The King course at Gleneagles golf resort is perhaps one of master course designer James Braid's most celebrated works. With real heritage and life, the King's course opened for play in 1919.
Braid was given the most splendid piece of land by Donald Matherson the then general manager of the Caledonian railway company to work with after Matherson dreamed up the idea of creating a "Palace in the Glens" aimed at capturing the wealthy executive railway travellers who wanted to stay in his impeccable and refined new lodgings.
If the truth be told the real reason for constructing the almost French Empire style hotel was because Matherson could not countenance the existence of the success of the Turnberry Hotel which was owned by the rival south western railway company. The course was to be laid on a wooded moorland plateau in Perthshire, to the north lie the Grampians and to the west the Trossachs.
Braid, given a simple brief to work with the natural terrain and make something spectacular to the eye, a course that looked impossible yet was easy to get around. Well, Braid indeed designed one of the most beautiful and enchanted inland courses in the world which indeed is a daunting experience from the majority of the tee boxes, whether it is easy to get around well that lies in the skills and talent of those with the club in their hands. I would argue that the USA Team that took part in the first unofficial Ryder Cup in 1921 in which James Braid competed in did not find the layout all that easy to get around and took a heavy 9- 3 defeat to the very talented British Team including the at the time world-dominating Harry Vardon.
The Kings Course at Gleneagles holds so many fond memories and has since hosted many great tournaments such as the Curtis Cup, Dunhill Trophy, WPGA Championship of Europe and the Scottish Open.
There are so many holes that can be considered as "signature Holes", and in modern-day terms, I guess most would hold a vote and say that the 18th, which is an incredible golf hole that takes aim at the beautiful hotel and has been included in the great read "Classic Golf Holes."
For us, the hole with the most history and splendour would be the 13th "Braid's Brawest" Which was Jame's most favourite hole on the course. A ridge running the length of the right-hand side fairway, A lesser ridge which crosses the fairway armed with a bunker at just over 220 yards has to be carried before playing a second shot to an elevated plateau green which slopes from right to left and drops off stopping anything short of the hole and swallowing up golf balls not hit with enough desire.
The pleasure of playing Gleneagles does not stop with merely spectacular designed and alluring holes of golf, Depending on the season you may hear the call of wild geese, grouse or pheasant nestling away in the local woods.
Lee Travino once said of Gleneagles "If Heaven is as good as this, I sure hope they have some tee-times left."