Stonehaven features a number of dramatic short holes played over deep gullies and along the top of steep cliffs. The lush inland-turf fairways and greens are renowned for being among the best in the north east of Scotland. The course provides stunning views of the North Sea, Stonehaven Bay and the town itself – including the ancient fortress of Dunnottar Castle.
Porpoises, dolphins and seals can often be seen in the bay – though if your concentration is on the next shot then you may not notice them.
The course is also of interest to geologists as it lies on the Highland Fault Line, which divides Scotland from west to east.
The Club was founded on Friday, April 13, 1888, and the first clubhouse was opened in June 1889. The original chimney stack still stands by the 15th tee. At that time, the course had 10 holes, reduced to nine a year later, and it was not until July 7, 1897 , that the “new” course and clubhouse on the present site was opened.
For a short time, the professional was George Duncan, who later won the Open Championship in 1920 and who played three times in the Ryder Cup team, being winning captain in 1929.
Also to grace the fairways was another (five times in his case) Open champion, the legendary James Braid, who played a challenge match here on August 18, 1906 against his nephew and twice Open Championship runner-up Archie Simpson, the professional at Royal Aberdeen. Afterwards, Braid and Simpson together planned improvements to the course.
A much less welcome visitor called in August, 1940, when a German aircraft, fleeing home after a raid, dropped a bomb on the course only a hundred yards or so from the clubhouse. The crater it left, known as Hitler’s Bunker, remains clearly visible today – and is very much in play between the 1st and 2nd fairways.