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Scotland is famous as the birthplace of golf and for its golf courses, but some areas are still waiting to be discovered.
Great dunes stretch along Aberdeenshire’s coast – some of them said to tower 100 feet high. In this extraordinary sandscape are some of the world’s most challenging links courses, designed by top names in golf architecture such as Old Tom Morris, James Braid and Dr Martin Hawtree. Here along Scotland’s north east coast the skies are vast, the light clear, the air clean and fresh. The panoramic views and elemental power can take a golfer’s breath away. This is stirring stuff. Historic too: Aberdeenshire has two of the top 10 oldest courses in the world.
Inland are dozens of parkland courses in splendid settings – in city and beyond, among forests and glens, on great estates and rugged heaths, in castle grounds and tree-filled parks, alongside fast-flowing rivers. The UK’s highest golf course is at Braemar in the upper reaches of Royal Deeside, where Aberdeenshire meets the Cairngorms National Park. Nearby there’s a 9-hole course in the grounds of the Queen’s summer retreat at Balmoral – usually reserved for the royals and staff, but now open to fortunate corporate bookers during the months when days are longest.
Indeed, summer days this far north are almost endless: fortunate for golfers, who find they can play to their hearts’ content from early morning through to late evening.