GUllane no 2 - 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!
It says a lot about Gullane Number 2 that many consider it to be almost as good as Gullane 1 - one of the very best courses in Scotland. The course really is a good test and is in no means an easy course to play. If you are looking for the really fun short course then go to Gullane 3 - if you want to play where a lot of the members play then stick to 2.
Number 2 will give you all of the great green quality, bunkering and variety at a cheaper price than number 1, maybe it's not got the great holes of the premier course and the test isn't quite as strong but it is still a classic Scottish Links golf course which will be great fun to play.
The course dates back to 1898 - like the New Course in St Andrews being the second course doesn't mean it's not got heritage! It opens with a 350-odd yard par 4 which is a pretty benign hole until you get to the green when you will get sight of some of the challenges which are to come - it's well bunkered with some sly slopes but a very true surface.
From there it's over the road to the short par 4th which anyone visiting Gullane or Muirfield will have passed on the way into town which starts the climb up the hill which reaches it's peak at the 3rd green. There is no doubt that the 3rd is a bit of a slog but it is well worth the climb as the course then opens up to the vista of Gullane 1, 2 and 3 - not to mention neighbouring Luffness - in the foreground with Edinburgh, the Firth of Forth and the Kindgdom of Fife behind. It really is a glorious sight!
From here on in the course is a real joy. There is very little tricked up about it - with only a couple of exceptions everything is laid out in front of you - and no holes are ridiculously long. This in no Gullane 3 though - off the men's tees it is a 6,400 par 71 which will test most clubs in the bag at some stage and the par 3s are a particular test, all clocking in at least 175 yards long. And yet, it's hard not to play the course without a smile on your face. The fairways run fast, the bunkers may be plentiful but they are never to penal and the greens in this neck of the words must be some of the most playable all year round in the world. Indeed it is said that the greens in Gullane may be the best winter greens in the whole of Scotland, playing pretty much as well as they would on a summer's day.
After winding your way out to the coast and back you will stand on the 17th tee with the bulk of the course behind you and a steep drop back to the village before tackling the 18th which is a lovely way to finish the round. You cross the A198 to a short par 4 but it tests the nerves knowing that passers by will be watching (on foot on in the car) as you play up to the visitors' clubhouse.
All in all, it would be wrong to say the Gullane 2 is the best course in town, Muirfield and Number 1 would have something to say about that. However, you will find a great course in great condition which will be a perfect second round after a slightly harder challenge, especially if you are looking to do 36 holes in a day.
BOOKING THE COURSE
Full summer green fees are at £53 in the summer during the week and £56 at the weekend and you can see availability and book online here. You can also get a day ticket on a summer weekday for £64 or add the number 1 course as well for a total of £149 which is great value. Twilight rounds are available from only £32 which is a great deal and there are winter deals too. The greens on all three Gullane courses are phenomenal all year round so do consider playing in the less expensive months.
There are few restrictions on tee times and as a result Gullane 2 is a really great course as a more than worthy 'filler' to any East Lothian golf tour.
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