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From a golfer’s perspective, Edinburgh may well be the best-located city on the planet. Muirfield, St Andrews, and Gullane are just a few of the hundreds of courses within a touching distance of the capital.
With a buzzing nightlife, a thriving cultural and comedy scene and fantastic shopping it’s little surprise that so many golfers make this historic playground their base on a trip to Scotland.
The list of great courses within sixty miles of Edinburgh is endless. We take a look at some of the finest:
Muirfield needs no introduction. Home to the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, the world’s oldest golf club, Muirfield has been the scene of some of the most famous battles in golf. While the Club’s decision to hold firm to its traditions has caused some controversy in recent years, the quality of Muirfield as a golf course has never been in doubt.
Visitors who manage to secure a tee time will be treated to one of the finest links on the planet. Host to fifteen Open Championships, most recently in 2013, many pros consider Muirfield to be the best course on the Open roster.
It is certainly one of the toughest. With small and deep bunkers positioned to perfection, penal rough lining the fairways and smallish greens necessitating exceptional ball positioning, Muirfield is a true test of a golf.
North Berwick is the epitome of quirky. Blind shots galore, stone walls routed through fairways, and plenty of humps and hollows.
Founded in 1832, North Berwick is a course that gets about as close to the origins of the game as it is possible. A traditional out-and-back layout, North Berwick is as fun to play as it is charming. That isn’t to say it isn’t a fantastic course. It’ is. The 13th oldest golf club in the world and the 3rd oldest to be played over its original fairways, North Berwick is one of Scotland’s best links course. It is also one of the most spectacular with views over the nearby Bass Rock, the North Sea and across to the Firth of Forth.
If the stunning par-3 15th seems familiar that may well be because you’ve played it before. The hole is the most replicated in all of golf.
The Renaissance Club
The Renaissance Club sits alongside Loch Lomond and Skibo Castle as Scotland’s most exclusive golf club. In a coastline littered with historic layouts, the Renaissance is a mere babe. Nonetheless, with Open Championship Final Qualifying secured at the club for the next few years, The Renaissance is quickly cementing its place as a course to rival Scotland’s finest links.
The layout is Tom Doak’s first Scottish design and bears little resemblance to neighbouring Muirfield, with pines featuring heavily. The addition of three new holes in 2013, however, has given the club a link to the coastline. These three holes are undisputedly spectacular and form the best stretch on the course.
With visitors only entitled to play the course once in a lifetime, you will likely find the golf course almost entirely to yourself.
It’s far from an undiscovered gem, but often overlooked in favour of neighbouring Muirfield, it’s worth remembering just how great Gullane really is.
Gullane is unique along this majestic coastline for having three fantastic courses. The No. 1 and No. 2 are both championship courses, while the shorter layout, The N0. 3, which completes the triad, is also endless fun to play.
Bordering Muirfield and Luffness, the venue will welcome the world’s finest players this July for the Scottish Open and Ladies Scottish Open.
With no designer associated with Gullane No. 1, it is often joked that the course was constructed by mother nature herself. With exquisite golfing turf, even in the depth of winter, perfectly placed natural contours and breath-taking views, it’s hard to disagree. A truly unmissable test of golf.
Whether you’re heading to the capital for a city break or planning a trip to some of Scotland’s most celebrated courses, a stop at Murrayfield Golf Club comes highly recommended.
Just minutes from both the city centre and Edinburgh Airport, and with St Andrews, and the beautiful East Lothian links courses both within an hour’s reach, Murrayfield may well be one of the best-located golf courses on the planet.
The course itself is a mixture of park and heathland. Winding its way around Corstorphine Hill the layout serves up spectacular views over Edinburgh, East Lothian, and Fife.
Archerfield offers a unique experience among the East Lothian coastline. A friendly and relaxed club Archerfield is home to two beautiful and highly-rated golf courses. The Frida course opened for play in 2004 and sits on the same piece of coastline as Muirfield, Gullane, the Renaissance and North Berwick.
Given its illustrious neighbours, the Frida, as a new course, stands up very well against the other course in the region. It begins inland, meandering its way through the pine trees. From the 12th the course opens up to afford views over the Bass Rock and the Firth of Forth.
Meanwhile, the Dirleton Links is more traditional links with pot bunkers and sand dunes both dominant features. A day at Archerfield is as much about the experience as the golf. There is a luxurious clubhouse as well as world-class practice facilities.
When in Scotland it’s tempting to head straight out to the links courses. There are some fantastic parkland courses, however, to be found in Edinburgh itself.
Among the most historic is the Royal Burgess Golf Club, which has been the hub of golfing city dwellers for over 300 years. The current venue has been home to the prestigious club since 1923. Old Tom Morris, Willie Park Jnr and James Braid are all credited with having some influence on the current design.
This is a club that takes its history seriously, and there is some evidence that Burgess may be the world’s oldest golfing society.