Tee Yardage Par SSS
White – Gents Medal 6043 yards 68 69
Yellow – Gents 5849 yards 68 68
Red – Ladies 5457 yards 72 72
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The course is a challenging par 68 for Gents or a par 72 for Ladies. It is bounded by the River Deveron, which proves to be a hazard at a number of holes. Duff House Royal has achieved an excellent reputation for providing an outstanding course with large MacKenzie two-tiered greens.
It was redesigned in 1923, by the legendary Dr Alister MacKenzie, who also designed the world famous 'Augusta National', Home of The Masters and 'The Old Course' at St Andrews. Duff House Royal still, till this day, retains the design set out by MacKenzie.
Although close to the sea, the course is a flat, beautifully manicured parkland course with little rough, many well positioned bunkers and trees, which make the course a severe but fair challenge to golfers of all abilities.
Nestling in the middle of the course is Duff House, considered one of the grandest classical country houses built in the 18th century and designed by William Adam.
The course record is currently held by David Morrison (Meldrum House) who achieved an eight under par 60 during the 2006 season.
Players should familiarise themselves with - Local Rules
AN EMERGENT ARCHITECT'S VIEW
Alister MacKenzie has become revered by golf course architects and golfers alike, so I was particularly pleased to discover that a full set of his (though it appears that his brother had a significant influence in the construction of these) greens remained intact at Duff House Royal. The two-double greens were particularly unique - to the MacKenzie courses that I have seen in the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand - though I believe the Jockey Club in Argentina has one also!
Other favourite moments: the fine ninth sweeping off the river bank, in behind the gaping front-right bunker; the raised, stepped twelfth green framed by Duff House; the fourteenth green sneaking up into an upper-left and lower-right towards its rear; the long par-three sixteenth tempting a direct line, when playing short-right might be the sensible play.
I suspect that the bunkering scheme has evolved from MacKenzie's 1923 plan into something more penal than his usual strategic preference. I noticed signs of a filled-in centre bunker on the seventh where I imagine you were rewarded for driving bravely alongside the riverside; likewise the now tree-filled dividing bunker between four and five where a drive teasing this would have opened-up the angles of the green on both holes.
I was glad to see that you had made a start clearing out trees behind the eighth green and would encourage you to keep doing so in that southern portion. Not just for improved turf health but also for improved playability and to take advantage of the course’s relationship with The Deveron river (and Duff House) which is lost along the 7th through 9th stretch. The most effective and efficient improvements are often non-invasive - changing the mowing lines of fairway, greens (which were actually very good at Duff House Royal) etc. for improved strategy and playability!