Queen’s and while it may certainly be shorter you still need great iron control to get on to the tight greens.

Golf at Murrayshall. Image Credit: Murrayshall House Hotel & Golf Courses

Golf at Murrayshall.
Image Credit: Murrayshall House Hotel & Golf Courses

Pushing beyond Gleneagles Perthshire has Plenty Else to Offer

Nearby Crieff Ferntower was also designed by Braid. Kinross meanwhile boasts a brace of fine courses. The Montgomery and The Bruce both overlook Loch Leven, with the Montgomery providing the toughest challenge. The Murrayshall development sprawls over 350 acres with a pair of superb 18-hole courses, the Murrayshall and Lynedoch, alongside restaurants and rooms. Pitlochry meanwhile has stood on the grounds of ancient Pictish forts since 1909, with sweeping views down the Tummel Valley in the shadow of the Ben Vrackie.

The Perthshire Capital Has Golfing Charms of its Own

As well as historic 18-hole North Inch, Perth boasts the only self-contained river island course in Britain, which is only reachable on a walkway on the railway bridge that spans the River Tay. That it was designed by ‘Old’ Tom Morris just gives you even more reason to go and play this unique gem. Scotland’s newest city is also home to one of the toughest holes in the country, the Spion Kop, an uphill par four at the 18-hole Craigie Hill.

Nearby Blairgowrie Golf Club also offers two courses. The Landsdowne is the newer of the pair, designed by Peter Alliss and Dave Thomas in the 1970s. It is the Rosemount that is the most famous, though, laid out by the man behind Augusta National, seminal designer Alister MacKenzie and then enhanced by James Braid. Golf is nothing if not flexible in Perthshire and Blairgowrie also offers the nine-hole Wee Course. A new development this year has seen Perth and Kinross Council help fund a partnership between Blairgowrie Golf Club and Ballathie Country House Hotel on the banks of the River Tay that offers off the peg golf break packages.

The Queen's Course, Gleneagles Image Creidt: Gleneagles

The Queen’s Course, Gleneagles
Image Creidt: Gleneagles

The Alyth Area is a Hotbed of Golf in Perthshire

The hand of Braid is again evident at the Alyth Golf Club, where ‘Old’ Tom Morris’ original nine holes were augmented by Braid. This heathland 6,259yds course is worth playing for its heritage alone, but it is also a joy with its fairways flanked by trees and set amidst rolling terrain. Alyth is also home to the Glenisla, an undulating parkland effort. Strathmore Rannaleroch Golf Club meanwhile is home to two courses, the 18-hole Rannaleroch and the less challenging nine-hole Leitfie Links with its seven par 3s ideal for beginners.

Perthshire is Excellent for Beginner Golfers

The region overflows with nine-hole courses that are very much at the heart of their respective village communities. These include St Filans, which reclines just back from Loch Earn just across the River Earn, Comrie, a scenic course whose club was founded in 1891, Killin, another scenic treasure at the western end of mighty Loch Tay with one of the most dramatic closing holes in Scotland and Muthill, a hilly parkland gem near Gleneagles with manicured greens, narrow fairways and sweeping views of Strathearn and the Grampians.

Perthshire Golf Passes

The King's Course, Gleneagles Image Credit: Gleneagles

The King’s Course, Gleneagles
Image Credit: Gleneagles

With so much choice handily there a brace of golfing passes on offer to save golfers money. The Perthshire Green Card allows major discounts at 17 of Perthshire’s 18-hole courses, with the option of three rounds for £65 or five rounds for £99. The other pass is the Perthshire Highlands Golf Ticket. This focuses on the region’s nine-hole courses with the option of a three day ticket for £40 or a five day pass at £65 at the dozen participating courses. Both passes can be booked through the Perthshire Adventure Line (Tel. 01887-829010).

Both passes also offer discounted admission to Perth Racecourse and various whisky distilleries in Perthshire. A wee local Perthshire dram is the ideal way to finish off a golf break in a region that will soon be a global star thanks to the 2014 Ryder Cup, but which offers so much more besides for golfers of all abilities.

www.perthshire.co.uk/golf

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