Archerfield (Fidra) - Lothians - Scotland

Archerfield Links,
Golf Clubhouse,
Golf Green,
Dirleton,
East Lothian,
EH39 5HQ,
Scotland


  • +44(0)1620 897050

  • Golf Club Website

  • Between North Berwick and Muirfield

  • Welcome, subject to tee time availability

  • Stuart Bayne

  • David J. Russell

  • Andrew Meikle

Any new golf course bounded on two sides by world-class golfing venues must be good if it is to stand comparison with its illustrious, long established neighbours. The Archerfield Fidra course lies between the 8th hole at Muirfield and 9th hole at North Berwick and, although it only opened for play in 2004, the Fidra blends very well into the group of premium golfing destinations in this corner of East Lothian.

Archerfield Links started out in life as a private members club, vying with Loch Lomond on the other side of the country for the title of most exclusive golf location north of the border. Today, Archerfield welcomes visitors subject to tee time availability.

Golf has been played on the Archerfield estate for a number of centuries and the original 6-hole course was extended to 13 holes in 1869. James Law, former owner of the Scotsman newspaper, enlisted Ben Sayers, the North Berwick professional, to expand the course to a full 18-hole layout around 1910 before the grounds were taken over by the Ministry of Defence during the Second World War.

The Archerfield estate subsequently fell into more than fifty years of decline before Caledonian Estates, Edinburgh businessman Kevin Doyle’s company, finally purchased 500 acres of land and commissioned senior tour professional David “D.J.” Russell to design two courses as part of a reputed ₤55 million development which included the restoration of Archerfield House and the construction of 100 luxury homes.

The Fidra course measures almost 7,000 yards though there are four sets of tees at every hole to allow for varying abilities. Greens are large and receptive, with subtle borrows to test the best of putters. Many putting surfaces have run-up areas in front, enabling golfers to play a traditional bump-and-run shot along the ground.

Pine trees are the defining feature over the early holes, offering seclusion from the outside world as the course picks its way through the woodland routing. The links aspect of the course comes into play from the 12th hole onward when the Bass Rock, Firth of Forth and coast of Fife come into view when these holes wind their way out to the beach at Yellowcraig then return back to the clubhouse.

In the summer of 2006 the Fidra course at Archerfield Links was joined by the new Dirleton course in offering members and their guests a very special Scottish links golf experience. The Ladies Scottish Open was hosted at Archerfield on five consecutive occasions between 2010 and 2014, and in 2015 the Fidra staged the Scottish Senior Open, which England’s Paul Broadhurst won on his European Senior Tour debut, beating Austrian Gordon Manson in a play-off.

In 2016 the Scottish Senior Open returned to Archerfield (won by England's Paul Eales), but ahead of that event, the club hosted the 2016 Paul Lawrie Matchplay, won by another Englishman, Anthony Wall. There’s no doubt that Archerfield Links has genuinely come of age.

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Reviews for Archerfield (Fidra)

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Situated between Gullane and North Berwick, the Fidra course at Archerfield Links has a contrasting mix of pine-flanked and traditional styled links holes. Rating: 5.0555555555556 out of 6

I had visited this courses (Dirleton too and also next door Renaissance) with my good friend Andy back in 2012 but we were not able to play due to a busy schedule which included Gullane No.1, Muirfield and North Berwick Archerfield (Fidra) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer but it was time to play here and it was sort of funny how it happened.

Back from the Masters in April at Atlanta Airport I met a Member called Kenny and when I told him about my trip he offered to invite me to play there so on May 26th after a long flight from Buenos Aires I went directly to the Club and as like many times in my last trips arrived to the course just 20mins before the tee time! A quick shower and to the tee to play a nice match with Kenny, His brother and good friend John in a very friendly Scotland-Argentina atmosphere.

The day couldn't have been better, 25C sun and almost no wind, which was called to be the hotest day of the year in Scotland! I really enjoyed the course and the walk, a very nice mix of links concept (fast hard fairways Archerfield (Fidra) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer and greens), Rivet edge bunkers and the smell of the ocean always there though you see water only from far away in a couple of holes. Some tough tree lined tee shots appear to be the bigest challenge, as well as holding the approach shots to very creative greens.

There were many very nice holes, specially par 4 3rd, very nice par 3 8th with spectacle false bunker before the green, par 4 10th and the 3 finishing holes.

As a private course with not as much play as the famous ones, shape was perfect and pace of play like a ready golf round.

After the game a nice pint at the elevated club house ended a fantastic golf afternoon with scottish friends, to a place that I will for sure visit again.

June 19, 2017


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Lovely mixture of tree lined (first 3 holes) and links golf. Course opens up with the lovely par 3, 4th hole. Holes 5 and 6 have a more links feel before holes 7 to 11 are back to tree lined. The best stretch for me is 12 and home where apart from a line of trees to the right of 17 and 18, it is great links terrain. Holes 14 and 15 are outstanding holes, the best on the course. I notice that Fidra is on the cusp of Top 100 GB&I. That is a fair assessment

May 31, 2017


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Played in the afternoon following my morning hit around the Dirleton. Great course. Sneaks into rare 6 ball territory. Similar but slightly better than Formby.

A number of holes at the beginning of both nines played amongst the trees on firm links quality fairways. A taste of the dune laden links holes is offered during the front nine and then the last 7 or 8 holes are played through excellent dunes.

All holes are played in isolation of others and a combination of both back nines would be one of the best courses in the world.

It’s hard to lose your ball on the tree lined holes as there is no undergrowth and the trees have been thinned to the point you will find your ball but not necessarily hit it in the direction you want. I found sandy conditions a couple of times in the trees that made good contact difficult.

Unsure if the greenkeeper would be 100% happy with greens. I’m no expert but there seemed to be a mix of grasses throughout most of them. The 8th green was the exception as it was one grass and one beautiful green. The others played well though and I’m sure as summer approaches they will play faster.

The whole day was excellent. Pricey yes, but two superb courses, well priced menus, great practice facilities and I’m glad they have opened up the course to the public as it deserves to be acknowledged as a great course.

Luckily I saved the best till last as the Fidra heads up the 12 courses I played over late April/early May.

May 29, 2017


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It’s easy to understand why so many people love to visit and play at the semi-exclusive Archerfield Links when the opportunity arises.

The very fact it is set in the heart of established real estate for golf, on Scotland’s Golf Coast in East Lothian, and has proven to be so popular, since it was created in its modern day form just after the turn of the millennium, is testament to the quality of the venue.

The Fidra course plays through mature pine trees for the first two thirds of the round before venturing out onto linksier land for the remainder. The woodland holes have a lovely enclosed feel to them whilst the “links” section of the course enjoys a more open vista, particularly compared to the gorse-riddled Dirleton course, but more on that later.

I put the word links in quotation marks above because I’m not 100% convinced it is true links golf although the course is particularly fast running and the ground game can be utilised around the greens. It’s certainly not classic links golf in its purest form; an almost faux-links style would perhaps be the best way to describe it. And although you are close to the coast you don’t ever really get the feeling that you are playing seaside golf.

A stray drive on the first 11 holes of the Fidra is likely to find Augusta-esque pine straw where you will easily find your ball and be able to advance it but not always in the direction you would like to. Hit an errant tee-shot on the closing seven holes and you will be playing from well below or above your feet on the side of a dune ridge!

I enjoyed playing into a number of the green complexes which are generous but not easy to hold as many are domed and fall away at the sides; the 11th and 16th were particularly memorable.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

May 02, 2017


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We played yesterday in very strong winds, but fortunately the holes were either into or with the wind so we only lost a few balls between four of us.

Quality setup with good warm up areas and nice lunch afterwards.

Note, check the tee markers since we played 10 and 11 as 1 and 2 in the absence of a starter or clear instructions ! We corrected it on the back nine to the slight confusion of the following group who didn't observe the mandatory ten minute stop at the halfway house. More full them, the tasty leek and potato soup was buckshee !

Pretty tree lined front nine with predominantly Ross style raised greens rejecting all but the truest approaches.

Back nine more linksy, still tough but fun.

Greens were true and in good condition for the time of year, and with the course being quiet we got round in good time.

Will definitely return for the Dirleton.

March 21, 2017


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The first 11 holes of this links course wind through lovely tree lined fairways whilst the final seven are more in the open and provide views of Bass Rock and Fidra Island. It is believed that Robert Louis Stevenson used Fidra for his inspiration when he wrote ‘Treasure Island’.

The first hole gives you a good idea what to expect, for the next 10 holes at least. The fairways are excellent, fast running, and are lined with magnificent stands of trees. The fact that this has been a forest for so long meant that man’s agricultural habits have not spoilt the sandy nature of the soil. Bunkers on this course are more of the pot bunker style and, if anything, are understated.

The course emerges from the trees after the 11th, a lovely par 5 which also features a number of revetted bunkers along the fairway.

The standout hole is probably the 12th, a par 4 of 384 yards that flows beautifully through mounds and grass plantations an dthe dog-legs right about 50 yards before the slightly raised green.

This is a well presented course with two distinct feels as you go from treed to more open fairways. In parts of the back nine you are actually only a few hundred yards from the sea… A partly tree linked links is not a unique phenomenon or a contradiction in terms as anyone who has played Formby will know.

This review is an edited extract from Another Journey through the Links, which has been reproduced with David Worley’s kind permission. The author has exclusively rated for us every Scottish course featured in his book. Another Journey through the Links is available for Australian buyers via www.golfbooks.com.au and through Amazon for buyers from other countries.
February 26, 2015


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This is a golfing experience not to be missed. You would not believe the course is just about 10 years old. I have played it for most of these years and it is getting more linksy every year. It is built on sand so that shoud happen. Holes 1,2,3,7,8,9,10 and 11 are in the pine trees but the turf is firm and not at all lush. It is a good course to play in the wind as there is a degree of protection but in the prevailing wind holes.14, 15,17 and 18 (all long pars) are a real test. The course is always in immaculate condition A great golfing experience.
August 25, 2014


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I played the fidra in august (along with north berwick & goswick). course was in great condition..greens very true...very american hospitality. i would struggle to call it a links though...the back 9 has some links `style` holes (front 9 is woodland). An enjoyable round, just a shame you dont get any views of the sea. rather you get a sense of being near the sea on a few holes...i prefer the dirleton (though was fortunate to play when all the gorse was in bloom - stunning!)..archerfield is definately worth a visit on an east lothian tour (but dont play it thinking its a links).
September 06, 2012


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It is hard to believe that a boy who learned his trade on a municipal track in Clydebank has sneaked under the Archerfield radar for a fourth time, I can only assume that the radar must be broken and the guard dogs on annual leave. My recent visit to play the Fidra now means that I have played each of the courses twice and such is the quality of the place every visit has been a glorious treat. In my review of 2 years ago I commented heavily on the Archerfield experience and I am glad to report nothing has changed on that front. The welcome is still first class, the surroundings palatial, and the courses are wonderful. I always enjoy going to a club that treats you like a member for that day and nowhere does that better than Archerfield At the risk of being repetitive, I concur with most of what has been said in the reviews below this one. Holes 1, 2, 7 and 9 wouldn’t look out of place on any of the major Surrey or Berkshire courses, I also love holes 4 and 8, two short, but very tricky par 3’s, and hole 6, which plays to green nestled behind trees and guarded by a large waste bunker. The back 9 is different in style to the front and more in keeping with the Direlton next door but although there is a slight change in style there is no drop in quality. Best being the stretch of holes from 11-13, and the 18th which is a very strong finishing hole. So now that I have played each course at Archerfield twice I feel that it is my duty to pick the splinters from my backside, and get off the fence to pick which is the better course of the two. It has taken a two year deliberation to decide this period, difficult decisions like this take time don’t you know, and I have plumped for the Fidra, but there is almost nothing between them. Archerfield now gives tee times, albeit at a price, for golfing plebs like me so more golfers will have to chance to make that decision for themselves. MPPJ
November 03, 2011


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Javier
July 18, 2012
Archerfield (Fidra) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerAs with Nairn when I was at Inverness, I could not play the courses at Archerfield but after breakfast at the Club House we took a ride along both courses, which I really liked. They are not links courses and although the piece of land is different, they look like Chapelco Golf Club in Argentina: pretty wide open, very nice rolling greens, lots of pines and yellow gorse, which all together make it a very nice golf day. And accommodation is really good at the Lodge or the Archerfield House, really high end. And if you come here you can combine these courses with Gullane No.1, Muirfield, North Berwick and Dunbar to make a very nice week of golf near Edinburgh.
The Fidra is just a delight to play. Its largely tree-lined front nine holes contrast beautifully with the more open back nine, affording the layout a feel that’s pretty much unique to any other course in Scotland. And even though it’s maturing nicely, that still hasn’t stopped the club from adding subtle little touches like installing gorse-topped banks to screen teeing areas from the green site of holes just played. And speaking of greens, they are enormous - allowing plenty of devilish pin placements if the need arises. I can see why the recent Ladies Scottish Open was held here as this course has quality stamped on each and every hole from start to finish.
September 09, 2011


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