Blairgowrie Golf Club (Lansdowne)
The Rosemount and Lansdowne play over the same fantastic heathland terrain and bring a touch of the Surrey sandbelt to the Perthshire countryside. Neither quite matches the very high benchmark of their southern counterparts but there is still much to enjoy on this idyllic 45-hole, 300-acre property adorned with spectacular pine, birch and heather.
This highly regarded golf club was founded in 1889 and also boasts a 9-hole ‘Wee’ course which was part of the original layout. Alister MacKenzie was the original architect of the current Rosemount before James Braid made significant revisions 1930 whilst Peter Alliss and Dave Thomas designed the Lansdowne which opened for play in 1979.
The more modern Lansdowne is billed as the ‘championship’ course at Blairgowrie and at over 7000-yards, with narrow fairways flanked by trees, it is certainly a stern test of golf. Straight and long hitting is a prerequisite should one wish to score well here.
The opening hole, a par-five of just 490 yards, represents your best chance to pick up a shot on the scorecard and it is a fine opening hole.
The first few holes continue to meander through mature woodland before the courses opens up slightly for a run of holes on more parkland terrain.
One of my favourite holes on the Lansdowne was the 13th. It is one of the shorter par-fours on the course and one of the few that has some curvature to it as it bends to the left before you play to a long, narrow green. It was a departure from the long and straight we had experienced up until then. It is quickly followed by a stout par-three at over 200-yards with a rise to the green and this is another fine hole.
The closing stretch is not as invigorating as the Rosemount but is very good nonetheless. The 15th – “Perfection” – is a brute of a par-four and whilst the next is not as long the shallow, angled green is not easy to find before the 17th – “Devil’s Elbow” – plays every inch of its 553-yards as it legs to the left.
The closing hole is perhaps the most memorable and is more similar to holes on the Rosemount; slightly wider from the tee, a bit more movement in the land and a larger, undulating green. A fine finisher!
In summary the Rosemount is more generous from the tee with large, sweeping putting surfaces whilst the Lansdowne is longer, tighter and has smaller greens! If you're only here for one round choose wisely!... but in truth you should really sample both.
Both courses tend to rank very highly in all of the magazine and website rankings. Indeed both Golf World and Golf Monthly place the Rosemount well inside their top 100 GB&I and UK lists respectively. Whilst I did not see the courses at their best – thanks to Autumn gales and September showers - I must be brutally honest and say I don’t quite see that myself. However, there’s no denying there is plenty of solid and at times spectacular golf on the Blairgowrie Estate and when discussing the best of golf in Scotland they should rightly be discussed.
Read the review of Blairgowrie (Rosemount) here.