Gleneagles is known as the Riviera of the Highlands.
The King's Course is genuinely one of the greatest inland courses in the world. How good is it? I would swap any number of better-known links in Fife for this one... with the exception of the Old Course and Kingsbarns. Harry Vardon felt the same. In 1919, he wrote the King's was as good as any golf course in the UK or Ireland.
The famous Gleneagles poster with an eagle perched on the crags of a Scottish glen has painted by none other than Harry Rountree.
Golf Course Review
Gleneagles has been called The Glorious Playground. The country estate is a luxury 5-star hotel with no equal. A British institution, the hotel is not only one of the best resorts in Scotland and the UK but also the world.
The hotel and resort are first and foremost a golf destination. Located in Auchterarder, Perthshire, the resort lies on the main road between Stirling and Perth. Established in 1924, the first course was the King’s Course, followed by the Queen’s Course, and finally the PGA Centenary. There is also the Wee Course and PGA Academy.
Gleneagles King’s Course
It was reported that the location of the resort was advised upon by Harry Colt. (The Times May 1921) However, the first golf course, Gleneagles Kings, was designed by James Braid and CK Hutchinson. Alister MacKenzie felt the King’s Course was James Braid’s best work. (Perthshire Advertiser 19 March 1921) With 400 courses under his belt, it is indeed a compliment to call the King’s Course his crowning achievement. Opened in 1919 after the Great War, it has always been known to exceed expectations. Sutton’s Seeds were used to sow the courses.
In 1920, two new one-shot holes were incorporated into the design. A single par 3 replaced the original 12th and 13th holes and a new par 3 was added between the 16th and 17th. The 11th and 16th are the two holes from 1920 that exist today.
Patric Dickinson wrote that “Gleneagles is something that was created, and exists, sheerly to please.” Frank Pennink said that the greenkeeping was second to none with ‘immense vistas from elevated tees, big greens, and springy turf – a swirling wind can turn this gentile course into a real challenge.’ Scale, width, and elevation changes are the overwhelming trademarks. Uniquely, the bunkers have their own distinctive shape and style.
Gleneagles Kings is one of Scotland’s best golf courses, which is a ringing endorsement seeing as it is an inland course. Perhaps only rivaled by Loch Lomond, Gleneagles King’s is an institution and an iconic course that is worthy of all the praise heaped upon it.
How good is it? Having played the majority of big-name links in the vicinity, I would gladly swap most of them for a round on the King’s.
King’s Course Reviews
Gleneagles Queen’s Course
The Queen’s Course is a James Braid and CK Hutchinson design. The original nine holes (now holes 1 to 4 and 14 to 18) were opened in 1919. In 1925, the second nine (now holes 5 to 13) was added. Holes 6 and 17 are considered to be of note.
It was Alister MacKenzie who advised Gleneagles to extend the course from 9 to 18 holes. (Perthshire Advertiser March 1921) However, it would be James Braid who eventually carried out the works.
Jack Nicklaus’ PGA Centenary
Acclaimed golf course architect, Jack Nicklaus, created the course which became the venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup. It is a typical 1990s Nicklaus golf course design. Despite hosting both the Solheim and Ryder Cups, for most purists, James Braid‘s King’s Course is the one of choice.
Gleneagles - Videos
WATCH HIDDEN LINKS CLASSIC REVIEW OF GLENEAGLES KINGS COURSE
WATCH GLENEAGLES MONTAGE OF ALL THREE COURSES
WATCH ERIK ANDERS LANG'S VISIT TO GLENEAGLES KINGS
Featured Architect: MacKenzie, Alister
As taken from his book, Golf Architecture, Alister MacKenzie felt the following were essential: The course, where possible, should be arranged in two loops of nine holes. There should be a large proportion of good two-shot holes and at least four one-shot holes. There should be little walking between...