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|Gleneagles - King's
Architect: J. Braid (1919) 18 holes: 6,790yds: par 71.
The quintessential course at Gleneagles that encapsulates all that is bright and bonny about this splendid Scottish golf retreat. The land has some considerable hills and hollows that lead to a few blind shots, which you are sure to have remarked upon by the time you arrive at the fourth Tee; compensation for the climbs are of course the views. These elevated Tees and particularly the Greens, make club selection of paramount importance, avoiding the cavernous bunkers is quite important too. There are quite a few shortish par fours, so Birdie chances are there for the taking. A beautiful course that you are sure to want to play more than once.
|Gleneagles - Queen's Architect: J. Braid (1917) 18 holes: 5,965yds: par 68.
Slightly shorter and certainly trickier course than the King's with plenty of dog-legs and a few hidden Greens to locate, the Queen's course demands a clear strategy from the Tee. The back nine may be a little short for some, with three par threes and some driveable par fours (in the Summer!) but it is certainly no walkover. Any shots you might pick-up can quickly be let slip again, particularly on the back to back par threes 13 (140yds) and 14 (215yds), both beside a wee loch. The Queen's course has some of the finest holes at Gleneagles and is almost links like in places with sunken fairways between fern covered hills. The par-five 7th with the Ochils behind is a magnificent sight, as is the 10th Green tucked in a hollow guarded by hummocks.
|Gleneagles - PGA Centenary (Jack's) Architect: J. Nicklaus (1993) 18 holes: 7,320yds: par 73.
Another fine course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, but blended with some Scottish golf dust so that the overall look and feel is not overwhelmingly American, albeit distinct from the King's and Queen's. Mr. Nicklaus likes to make the required strategy obvious from the Tee box and to encourage judicious driver usage: here is no exception. From the very back Tees it is a monster, however there are four other teeing options if your Handicap doesn't start with a + sign. The PGA Centenary course has been designed with tournament golf in mind, not a bad thing per se; the 2014 Ryder Cup here is sure to be highly entertaining. However you will notice more space between the holes to allow for galleries, engendering some long walks from Green to Tee (there is a full buggy path) and a few new houses dotted around the back nine.
|Auchterarder Architect: B. Sayers (1913) 18 holes: 5,750yds: par 69.
Literally over the fence from Gleneagles and without a shadow of doubt the best value golf in town - particularly if you decide to make it a 36-hole day. Auchterarder has stood the test of time and stands up well to comparison with its illustrious next-door neighbours. The course rises gently from the main road to the Clubhouse atop the hill (auchdar aird tir in Gaelic translates as "summit of rising ground"). Short in length maybe but no shortage of golfing interest. The four long par-threes of the back-nine will keep you focused and the approach to the new tenth Green needs to be judged precisely to avoid the overhanging trees and the deep sleepered bunker. You will be warmly welcomed with some true Scottish hospitality at Auchterarder, and no doubt overhear a few local stories....