Duff House Royal: A MacKenzie masterpiece on the North Sea

Duff House Royal: A MacKenzie masterpiece on the North Sea

Duff House Royal is a flat, beautifully manicured parkland with little rough. The large two-tiered greens are classic MacKenzie work, and the many well-positioned bunkers and trees make the course a severe but fair challenge.

The course is bounded by the River Deveron, which is a hazard for those who are wayward off the tee at the 7th, 16th and 17th. As per MacKenzie’s design masterplan, the greens and fairways are undulating, without steep hills for the golfer to climb, and there are a minimum of blind approach shots.

The emphasis is placed on natural beauty, not on artificial features, and the lack of rough means balls are not being constantly looked for – thus speeding up play to a pleasant pace.


Golf has been played for many years in this northeast corner of Scotland though it was not until 1871 that play was formally organised when the Banff Golf Club was established.

The original Duff House Golf Club was formally founded on March 1, 1910, using a layout by the great architect James Braid.

It was then touched by more design royalty when Dr Alister MacKenzie – of Augusta National and Alwoodley fame – redesigned it in 1923, finishing the project in 1924. 

What makes it special

The First World War saw Duff House Royal's holes turned over to agricultural use and the golf course fell into decline.

In 1923, Dr Alister MacKenzie and his brother Major C.A. MacKenzie redesigned the 18-hole layout.

The new course was opened the following year with a match between Sandy Herd of Moor Park and Ted Ray of Oxley with both men returning scores of 71.

Where is it?

Duff House Royal is situated in Aberdeenshire in the town of Banff, just off the A98.

Where does it rank?

27th in Scotland, 159th in GB&I, 3rd in Moray

Get in touch with Duff House Royal

Duff House Royal Golf Club

For more information about the club and course, visit its website or call them on 01261 812062.

Have you played Duff House Royal before? Let us know in the comments, or tweet us.

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