Across the seven-arched Deveron Bridge is Duff House Royal Golf Club. Dr Alister Mackenzie created this outstanding parkland course in the Northeast corner of Scotland and it's a course every golf historian or indeed keen player should seek out.
Set so close to the sea, it’s surprising that Duff House is such pure parkland. The River Deveron has more to do with the course's topography than does the wide breakers of the Moray Firth & North Sea just on the other side of the bridge. Built the river’s flat plane, it’s an easy stroll.
From a playing perspective, the greens are the course’s most outstanding attribute and main defence. Mackenzie liked them large; an innovator in course design, the surrogate Scot (he was born in Leeds to parents of Scottish extraction) had a penchant for large, undulating putting surfaces, sometimes long, narrow and angled to the fairway. These became his trademark and such configurations are all greatly in evident at Duff House. They increase the course's challenge substantially as do the large, free-form bunkers that often defend them. Local golfers will testify it is often better to play short and chip on rather than tackle the green's defences and overall size from afar.
DUFF HOUSE'S MASSIVE GREENS ARE THE OUTSTANDING FEATURE.
The 16th is a good example, a long Par 3 of 242 yards where it is reasonable - in fact advisable to play short and chip on. Another fine hole is the 12th, which plays toward Duff House, the only hole without a bunker, a Par 5 with a large, high-plateau green that is very difficult to hit and hold.
Duff House does not receive the recognition it deserves as a superb example of Dr Alistair Mackenzie's work as well as an imaginative test of golf for the best of players. With Trump International only a short distance away to the east and Castle Stuart en-route to the west perhaps more discerning golfers will discover Duff House.
Dr. Alister MacKenzie (August 30, 1870 – January 6, 1934)
Mackenzie was of course responsible for many great course designs such as Augusta National Golf Club (Augusta, Georgia), Cypress Point Club (Monterey Peninsula, California), Royal Melbourne Golf Club (Melbourne, Australia), Pasatiempo Golf Club (Santa Cruz, California), Crystal Downs Country Club (Frankfort, Michigan), Lahinch Golf Course (Lahinch, Ireland), and Meadow Club (Fairfax, California). He died in Santa Cruz, California in January 1934, just two months before the inaugural Masters Tournament (then known as the Augusta National Invitational Tournament).
Duff House Royal Golf Club
Barnyards, Banff, Scotland, AB45 3SX.
Tel: +44 (0) 1261 812062.