Forgotten Greens of Scotland
Forgotten Greens of Scotland

Invercauld Castle

Aberdeenshires Private Courses

The private courses in Aberdeenshire are as follows:


Aboyne Castle


Cromar House


Deeside Hydropathic


Drum Castle


Glen Tanar House


Invercauld House


Mar Lodge


Millden Lodge


Strichen House


Tullich Lodge




There is also one course which i have been unable to idenntify, despite multiple searches over the years. 


Aboyne Castle. A 9-hole course in the grounds owned by the Earl of Aboyne, laid out by Old Tom Morris in 1903. (G 19.3.1903)

Dundee Courier October 5th, 1903


Cromar House, Tarland. “On Saturday Tom Morris left St Andrews to lay out a new golf course for the Earl of Aberdeen. The new course is to be on the Earl’s estate of Tarland, near Aboyne, Aberdeenshire." In 1908 Lord Aberdeen allowed the villagers to use the course, who then formed Tarland Golf Club.


Peoples Journal April 25th, 1908


Lord Aberdeen has generously granted the use of his private golf course at Cromar to the inhabitants of Tarland. For the purposes of forming a Golf Club a meeting was held in the Cromar Hall on Friday last – Rev J Dickie presiding. It was agreed to form a Golf Club, and the following office-bearers were appointed: Patron, Lord Aberdeen; President Rev J Dickie; Vice President Mr J Forbes; Captain, Rev A B Hutchison; Secretary and Treasurer, Mr A McBeath, Aberdeen Arms Hotel. All present joined the club. The annual subscription is 2s6d. The Secretary was instructed to write thanking Lord Aberdeen for his kindness.” 

Aberdeen Daily Journal August 11th, 1913


Deeside Hydropathic, Murtly. Opened 1913. “A finely situated nine-holes pitching and putting course was opened within the grounds of Deeside Hydropathic at Murtle on Saturday. The course was formally declared open by Baillie Taggart, Aberdeen, and afterwards a four-ball exhibition match was played between Dr Chalmers and George Smith, the Bieldside professional, and Mr David Dewar and Alick Marling, Balgownie, Scottish Professional Champion. Dr Chalmers and Smith won by one hole, and the play of the quartet was much admired by a large gallery of spectators.

      The course, which has been laid out by Alick Marling, is situated on the east side of the hydropathic, and is divided into two portions – one on either side of the main approach. As is to be expected of a new course, the greens are rough at present, but with time they should develop into perfect condition. The little course is a sporting one in every sense. Bunkers have been very judiciously created, and, if there be a fault, it is that in the case of several holes the fairway is too near the boundaries, and exacts rather much from the player. This was borne out in the exhibition game on Saturday, when the players were prone to drive out of bounds. At the same time, the course has been well conceived, and, lying as it does amid beautiful surroundings, it should be a boon to visitors to the hydropathic. The total length of the course is 615 yards, and the distance of the various holes and bogey scores are as follows:

Name  1. Hamilton, 2.Platoon, 3. Holloway, 4.Bon-Accord, 5. Straits, 6.National, 7. Old Fold,      

             8, Colonel, 9. Spoon

  Hole       1             2             3             4             5             6             7             8             9

Yards     72            55          89           90          70          56           83          44            63

Bogey      4               3             4            4            4              3             4              3             4        

Total  613 Yards        Par 33                                                                                                           

This short course provided suitable exercise for the visitors, but those wishing a fuller game could use the Deeside Golf Club, barely a mile away.

Drum Castle, Banchory. . The Drum Golf Club – 1932 – 1940. This was a private course laid out on the lawns surrounding Drum Castle, an ancient medieval Tower house, owned by the Irvine family since the days of King Robert the Bruce in the first half of the 14th century. It is situated some 13 miles South West of the city of Aberdeen, and about 6 miles east of the village of Banchory. It was designed and constructed by four brothers of the Irvine family, Alexander (Sandy) the young Laird of Drum, Charles, James and Robert. It was a light hearted social club, used for entertaining their friends. One of the prime rules of the club was that the Captaincy be always held by a member outside the family. A list of the Captains still exists on a silver plate attached to one of the club mementos. It is known that matches were held at the Drum course against teams selected by other local landowners who did not have their own courses. There are six silver trophies for various competitions and course records. As it was a five hole bogey 3 course, (now we say par 3), there were records for 5 holes and for 10 holes.

A full colour map of the course exists from which the layout around the castle can be seen.

Hole 1.              Seven Sisters      103 yards          

Hole 2               The Queen          165 yards

Hole 3               Paradise             85 yards

Hole 4               The Road hole     125 yards

Hole 5               Flip                  60 yards. – named after Sandy’s Cocker spaniel!

The second hole was full of risk from the tee. On the player’s left was the western elevation of the house, with about 30 windows of varying size. Their mother, (the writer’s grandmother) had the local glazier measure each pane of glass, then make a chart with each pane faithfully numbered, so that in the event of a breakage, all that was required was a telephone call and the number from the chart!

The property and land, which was once the golf course, has been owned and cared for by the National Trust for Scotland since 1976. After the war, the new Laird, Quentin who was not interested in golf, had the course features returned to garden and lawn. Basically, the Drum Golf Club ceased to exist after September 1940. Many of the younger members lost their lives during the conflict. (November 2014)


David Irvine of Drum – 26th Laird of Drum - wrote the above and kindly consented to its inclusion.

Glen Tanar House, nr Aboyne. A 9-hole course in the grounds.

Invercauld House. A 9-hole course

Photographs of Invercauld and Mar Lodge courses by the kind permission of the estate of the late Mr Charles Mc Hardy, Braemar

Invercauld House


Scotsman July 25th, 1910


Appointment for St Andrews Professional


James Tabor, a St Andrews professional, who has had considerable experience both at home and on the continent, has been appointed professional for Invercauld course, Ballater.

Mar Lodge.  An 18-hole course alongside the River Dee on the Mar Estate, for the personal use of the Duke of Fife.


         Golf Illustrated November 23rd 1900


The Duke and Duchess of Fife, who took up golf at the beginning of this year, and received some lessons at the Kemptown club, Brighton, from George Harris, the club’s professional, have become enthusiastic golfers.

At Mar Lodge, Braemar, the Duke has had a fine sporting nine-hole course laid out by Archie Simpson, of Aberdeen, which he means to extend to eighteen holes, for which excellent ground is available. The present course stretches along the banks of the Dee towards Inverey, and one of the holes crosses the river, which at this point engulfs not a few golf balls.

Since August 1st the Duke and Duchess have had the services of Andrew Annand, one of the old Aberdeen professionals, as a coach, and Annand, who is a fine player with a classical style, speaks enthusiastically of the promise of his distinguished pupils. He says that the Duke has a capital swing and makes rapid progress, while the Duchess is very keen and hits very hard. Annand, on the termination of his engagement, received a silver watch and chain as a gift from her Royal Highness, while her children made him presents of dolls for his children. He speaks very warmly of the great kindness he experienced at Mar Lodge.

Millden Lodge, Edzell. A 9-hole course in the grounds, in existence in 1906. The estate was owned by the Duke of Roxburgh, who had courses laid out on his estates at Floors Castle, and at Drumlanrig Castle.

Fraserburgh Herald August 8th, 1896


Strichen House.  “The Strichen Trustees have formed a 6-hole golf course in the large park in front of Strichen House for the benefit of Mr Mitchell, the lessee of the shootings, and his guests. Mr Mitchell is a great enthusiast of the royal and ancient game. Mr McLean, head keeper, superintended ta making of the course.”

( See the other Strichen courses in Aberdeenshire in the main index )

Tullich Lodge, Ballater

Whitehillock, Lonmay


This was a four hole course laid out by Mr Andrew Tait, who died in 2015. The course was laid out approx 20 years ago. Information on this course was kindly supplied by Mr Jim Turner, of Fraserburgh.



“MANSION HOUSE, with Excellent Garden and Policies, and Private Golf Course, about four miles from Aberdeen, can be let for Season (partly furnished) or for term of years. Entry when desired. Apply to Peterkin and Duncles. Advocates. 21 Golden Square, Aberdeen .”

 (APJ 22.2.1911 - Advertisement)

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