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Some courses in East Lothian and Fife, Scotland: a review

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have just spent a couple of weeks on a golfing trip in lowland Scotland, on either side of the Firth of Forth. My companions and I played some terrific courses, a few of them quite famous, a few less so. I thought a brief review might be useful to thise who might be planning, or dreaming of, golfing vacations in the future.

East Lothian: a short drive east of Edinburgh on the south bank of the Firth of Forth.

Gullane #1 links course, 6583 yards off white tees, hosting Scottish Open next year.

One of three courses at Gullane. Unusual for a links course in that it is decidedly hilly. A terrific golf course, with scarcely a single hole (with the possible exception of the first) that I'd describe as routine. Full of variety, with holes sloping steeply up and down, and very high on risk/reward holes. Must be an absolute beast when the wind is blowing. Probably my favourite course of the whole trip, highly recommended.

Gullane #2 links course, 6385 off whites.

Laid out by Willie Park jnr. Similar in character to Gullane #1, but to my mind a much less interesting track. Hard to put ones finger on exactly why, just seemed to play a bit more straightforwardly than its big brother. Still an excellent and unusual course.

The barman in the visitors clubhouse at Gullane is a star. And the Old Clubhouse pub in the village serves great food and good beer.

North Berwick. Links course, Open qualifier, 6140 off the blues.

An excellent visitor experience, greeted at the clubhouse and very well received by the jovial starter who dispenses advice on how to play the first without making a fool of onesself. Very impressive, considering they get 10,000 visitors a year.

In my opinion, the most difficult course we played. Taking driver often a mistake, and some of the approach shots incomprehensible. Impossible to hold the ball on the very fast greens, and bumping and running Often falls prey to the contours that guide the ball into the traps. Maybe I'd do better now I know the course a little, but I'm very glad the wind wasn't strong. Great experience, a quintessential links.

Dunbar links course, about 6500 off whites.

Loved this course. Not the most sophisticated in terms of facilities, and nowhere near as famous as Gullane or North Berwick, but a superb layout and absolutely beautiful. Felt fairer than North Berwick in that good shots rarely left one in trouble.

Fife North of Edinburgh. St Andrews an easy drive from all the courses listed below.

Ladybank. Parkland course, 6300 off blues, Open qualifier.

Unusual for this trip in that it is a tight, heavily wooded, pan-flat parkland course. High premium on being straight, because a lot of the rough is heather and simply impossible. Very beautiful course, but for those travelling a great distance I wouldn't necessarily recommend it if only because itis probably more similar to what they are used to, and there are more idiosyncratic alternatives available.

Elie. The Golf House Club, links course, 6273 yards.

Simply gorgeous. The golf course is surrounded on two sides by the village and on the other by the sea. Quirky in the extreme. Men playing in shorts are required to wear long socks, which are available for purchase (funds to charity) in the starters hut. They are lurid colours, including a very fetching fluorescent orange. The first is a blind hole, and the starter advises those on the tee if the fairway is clear by using a forty-foot periscope from a WWII submarine. Two clubs use the course, one male, one female. The ladies' clubhouse is attached to, but separate from, the men's.

None of this detracts from the fact that this is a superb golf course. Despite being almost 6300 yards, there are no par 5s. Some of the par 4s are pretty challenging. Great fun.

Lundin Links. links course (doh), 6371 yards off whites.

The best greens we came across on the trip, fast, but not ridiculously so, and rolled beautifully. Slightly confusing layout with a number of blind holes - I played to the wrong green once. Fortunately it was a par five and by the time I spotted my mistake I wasn't fatally off line.

Another lovely golf course. In my opinion both this and Elie (above) are more interesting links courses than the Old Course, as well as being much cheaper.

Crail - Balcombie Links. Links course, 5861 off whites, laid out by Old Tom Morris back in the day.

Mainly of historical interest, as far as I am concerned. This must be almost as close as one can get to golf in its 19th century form. Old Tom was an ingenious old beggar, he crammed the maximum amount of golf course into the available space. As a result the course is very tight, with tees and greens very close together. Short, but far from easy. I scored worse here than anywhere except North Berwick.

TL;DR version

There's a hell of a lot of terrific golf courses around here. You won't be disappointed.
post #2 of 8

Very cool, thanks for sharing. Got any pics?

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post

Very cool, thanks for sharing. Got any pics?

You're welcome. No, I'm not big on pics - I generally find when I come home that I never look at them again, and to be honest, one pic of a fairway bunker looks much like another...

All these clubs have websites, though, with pictues, diagrams of the course layouts, the usual stuff. So anyone who is tempted and wants more info should head there.
post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by chasm View Post

I have just spent a couple of weeks on a golfing trip in lowland Scotland, on either side of the Firth of Forth. My companions and I played some terrific courses, a few of them quite famous, a few less so. I thought a brief review might be useful to thise who might be planning, or dreaming of, golfing vacations in the future.

East Lothian: a short drive east of Edinburgh on the south bank of the Firth of Forth.

Gullane #1 links course, 6583 yards off white tees, hosting Scottish Open next year.

One of three courses at Gullane. Unusual for a links course in that it is decidedly hilly. A terrific golf course, with scarcely a single hole (with the possible exception of the first) that I'd describe as routine. Full of variety, with holes sloping steeply up and down, and very high on risk/reward holes. Must be an absolute beast when the wind is blowing. Probably my favourite course of the whole trip, highly recommended.

Gullane #2 links course, 6385 off whites.

Laid out by Willie Park jnr. Similar in character to Gullane #1, but to my mind a much less interesting track. Hard to put ones finger on exactly why, just seemed to play a bit more straightforwardly than its big brother. Still an excellent and unusual course.

The barman in the visitors clubhouse at Gullane is a star. And the Old Clubhouse pub in the village serves great food and good beer.

North Berwick. Links course, Open qualifier, 6140 off the blues.

An excellent visitor experience, greeted at the clubhouse and very well received by the jovial starter who dispenses advice on how to play the first without making a fool of onesself. Very impressive, considering they get 10,000 visitors a year.

In my opinion, the most difficult course we played. Taking driver often a mistake, and some of the approach shots incomprehensible. Impossible to hold the ball on the very fast greens, and bumping and running Often falls prey to the contours that guide the ball into the traps. Maybe I'd do better now I know the course a little, but I'm very glad the wind wasn't strong. Great experience, a quintessential links.

Dunbar links course, about 6500 off whites.

Loved this course. Not the most sophisticated in terms of facilities, and nowhere near as famous as Gullane or North Berwick, but a superb layout and absolutely beautiful. Felt fairer than North Berwick in that good shots rarely left one in trouble.

Fife North of Edinburgh. St Andrews an easy drive from all the courses listed below.

Ladybank. Parkland course, 6300 off blues, Open qualifier.

Unusual for this trip in that it is a tight, heavily wooded, pan-flat parkland course. High premium on being straight, because a lot of the rough is heather and simply impossible. Very beautiful course, but for those travelling a great distance I wouldn't necessarily recommend it if only because itis probably more similar to what they are used to, and there are more idiosyncratic alternatives available.

Elie. The Golf House Club, links course, 6273 yards.

Simply gorgeous. The golf course is surrounded on two sides by the village and on the other by the sea. Quirky in the extreme. Men playing in shorts are required to wear long socks, which are available for purchase (funds to charity) in the starters hut. They are lurid colours, including a very fetching fluorescent orange. The first is a blind hole, and the starter advises those on the tee if the fairway is clear by using a forty-foot periscope from a WWII submarine. Two clubs use the course, one male, one female. The ladies' clubhouse is attached to, but separate from, the men's.

None of this detracts from the fact that this is a superb golf course. Despite being almost 6300 yards, there are no par 5s. Some of the par 4s are pretty challenging. Great fun.

Lundin Links. links course (doh), 6371 yards off whites.

The best greens we came across on the trip, fast, but not ridiculously so, and rolled beautifully. Slightly confusing layout with a number of blind holes - I played to the wrong green once. Fortunately it was a par five and by the time I spotted my mistake I wasn't fatally off line.

Another lovely golf course. In my opinion both this and Elie (above) are more interesting links courses than the Old Course, as well as being much cheaper.

Crail - Balcombie Links. Links course, 5861 off whites, laid out by Old Tom Morris back in the day.

Mainly of historical interest, as far as I am concerned. This must be almost as close as one can get to golf in its 19th century form. Old Tom was an ingenious old beggar, he crammed the maximum amount of golf course into the available space. As a result the course is very tight, with tees and greens very close together. Short, but far from easy. I scored worse here than anywhere except North Berwick.

TL;DR version

There's a hell of a lot of terrific golf courses around here. You won't be disappointed.
Great recap of each course, brought back a lot of mems.

I played Elie, Lundin Links (where Brad Faxon omce qualified for the Open), and Crail. Awesome tracks and interestingly, had my best scoring round of the whole trip at Crail. Different strokes, I guess. Some pics:
Elie

Lundin Links

Crail
Can't find a pic on my phone but it's my avatar so I know it must be here somewhere.
Edited by Gunther - 7/30/14 at 7:52am
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunther View Post





Great recap of each course, brought back a lot of mems.

I played Elie, Lundin Links (where Brad Faxon omce qualified for the Open), and Crail. Awesome tracks and interestingly, had my best scoring round of the whole trip at Crail. Different strokes, I guess. Some pics:
Elie

Lundin Links

Crail
Can't find a pic on my phone but it's my avatar so I know it must be here somewhere.

The Crail pic in your avatar looks as if it was taken from the 1st tee?

Glad you enjoyed it. Even though I'm a Brit, these courses are very different from those I usually play. I imagine that to a Texan they must be like something from another planet.
post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by chasm View Post

The Crail pic in your avatar looks as if it was taken from the 1st tee?

Glad you enjoyed it. Even though I'm a Brit, these courses are very different from those I usually play. I imagine that to a Texan they must be like something from another planet.
Ha, no doubt but an amazing experience.

I don't think that was #1 at the time I played it. It was a cool little par 3 that I seem to recall being 6 or 7 but my mem could be off. Think I birdied it but I could be misremembering that too.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunther View Post


I don't think that was #1 at the time I played it. It was a cool little par 3 that I seem to recall being 6 or 7 but my mem could be off. Think I birdied it but I could be misremembering that too.

Ah, right. Your memory is good, it's the 6th.
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by chasm View Post

Ah, right. Your memory is good, it's the 6th.
Good to hear, probably also means I DID birdie it, yessssssss!
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