NEWBURGH, Scotland -- Newburgh-on-Ythan Golf Club delivers both new-world and old-world links golf in the Scottish Highlands.
The club, founded in 1888, is sandwiched between two world-ranked links, Cruden Bay Golf Club to the north and Trump International Golf Links to the south. Golfers chasing these higher-ranked courses might drive by, but savvy golf lovers will enjoy discovering Newburgh-on-Ythan's beautiful views of the Ythan River and the mammoth sand dunes across the estuary, which leads to the North Sea.
The club's original 18-hole course shrank to nine holes after World War I. It was extended to 18 holes again in 1996 on land high above the river. This new nine, the current front nine, alternates between uphill climbs (at holes 1-3-6-8) and downhill holes (2-5-7-9) through gorse and wispy fescue. Perhaps the most unique challenge, the 354-yard fourth hole, uses a stone wall in the middle of the fairway as its primary hazard.
Newburgh-on-Ythan Golf Club's original back nine follows flatter land with fairways that bounce and bump near the river. Blind shots over ridges into bowl greens offer an entirely different presentation of an old-school links. The 15th hole is drivable (albeit blind) from the 264-yard yellow tees. The tricky, par-3 16th hole and wide-open, par-4 17th roam along the shore. The difficult, par-5 finishing hole doglegs left to a green below the unique hilltop clubhouse built in 2001.
Newburgh-on-Ythan proves you don't always need Trump's dunes or money to build a good thing.