Recent History

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club
Recent History

Richard Ramsay - Honorary Member

An honorary member of Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, at the age of 23 Richard Ramsay became the first Scotsman in over a century to win the US Amateur Championship.

Born in Aberdeen in 1983, it was his grandfather Roderick Robertson who introduced him to golf as a toddler. Richie joined RAGC as a member in 1998.

Richie represented Great Britain & Ireland in the 2005 Walker Cup. The following year he won the U.S. Amateur by beating American John Kelly 4&2 over the 36-hole final becoming the first British player to win the championship since 1911 and the first Scot since 1898. He sealed victory with a birdie at the par-four 16th after which he received exemptions to play in the Open Championship, the Masters and US Open.

The year 2007 was a busy one. Richie played at the Masters in Augusta, Georgia with defending champion Phil Mickleson and then partnered the world No1, Tiger Woods at the US Open at Oakmont. Of that event Richie said, 'I just can't believe I am here at the moment! I'm just a guy from Aberdeen who loves playing golf!' He also graduated from Stirling University in Scotland that year.

Richie won the 2004 Scottish Open Stroke Play and the 2005 Irish Amateur Stroke Play events. He topped the first edition of the World Amateur Golf Ranking, which was issued by the R&A on 23 January 2007. After playing in the 2007 Masters Tournament, U.S. Open and Open Championship Richie Ramsay turned professional making his professional debut at the Russian Open.

During 2008, Richie secured his full European Tour playing privileges for 2009 by finishing 8th on the Challenge Tour.

A portrait of Richie by Stephen Shankland can be seen in the Clubhouse. He is pictured with The Havemeyer Trophy (replica), the only replica resident in the UK . This magnificent trophy can be viewed in the clubhouse.

Tom Watson winning the British Senior Open in 2005

In one of the most exciting Senior Opens Tom Watson (5 times Open Champion) defeated Des Smyth at the first play-off hole to complete his third victory in the championship. Balgownie Links proved to be one of the most severe tests faced by the Senior Professionals in this their flagship event. Tom Watson once again proved to be the master of Scottish traditional links in testing conditions.




The 2011 Walker Cup was played on the Balgownie Links of Royal Aberdeen Golf Club on the north-east coast of Scotland. Founded in 1780, the club is the world’s sixth oldest and was honoured to host the Walker Cup on the occasion of the event’s 90th year.


July 2014 welcomed, for the first time in the Club’s history, a Major European Tour event to the links of Balgownie. Defending Champion Phil Mickleson, world number one Rory McIlroy alongside countless other stars from around the globe arrived at The Bridge of Don Aberdeen to compete for the prestigious title of AAM Scottish Open Champion.

Rory opened with a spectacular course record of 64 but then fell away with 78 blows in the 2nd round. Others came and went as the Old Lady of Balgownie snarled and growled throughout a typical summer week on the North East Coast of Scotland.

In the end England’s Justin Rose held off a strong challenge from Sweden’s Kristoffer Broberg to triumph with four sub 70 rounds and a 16 under par total of 268. The quality of Rose’s play was reminiscent of Nick Faldo’s masterful performance in winning The Open at St Andrews in 1990.

The course was never played to its full length and as the flags came down on Sunday evening, the competitors, the spectators and the hundreds of volunteers had all enjoyed a splendid week.

The sun had shone and the wind had blown (a little) but as always Balgownie Links was the winner.

2018 Amateur Championship

In 2018 Royal Aberdeen was honoured to host the 123rd Amateur Championship. The Championship has been held annually in the United Kingdom since 1885, except during the World Wars and in 1949 and 2019, when it was hosted in Ireland.

Before World War Two the Amateur was regarded as one of golf’s major championships. Over the years’ winners have included four members of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Notably Harold Hilton won the championship on four occasions in 1900, 1901, 1911 & 1913.

Bobby Jones was victorious in 1930 at St Andrews as part of his historic Grand Slam. More recently Jose Maria Olazabal won at Formby in 1984, beating Colin Montgomerie in the final. Further Spanish success came at Muirfield in 1998, when Sergio Garcia was victor.

Since its inception, the Amateur has visited only 22 venues, with the above selective examples illustrating that these include the very finest golf courses in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club were pleased to congratulate Jovan Rebula on winning the tournament in 2018, when he beat Robin Dawson (Ireland) 3&2 in the final. Jovan, who is the nephew of Ernie Els, was the first South African winner of the championship since in Bobby Coles in 1966, and we are sure that he will go on to emulate some of the great achievements of his compatriots.