The Club was established in 1841 but it wasn’t until 1892 that it moved to its present location and then it was only nine holes that graced this ideal golfing terrain, routed by twice Open Champion Willie Park Jnr of Sunningdale notoriety.
It was eventually extended to 18 holes in 1908 and today plays to a par of 70 with a yardage of 6,147 yards.
We got a very poor day weather-wise for our visit to Peterhead with persistent rain for the majority of the round, however, the brilliance of the course still shone through.
After a fine opening tee-shot, played heroically across the River Ugie, the course has a little bit of a wobble. There is nothing wrong with the first few holes but on reflection they lack the sparkle and scale of what follows.
The start of the really good stuff commences with a superb, and well defended, uphill par three at the sixth but it is not until you reach the seventh tee that the true splendour of the course at Peterhead presents itself.
You have now gone from flat, almost meadow-like ground conditions to rolling duneland; exposed plateau greens, dune-lined valley fairways and traditional links bunkering is now evident. The transformation is as staggering as it is pleasing. From here on in this is links golf of a very high calibre.
Holes seven through to ten comprise arguably the strongest section of the course although I particularly enjoyed the closing quartet as well. The 17th in particular, a short par four that bends mysteriously around a large dune tight to the North Sea and is played to a partially hidden green in a hollow, is exceptional. The previous hole is a wonderful one-shotter with an amazing putting surface and the last, although less linksy, as you return to the flatter ground near the clubhouse is an impressive climax to the round.
Before then holes seven, eight and nine are played through a valley of dunes and comprise two par fours, played in opposite directions, and a sterling par five in-between. At the far end of the links you play a superb knob-to-knob par-three, at right-angles to the majority of the holes, which is likely to result in a cross-wind. One of the players in the group ahead of us aced the 136-yarder and my playing partner had a tap-in birdie, but this is far from an easy hole.
A second 18-hole course was established at Peterhead in 1923, however, today it exists as a 9-hole loop called the ‘New’ course. This can be seen from the early holes and circles the practice ground.
It’s slight shame that Peterhead gets off to a relatively slow start because if the first five holes were of the same high standard as that of the majority of the course this would be an essential venue to visit when putting a short Aberdeenshire itinerary together. For those willing to take a gamble on a slightly lesser-known links, and accepting of its weaknesses, you will come away rewarded with a classic links experience. Peterhead is more than worth the visit and one I’m very pleased I made.
Copt Heath is a very fine parkland golf course that requires precision, plotting and a deft touch around the slick greens.
The Blue is a mix of American-style design and traditional English parkland. It's an unusual combination which makes the most of the terrain available. It was designed by Simon Gidman and opened in 1994.