Golf in the town of Macduff can be dated back to 1907 where a short winter golf course was laid out on two fields at the end of the Buchan Road, where there was over 40 members at the time there was hope that it was the beginning of a movement for a proper course for the town.


Moving forward 16 years to June 1923, George Smith (designed Stromness and extended Strathlene to 18 holes), Golf professional and course architect of Lossiemouth was employed and surveyed the land at Tarlair alongside John McAndrew (designed Inverurie, Huntly and the redesign of Newburgh) of Cruden bay and were of opinion that a golf course could be constructed there and projected that 9 holes could be ready as near as the next year while the further 9 holes are built. 


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Left to Right - J.G.H Peters, J Anderson, G Downie, McAndrew Cruden Bay, Smith Lossiemouth

On the 7th November 1923 a meeting was held and the club had been given the name “The Macduff Golf Club” with the original office bearers appointed. Through the following years an initial 6 holes was opened for play along with a putting green with a further 3 following shortly after to bring in some income with various fundraising and Bazaar’s also happening to raise funds for the full development.


Tarlair’s first A.G.M. came on the 9th of April 1926 when it was agreed to name the club ‘The Tarlair Golf Club’. A club house should also be built and also a Professional should be appointed for the course. This should also be the final drive towards the course being opened later in the year.


Wednesday the 2nd of June 1926 is stamped in the history as the opening of the course as “Royal Tarlair Golf Club” this day was marked with 4 golf professionals playing a four-ball foursome as a crowd watched on, the professionals being S Burns of Cruden Bay, S.F Dornan of Duff House, G Smith of Lossiemouth and D Smillie of Tarlair. Prior to teeing off a telegram was read out by the club President J.J. George giving the permission to add Royal into the title from the Princess Royal with the words “Certainly, Wish success”.


On Wednesday the 4th of August the 18-hole course and the new pavilion, which had been erected by the club were officially opened by Dr Walford Bodie and a gala was held in aid of funds for the Club.


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Club Captain J Anderson with driver in hand with Dr W Bodie (centre forward) with office bearers behind 


Moving forward 3 years from the opening of the course to Monday the 28th October 1929, Royal Tarlair had appeared on the map within the North East with the now 13th hole ‘Clivet’ being known locally at the time as “Death or Glory” and was spoken about within the article headlined “Trickiest hole in the North-East of Scotland” in the Aberdeen Press and Journal


During World War II the course was down to restricted use with some of the course dug up and the council assisting with any upkeep that was required and come Saturday 24th February 1945 at midday disaster struck further, while on exercise at the firing range just off the coast Mosquito RF603 from the RAF 248 Squadron broke up in level flight at high speed and crashed into a bunker on the course with the Pilot and Navigator killed.


Come May 1945 steps was taken to start to put the course back together. David Houston the Grantown on Spey Golf Professional who had previously designed Turriff Golf Club (alongside John McAndrew) and later Silverknowes in Edinburgh was approached to redesign the course and the work was to be carried out as soon as possible with the view to have it ready for the next 1947 season.


In 1972 the purchase of the land that the golf course is built on was completed, with previously paying rent to the council at £200 a year, the club grouped together and bought the land, in the following 4 years prior to the clubs 50 year anniversary in 1976 funds was raised to build a new clubhouse and that opened in June 1976 with a further extension being added in the 1990's.

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