Gullane Golf Club - No. 1
Gullane Golf Club's No. 1 course, one of several East Lothian golf courses, might get lost in the shadow of its famous neighbors, if it weren't such a great championship course in its own right. Gullane No. 1 is an Open qualifying course and jointly hosted the 1998 British Amateur Championship, won by Sergio Garcia. Over the years, Gullane has hosted the British Boys Championships, the Youths Championship, the Scottish Strokeplay, and the British Ladies Championship.
The first hole, a fairly benign par-4, requires only a solid drive and a short iron for the approach. Don't get false confidence: the second might be the course's hardest, with a tight tee shot, uphill-all-the-way play, and frequent wind. Take in the view of the village of Gullane from the 17th tee, and finish off the 350-year-old golf course.
Gullane Golf Club welcomes more than 30,000 visiting golfers per year, and the clubhouse provides ample refreshment; for bar food and a pub vibe, hit up the nearby The Auld Clubhouse.
|Red (W)||74||5903 yards|
|Championship M: 74.0/133||302||412||523||164||450||337||398||471||194||3251||466||471||480||178||478||580||194||390||385||3622||6873|
|White M: 73.0/129||302||390||496||144||450||324||398||414||175||3093||466||471||480||170||435||537||186||390||355||3490||6583|
|Yellow M: 71.0/124||287||345||479||134||436||299||398||398||141||2917||434||427||423||160||409||487||177||390||338||3245||6162|
|Red W: 70.5/120||280||340||471||127||420||289||392||351||134||2804||398||420||413||135||406||466||166||379||316||3099||5903|
The Hill of Gullane
This course features Gullane Hill. It might be the course with the most and greatest elevation changes in Scotland. The hill is featured and visited throughout the round. This is a true links and might be the favorite of low handicappers. There is not really any quirk. The 7th hole has a blind drive with an aiming pole. Other than that, it is all right in front of you.
Off the course, there is everything you need. A putting green (or two), driving range, restaurant and you get to use the member's locker room and car park when you play #1.
In regards to green fees, they offer many options. During the week is definitely a better value and the only time you can play 36 on #1. They also offer reduced fees for playing two courses on the same day.
On the course, this is what they would call a fair test. The use of the hill is what makes this place and it is visited multiple times. The routing knows the usual wind as long par 4s and short par 5s played with and into the wind properly. As for aesthetics, the views from the top when you reach the 3rd tee box are excellent; as is every other visit to the top of the hill. There is bunkering that occasionally goes across the fairway (usually a par 5) but most of the bunkers are placed for missed shots off the fairway and around the greens, the elevation changes add to the challenge, the greens have some contour but nothing on a Machrihanish Scale. If the wind is up, this would definitely be very challenging.
If in East Lothian, there are courses that are better known (Muirfield and North Berwick), but if spending a few days in the area, this should be the third course you choose.
First course in Scotland in a while
This was my first time playing Gullane No. 1 and the first time I had played in Scotland in six years. The experience was great. The staff was extremely friendly and there was never an issue with pace of play. It was fun to walk again, the first time I've done that in recent memory. The course was in great shape. The first hole was smooth sailing, but the narrow, uphill second taught me the importance of keeping my ball in play. The elevation changes were very impressive and you could see Muirfield at some of the peaks. The 17th hole was particularly memorable as it was straight downhill and just begging me to hit a driver as hard as I could, which is what I did. I think I might have hurt myself. But it was fun walk and a good game.
Gullane, home of a Scottish Open
They're so nice and friendly at Gullane, which made the experience great before we even hit the first tee shot.
Then, once we did, it's great fun. Gullane No. 1 hosted the Scottish Open in 2015 (Rickie Fowler won) so we knew that the track had plenty of chops.
I mostly enjoyed the elevation changes, there were a lot of them. You can spot Muirfield a couple times, and the last three holes were especially tremendous.
The 360 view on top of the 16th green was awesome and the tee shot on the downhill par-4 17th hole was quite a treat, especially since we were downwind.
Why it's worthy of the Scottish Open
We've been intrigued by Gullane for a few years -- we passed the course every day on the way to cover The Open when it was at Muirfield in 2013. It exceeded my expectations. Make no mistake about it, this is a tough golf course, especially in a 25-mph wind. It seemed like every hole we played was into the wind, which made for a brutal round (and some high scores). The seventh hole, from high atop the hill, is one of the best views in Scottish golf, and the 17th hole -- a drivable par 4, straight down the hill, with bunkers guarding the green -- is one of the most fun holes I've ever played, anywhere. It's little wonder this place hosted the Scottish Open in 2015. Great track.
Fun times for all
While not you typical seaside links, Gullane #1 is a must see golf course. I was paired with a wonderful gentleman who had just been made an honorary member, having been a member there for 50 years! I got plenty of insider tips on how to play the course. It's a typical out and in links, with some substantial elevation changes. The course sits high on the hills by the sea so on a windy day it can be seriously tough. Generous fairways, lots of roll with big contoured greens. Very playable. An added bonus, Gullane has an easily accessible driving range
An unsung and unique gem near Muirfield
Gullane is a bit overshadowed by it's illustrious neighbor, Muirfield, in crowded East Lothian, but I'm happy to see that this course will finally get its due as a host of the 2015 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
Gullane is hardly an ordinary links with a few really neat features. It's a lot hillier than most links, which lends itself to both more variety as well as some wonderful scenery from it's higher vantage points. It's bunkering steals the show, as it reminds me of Royal Porthcawl in the design of the severe, tiny pots that can surround many greens.
I would say the only thing keeping this course from a true 5-star experience is that the opening and closing holes aren't the best, and it sounds like the Scottish Open will employ a composite course, using some holes from Gullane No. 2.
Gullane is one of the world's great golf towns. Not only does Gullane Golf Club have three courses to play, but you can have dinner in the Old Clubhouse (or Gullane's beautiful clubhouse) and get a tour of the Heritage of Golf Museum from Archie Baird. Gullane is a true golf mecca, even if you don't get onto the more exclusive Muirfield, and shouldn't be missed by any golf group in east Scotland.