Watching the Scottish Open at Gullane recently was enough to get me in the mood for some golf.
If you’ve been thinking likewise, why not head over to East Lothian for a game or two? There’s plenty more where Gullane came from in the way of fantastic golf courses, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.
In fact, to make it just that bit easier for you, I’ve highlighted my top 9 below:
1st hole: Gullane
I know I said there was more to golfing than Gullane, but it still makes the top of the list! Sporting a revitalised clubhouse for this year’s Open, Gullane is home to not one, not two, but three 18-hole courses – plus a children’s course! It’s also been hailed for its perfect turf, which means that this is a course for all weather – even winter!
Some prefer No.2 course at Gullane over the No.1, due to its variety and challenging nature. However, you could get the best of both worlds by trying your hand at the new Championship course which incorporates holes from both courses.
For more information, check out the official website.
2nd hole: North Berwick
The West Links course at North Berwick is an essential on your tour around East Lothian, and will take you closer to the origins of golf than any other course. How? Well, it’s actually the oldest course in the world which still has its original 17th century fairways that you can play over today.
This championship course features stunning views of the Firth of Forth, as well as various islands such as Fidra, Bass Rock, Craigleith and Lamb – and not forgetting, the lovely town of North Berwick.
Find out more about North Berwick golf club right here.
3rd hole: Muirfield
Otherwise known as the ‘Home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers’, the historical Muirfield course has been hailed as a ‘masterpiece’ and is one of the things that makes it stand out above the rest. Along with its springy turf fairways, quality greens, and beach views, this is a challenging but fair test for even the most experienced golfer.
Its eccentric (for the era) design combined with some utterly superb holes make this a course you won’t want to miss – in fact, some have even claimed its the best course in Britain.
For more information, check out the official website.
4th hole: Renaissance Club
Want to try a more modern course? Then the Renaisaance Club is probably right up your street, having only opened in 2008 and having been designed by acclaimed contemporary course architect Tom Doak. This is without a doubt one of the future championship golf courses to keep an eye on, and it’s absolutely stunning, to boot.
Despite it being one of the newest additions to an already impressive golfing portfolio in East Lothian, the club is still keen to uphold the golfing traditions of the past, and according to the website, was built out of respect for the game. That doesn’t stop it having some seriously challenging contours, though!
For more information (and a rather lovely video) take a peek at the Renaissance Club’s website.
5th hole: Archerfield
Archerfield features two very different courses, Fidra and Dirleton. Fidra features a nice combination of pine forest and fast-running links, while the more traditional Dirleton Links has some deep, menacing bunkers with each fairway flanked by sand dunes. The latter is favoured by golfing champions such as Ian Woosnam and Gary Player.
The official website encourages you to feel right at home and have a good time – which is really what golf’s all about, am I right?
6th hole: Mortonhall
Originally founded in 1892, Mortonhall is the oldest golf course still being played in Edinburgh. The 6530-yard, par 72 championship course has gorgeous views over the Pentland Hills and the Firth of Forth, not forgetting the great city itself.
The greens and fairways are a joy to play over, and are lined with mature trees, making it easy to forget you’re just four miles away from Edinburgh Castle.
For more information, check out the Mortonhall Club’s website.
7th hole: Dunbar
Another classic links course, Dunbar certainly deserves its place in my top nine. It’s built on quite a narrow strip of land and has views across the sea to the Bass Rock. I like Dunbar because it has everything you need in a golf course; beautiful views, challenging holes, traditional style and a warm, welcoming atmosphere that allows for a special place in your heart.
According to the golf club itself: “It is to pit yourself against a course made by nature and then man’s best efforts over 150 years. It is to walk in the footsteps of some of the greatest golfers in the world.”
For more about Dunbar, visit the official website.
8th hole: Craigielaw
If you enjoy views of the East Lothian coastline, Craigielaw is a surefire winner, and its build was inspired by some of the best links courses around Britain. Just half a mile west of Aberlady, this 6,601-yard par 71 course has its tough points. Despite some hard and fast fairways along the way, overall it’s a delight to take your time over, whilst taking in the surrounding scenery.
Find out more about what Craigielaw has to offer, right here.
9th hole: Musselburgh
Musselburgh golf course was designed by five-time Open Championship winner James Braid – who certainly knew a thing or two about golf! This quality par 71 course is a fine test of your skills, and its generous fairways take you on a journey around the bend of the River Esk.
I’ve got to warn you, though; it’s not one of the easiest courses on this list. In fact, in order to really conquer this course, you must have the skill required to keep the ball in-play while still being far away from the tee. If you can master it, it’ll keep you coming back for years to come!
For more information, check out the official Musselburgh golf club website.
TIP: If you’re keen to explore what East Lothian has to offer, why not apply for a visitor’s pass? They start from just £41 and can be purchased from the Golf East Lothian website.
So, there we have it. You can’t say there’s no choice when it comes to golfing in East Lothian! From historical courses dating back to the very roots of golf, to modern courses designed for upcoming international tournaments, you’ll be sure to find the perfect course to suit your experience and skill level. There’s also plenty more where that came from, as these are only my top nine!
Which are your favourite East Lothian golf courses? Let me know in the comments.
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