GUllane no 3 - 15 POINTS
Gullane is at the heart of Scotland's self-styled 'Golf Coast' and there is no doubt that this is a golf village. There are three golf courses (numbered 1, 2 and 3) that all begin and end in this village of 4,000 people and there is a children's course which is free to play just next door. As you drive into the village from Edinburgh you pass Luffness Golf Course and Muirfield greets you on the way out before meeting the Archerfield estate. Maybe Pinehurst is the only other place in the world that has such a concentration of golf courses. If you love your golf and have never driven this road then you need to start planning a trip now!
You would be forgiven for thinking that the third Gullane course, a short par 65, is likely to be nothing more than a diversion for the kids and holidaymakers but nothing could be further from the truth - it is a delightful course which won't beat you up but can still be a real test.
Archie Baird runs the golf museum in the village and has written a history of golf in Golf on Gullane Gill. He is also one of the stars of 'Playing Through', the story of an American's year in Gullane. Anyway, he is clear when asked which course he enjoys most of all, Gullane 3. (As an aside, if you are in Gullane then do arrange a tour of Archie's museum, he has some great items to explore and anecdotes to tell).
Anyway, to the course itself. As I said it is a par 65 and only 5,100 yards. There is only one par 5, and a short one at that, but the par 4s range nicely in length and the par 3s give a great variety of challenges. The condition of the course will be as good as you will find on Gullane 1 or 2 - that is to say in as good condition as almost any other course in Scotland. In the winter the greens are arguably the best in the whole country and the fairways run fast.
After 2 pleasant holes on the flat the hole climbs up Gullane Hill after you cross the road with the steep 3rd hole and from there you are treated to fantastic views over the Firth of Forth as well as the other Gullane courses and the neighbouring Luffness. The course may be short but many of the green are quite small and they are well protected which means that often playing position from the tee rather than length will be the best way to go. It is the kind of course where you can try out a few different things which you may not on a longer course but know that you can probably get away with it here.
It is unlikely that you will make Gullane 3 the centrepiece of any tour but it would be a great course to include - maybe if you are looking to do 36 holes one day then add Gullane 3 as it won't kill you either physically or mentally but you'll get some great views, some great holes and probably great memories.
BOOKING THE COURSE
Full summer green fees are at £35 in the summer during the week and £41 at the weekend and you can see availability and book online here. Twilight rounds are available from £21. The greens on all three Gullane courses are phenomenal all year round so do consider playing in the less expensive winter months.
There are few restrictions on tee times and it won't take you long to get around so if you have a spare 3 hours then Gullane 3 is a great way to fill the time.
There is such a variety of different courses in East Lothian that you could find a tour that fits most budgets. The top end trip would include Gullane 1, Muirfield and North Berwick and then adding one of the courses at Archerfield or the Renaissance. The next 'tier down' from that, but still a great string of courses would be picking any from The Glen, Gullane 2 or 3, Luffness, Kilspindie, Dunbar, Craigielaw or Longniddry. Only Dunbar is more than 10 minutes in the car from Gullane so you really are spoilt for choice.
Staying in Gullane is definitely an option and then just walking to the course. There are rooms at the Golf Inn or the Mallard Hotel as well as several B&Bs. While there's not much choice of restaurants in the village the Main Course is a nice Italian as well as the Golf Inn where you'll also get a good pint. The Old Clubhouse pub and restaurant overlooks the children's course in the centre of the village.
So there are several diversions in Gullane but you will have more choice of eating, drinking and sleeping if you take the 10 minute drive to North Berwick which has more of a seaside feel, sitting on a lovely beach and harbour.
West Links Road,
Phone: +44 (0)1620 842255