Murcar Links, Scotland
North East Scotland - Best In Region Golf Courses  North East Scotland - Best In Region Golf Courses Scotland  Scotland
Murcar Links Golf Club
Bridge of Don
AB23 8BD
ArchitectArchie Simpson, James Braid and Graeme J Webster
Head Professional/Director of GolfGary Forbes
Telephone+44 (0) 1224 704354
Location2 miles N of Aberdeen
Websites Golf Club Website
VisitorsContact in advance
Club Secretary/ ManagerCarol O'Neil

Visit for a golf holiday at Murcar


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.

In November 2014, the European Tour and Paul Lawrie announced a new match play tournament, which will be part of The Race to Dubai for the next three years. The inaugural €1million Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play was hosted at Murcar Links in July 2015 when Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat beat Robert Karlsson in the final.

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 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.

Murcar Past Captain nails his drive down the 7th 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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The opening hole is an ideal start and is a well bunkered par four of 322 yards. The view to the sea behind the green is an attractive vista of gorse and dune land heading down towards Royal Aberdeen.

‘Plateau’, the 5th, is the first of the three par threes. The green is up a steep hill and has bunkers to the right and at the rear. There is no fairway at all, so anything short can be a lost ball in gorse, heather or grassy mounds.

The 7th, ‘Serpentine’, is one of the most demanding par fours you will ever encounter. From an elevated tee you hit over a burn which also runs in a wetland area along the right hand side between the fairway and the seaside dunes.

The 16th hole is a good little par three of 160 yards. There is no bail out area anywhere here. You have to clear the burn and miss the two pot bunkers around the uphill green. The round finishes with two shortish par fours but beware left on the 17th and out of bounds on the well trapped 18th.

Murcar is a real test and requires very accurate driving. One criticism would be the number of blind shots on the back nine which are especially difficult for the first time visitor. There is never a dull moment here.

This review is an edited extract from Another Journey through the Links, which has been reproduced with David Worley’s kind permission. The author has exclusively rated for us every Scottish course that he played and featured in his book. Another Journey through the Links is available for Australian buyers via and through Amazon for buyers from other countries.
20 March 2015 See other reviews from this reviewer
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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.
02 October 2013 See other reviews from this reviewer
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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.
04 June 2012 See other reviews from this reviewer
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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.
02 September 2010 See other reviews from this reviewer
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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 and
09 May 2010 See other reviews from this reviewer
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mike09 May 2010
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.
Graham Stuart12 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.
dan15 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.
15 July 2009 See other reviews from this reviewer
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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!
12 October 2007 See other reviews from this reviewer
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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
03 April 2007 See other reviews from this reviewer
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Bob13 September 2007
I agree with Mr McCann that the 12th is one of the weaker holes, however there is nothing wrong with the 11th, which is a tester in the wind from the back tee. Nor is there anything wrong with Murcar's reputation. Greens are now back to their usual first class condition. This was a temporary blip and it was a shame that Mr McCann did not look beyond this. I think awarding a '2' was a liitle harsh of him.
Warren Evans03 August 2015
Time to go back Jim. Having played it in July 15, the course was in great condition throughout, the only weakness being the strewn grass clippings on the downslope of the (I think) 13th fairway - lost ball territory literally in the middle of the fairway.
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.
07 October 2006 See other reviews from this reviewer
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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.
25 September 2006 See other reviews from this reviewer
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