Murcar has now reverted back to its original name "Murcar Links Golf Club" and has undergone alterations by Graeme J Webster and Team Niblick Ltd. In Spring 2006, the first phase of improvments stretched the layout to approx 6,500 yards.
In 2005 Murcar hosted the BP Scottish Boys Matchplay Championships – Scott Henry successfully defended his title. Additionally the club hosted pre-qualifying for the 2005 Senior British Open and a European Challenge Tour event was held here in July 2006.
Murcar Links Golf Club was founded in 1909. Archie Simpson, the professional from Royal Aberdeen, designed the course.Simpson didn’t have too far to travel because Royal Aberdeen golf club is literally next door, and, apparently, he popped over to Murcar in his lunch break to get to grips with the design.As with so many courses of this era, Murcar was later revised by James Braid.
Located on a classic stretch of links land with huge sand dunes, crumpled fairways, whins, burns and heather. There are some magnificent views from the elevated tees across the North Sea and to Aberdeen City in the south. It’s a beautifully rugged course with lots of natural of appeal.
Murcar is not a championship monster, but it’s a seriously challenging course which belies its meagre yardage. From the back tees, the course measures 6,516 yards with par of 71. But the par fives disappear from the card when the regular tee boxes are used and par drops to a lowly 69. Murcar asks some serious questions. The hummocking fairways are sometimes cruelly tight and the ball has a habit of bouncing off the knolls and into vicious rough. Add this to the odd blind shot and you can find yourself leaving quite a few balls behind for the members.
Having said this, the experience is stunning and the elevated tees provide that wonderful on-top-of-the-world feeling. The greens are most exquisitely sited on raised tables and amongst the dunes. There is little need for bunker protection around the greens, but to make life even more difficult there are pot bunkers sited there too.
There are many strong and memorable holes, especially those in the dunes. The 7th is considered to be the signature hole, called “Serpentine”. From the high tee we can soak up the panoramic view of the North Sea, and then we realise why this hole is called “Serpentine”. This par four requires a drive over a looping, snaking burn, avoiding the ravine on the right and the vicious rough on the left. Somewhere out there, there’s a narrow fairway wedged between towering dunes.Now, let’s think about this one for a moment and take a deep breath. Perhaps it’s now time to find that old dog-eared ball that’s hiding at the bottom of the golf bag.
When the wind blows, Murcar Links can be an absolute brute. Whatever the weather, this is a must-play golf course. It’s tremendous entertainment all the way round.
Ross Weir commented on our article: “The 16th could also be considered a signature hole. It is a beautiful par three requiring an accurate iron shot with a burn and ravine below the first 80% of the flight path to the pin. The 15th tee gives a 360 degree view which includes the whole of Aberdeen and north to the Peterhead area.”
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Average Reviewers Score:
Warning! Do not play in the wind if (a) you are not used to links golf, (b) you hit it far, but you cannot control the ball flight or (c) if you have a higher handicap or generally hit it short. That the course it "not wholly suited to beginners" is an understatement, if there ever was one.
However....if none of this applies to you, you are in for a visual and golfing treat. The course requires very precise ball placement if not brute strength and rewards you not only with fantastic views but with a sense of achievement once you have completed your round.
Murcar, for me, was overall more enjoyable than Royal Aberdeen. Sure, the front nine of RA is quite beautiful, and is in immaculate condition, but the back nine, although tough as hell, did not present the same golfing buzz. Murcar on the other hand, held my interest from start to finish. I recommend this course for it's value too.
Good test of golf by anyone’s standard. Doesn’t not have the polished feel like Royal Aberdeen next door but I don’t think they go after that either. This is the working mans playing club. Serious golfers play here, check out how many + figured golfers they have. Similar to RA in places but does have more blind shots and elevations. Holes 3, 7 & 15 are favourites of mine but in reality you can ill afford to relax for second. Many holes requiring well-driven tee shots and crisp approach play. Was the only day we experienced rain in 4 days golfing but it did not take away from what is a wonderful golf course. Rustic links at it’s best.
It is unavoidable to compare Royal Aberdeen and Murcar since they share the same linksland and are contiguous. RA is definitely more conditioned and has a sensational front nine but seems to tail off in the back nine. Murcar is relentless, especially in a strong wind, and i feel has a greater number of memorable holes despite less spectacular opening and closing holes. We loved its wild nature and friendliness. Play as a pair! These vids show what it was like on a day when we were the only people to play the course. Can't wait to go back. dan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L46UFOv7G4&NR=1 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svuxR19tUx8.
Having recently played both courses i have to disagree that Royal Aberdeen's back nine tails off. There has been a lot of work done on it over the past few years and is certainly no push over or weak. The condition of RA is outstanding at the moment way ahead of murcar. Murcar is a very good golf course with some fantastic holes through the dune land but there are to many weak holes 1,2,11,17,18 that lat it down for me. Two great courses back to back but RA is streets ahead overall.
12 July 2010
Royal Aberdeen's front nine are atonishingly spectacular on the eye, but I actually think the back nine is harder in many ways.
15 July 2010
I was saying that the back nine on Royal Aberdeen aren't as exhilarating as the amazing Front 9, whereas I feel Murcar keeps the adrenaline pumping. RA is clearly better conditioned, no question, and the back 9 is definitely hard enough, including the 18th which must be almost impossible into a strong wind.
Dont be fooled by the relatively gentle start to Murcar Links. This course presents a serious challenge, and although not long by todays standards it is frequently chaperoned by a stiff breeze which can make the yardage figures a nonsense.
There are lots of memorable holes on the course, particularly through the dunes from the 3rd to the 10th, and also the stretch 13 – 16 where there are some interesting changes in elevation and good views to be had.
It can be easy to run up some high numbers if you stray off line as the course is tight in places, and the penalties are tough but not unfair by links golf standards.
When i played the course it was in fantastic condition, having hosted the Scottish Amateur Championship a couple of weeks previously, and the greens were fast and true.
There are good practise facilities at the club for anyone that wants to blow off a few cobwebs before venturing out, and the staff in the pro shop and bar couldn’t have been more helpful.
All in all, well worth a visit if you are passing.
A shame that the last reviewer Mr McCann chose to pass judgement on Murcar Links and award such a poor score based on the fact that there was a temporary fault with the greens.
I have played Murcar Links twice since this summer and saw absolutely no signs of any damage to the greens. Clearly, it has recovered. The course was in absolutely fantastic condition and tested my partners and I to the limit. Particularly on the second occasion when the wind was up.
All I can say is that this course will offer a challenge and will expose any swing faults, so take plenty balls if your swing is off the boil. A friendly club and fantastic practice facilities. Well done Murcar Links!
Like returning to a long lost love, it’s not always as good the second time around – and so it was with my second visit to Murcar, almost four years after first playing it.
Certain aspects were better – the clubhouse itself has undergone a modern makeover, the practice facilities have been improved and many winter projects like bunker and grass path repairs have been undertaken – however, the greens were absolutely terrible – no other word for it. The pro in the shop told me they had suffered due to a combination of bad weather following preparations last summer for a PGA event but the member I spoke to at the bar after my round was far from convinced that a good price had been paid for raising the club’s profile amongst professionals at the expense of ordinary members nine months down the line… Its such a pity as Murcar is a fine course – the stretch from the 3rd to the 9th is excellent and the 7th “Serpentine” is one of the best holes in the country. I’d forgotten there were only three par 3’s on the card and two of them are very good short holes at the 5th and the 16th. Unfortunately, the other par three at the 12th is weak and it follows another poor hole at the 11th which together let down the course immeasurably. If only some way could be found to beef up these two holes, Murcar’s reputation would soar. Jim McCann
I don’t have much golf experience in Scotland, being an American who visited only for a few days. But I have to say that playing Murcar was as near to nirvana as I have been on a golf course, in spite of the blustery weather of the March day. As other reviewers point out, the course is not long, but it is quite demanding in other ways and you must be accurate or you will pay a price. I was surprised at the excellent condition of the greens at a time of the year when there was still snow in some places, and other area courses were playing winter greens. Yet the biggest difference from private clubs I have been to in the U.S. is the friendliness of the entire staff, and other golfers. I’m not sure I would have found my way around if I hadn’t joined up with a kind member who took me under his wing, offering me good advice and some background on the history of the course. This was my first taste of seaside links golf and I fell in love with it. The scenery was fabulous. I hope be able to come back to Scotland to play more someday, and if I do I will definitely revisit Murcar.
This is a very very good and enjoyable golf course but probably not quite a classic seaside Championship links. Like its neighbour at Royal Aberdeen, the best holes are through the dunes on the front 9. Disappointingly the return holes (particularly the loop around 10-12) don't quite measure up. A warm welcome and a good round is assured and Murcar is a top 25 course but go to Royal Aberdeen or Cruden Bay for the ultimate North East links experience.
Undoubtable the best example of a traditional links golf course in the North East. Arguably better and tougher than its famous neighbour having added extra yardage to the course over the winter. Generally straight forward iron shots are required however finding fairway off the tee is no easy task. A wayward drive will not mearly cost a bogey but regularly double, treble or worse and with fairways that encourage the ball to roll off rather than gather, pin point accuracy is required from the tee. Couple all this with vast areas of pot bunkers and unforgiving gorse, this should be the first on your course to play in Scotland.
Yet another of the very good Scottish links! Some relly excellent holes, starting with the 3rd and 4th and only let down by the short inland loop in the middle of the course. A course you should play and will definitely enjoy.
Played this course at the end of a week long tour of links courses in N.E.Scotland. It was not expected to be one of the highlights, but for me it certainly was. After a straightforward first hole the course begins to show it's class. Interesting, technical, classic links golf - good greens and great views. An under-rated course that probably suffers due to being next door to Royal Aberdeen. Well, we played both and the gap is not that big - plus the welcome at Murcar is far warmer! Recommended.
A couple of us from Ireland decided to go to Aberdeen for a couple of days and literally stumbled across Murcar a couple of days before and were we glad we did.
The course was a pleasure to play on. Fabulous conditions and exceptionally testing. Hole after hole we were not only blown away by the course but scenery was stunning also.
Murcar dispells the misconception that a so called short course is any less of a challange. We were glued to the shot savers and I don't think I took my woods out all through the round.
Murcar is golf at its pinpoint, accurate best and coupled with the welcome we recieved from the staff I just can't speak highly enough of the place.
One of THE most underrated links courses in Scotland. It suffers because of the reputation and quality of its next door neighbour, Royal Aberdeen, but believe me, for much of this course, the holes are as good as those on the Balgownie. Hidden gems is too often applied to golf courses but this one deserves the moniker. Played in the 2003 Murcar Open on a lovely day for golf. Large practice area beside the clubhouse (which had a VERY friendly husband and wife stewarding team). Lost balls at the 13th and 14th in heavy gorse - stray too far on many holes and you are heavily penalised. Pity about the large landfill sites adjacent to some of the finishing holes, nonetheless, this is a cracking course which should be played if you are in the area to visit either or both Royal Aberdeen and Cruden Bay. James McCann
Murcar was the "find" of this year's 17 courses we played. Even in a gale we loved the spectacular views. The par 4's were outstanding. The greens were in superb shape. The pinpoint placement shots were challenging. And, if you slid into the rough, it was penal.
The friendliness of the Club was unique. There were no caddies available, so the caddy master went with us. His advice saved the day often.
Frankly, I do not understand Murcar's rating. We found it a better track than its well known neighbor. This is a top 50 course, not to be missed.
Arguably a better test of golf than the neighbouring Balgownie links at Royal Aberdeen. A friendly and inviting atmosphere and a quality links course with great views and some very challenging holes. You won't be disappointed!!
The stretch of coastline to the north of Aberdeen must possess three of the very best links courses in the British Isles and Murcar is probably the pick of the bunch. Miss this one out at your peril. The fairways pitch and roll in an alarming fashion, keeping your ball in play requires pin-point accuracy. Views across the steely North Sea are dramatic and the elevated tees, as already mentioned, are breathtaking. Above all, this is an immensely friendly club and offers tremendous value.
Do not be put off by your first impression, as from the car park what you see does not do Murcar justice. Nice gentle start on holes 1 and 2 but from then on, it's tough and some of the holes on the front 9 would not look out of place anywhere in the world. Murcar, in a similar vein to Cruden Bay (20 miles further north) is a lovely links golf course that I challenge anyone not to thouroughly enjoy. After round tip:- a pint and hot baguette from the bar, nice way to relax and discuss the Murcar quality.