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Duff House Royal Golf Club

This club is famous for… Royal approval with a difference

There isn’t another golf club like Duff House Royal in the world. But what sets it apart? Steve Carroll has the answer
 

Royal courses. They’re ten-a-penny, right? Royal Birkdale, Royal Porthcawl, Royal Lytham – just three of the mountain of clubs that have managed to receive a princely blessing down the years.

All right, not quite.

There are said to be 66 golf clubs around the world that have had a title conferred by the British Royal family. It’s really no surprise that they found favour with the inhabitants in and around Buckingham Palace.

Golf and the Royals were closely linked in the late 19th and the first third of the 20th century.

With the future King Edward VIII such a keen exponent with his clubs, he was sought out by all and sundry to be honoured with a club membership or, at a select few, the captaincy.

But there is one Royal course that’s set apart from all the others. You’ll find it alongside the Moray Firth in the North-east of Aberdeenshire.

Why is Duff House Royal Golf Club famous?

Duff House Royal Golf Club

Duff House Royal Golf Club is the only one where the royal title is used as a suffix and not a prefix.

The course was opened in 1909 and it’s believed the reason it’s all back to front at this Archie Simpson-designed layout was because it was named in tribute to Louise, the third child of King Edward VII.

She was known as the Princess Royal – a title given to the eldest daughter of a reigning monarch – rather than the Royal Princess.

And so Duff House Royal Golf Club, which was remodelled by Alister MacKenzie, took on its unusual name in 1925.

Why Louise? Alexander Duff, the 6th Earl of Fife and the last to live at Duff House, married her in 1889.

The couple were such keen golfers they employed a professional to maintain the few holes that then surrounded the house.

They later gifted the 18th century mansion and land to the communities of Banff and Macduff, which led to the golf course being fully constructed.

In 1923, Prince Louise expressed the desire to become patron and so the unusual Duff House Royal Golf Club was born.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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