Yet another premier golf event is heading to Scotland’s north-east with the news that the European Tour are hosting their inaugural Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play event at Murcar Golf links. The format will have 64 of the top European Tour players competing for a share of the €1 million prize fund scheduled for the last week of July next year. With that said, what can we expect from the course?
A Good Match Play Venue
For a number of years a steady number of visiting golfers have been coming to Murcar and 2014 was no different. This classic links offers players the opportunity to test themselves set amongst imposing dunes with scattered and imposing pot bunkers throughout. That being said this year the course received some criticism on how it setup for visitor play. Visiting golfers to the Aberdeen area believed the course to be too tight noting the very thick and penal rough from the tee. The likelihood is as with a lot of European Tour events the course will play much more open. In late July the course will play hard and fast as a true Scottish links should do which is sure to add to the thrilling match play format.
In the Right Spot
The course itself is on the same stretch of stunning dune coastline as its immediate neighbour Royal Aberdeen to the south and Trump International Scotland and Cruden Bay to the north. The golf offering is genuinely world class. Not including the course at Murcar the three courses mentioned make it into most of the credible Top 100 Golf Course rankings. Three courses on a sand dune belt stretching 15 miles all within a 40 minute drive. On the edge of the city of Aberdeen but within the city boundary the venue makes getting about very easy. Aberdeen International Airport is within a short drive and offers multiple flights daily to London along with international routes across Europe including Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.
#5 Murcar Links Signature Hole
The course layout has very strong holes throughout without one stand out hole instantly springing to mind. Signature holes are naturally subjective however holes along the coast remind me of many at neighbouring Royal Aberdeen while the finish is also strong. If I were to pick one hole however it would be the par 3 fifth. Playing uphill to a small target the mid iron shot plays to a city backdrop but the deep bunkers quickly draw your attention back to the seaside links setting.
A recent visit to Murcar for a meeting with the secretary outlined that the club is backed by a very healthy membership coupled with a refreshing outlook to visitor play. From the arrival you are met in a beautiful, recently refurbished clubhouse with a clean, modern interior complemented by friendly and engaging staff. Visitors have the option with a few exceptions to play throughout the week with weekend visitor play available after 3pm. Not factored Murcar into your active itinerary? Not to worry. Of all Aberdeen courses mentioned Murcar lends itself most to ‘walk in’ visitor play but advanced bookings are encouraged and recommended. The 2015 rates are £100 for a weekday round and £125 for weekends.
For information on activates off the course Visit Aberdeen has plenty information on castles, whisky distilleries and much more besides.