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From North Berwick, follow signs to East Links Golf Course
Welcome - contact in advance
James Braid, Ben Sayers and Philip Mackenzie Ross
Jim McCann originally nominated the Glen Golf Club as a gem back in 2005. Since then the course has made our Scottish Top 100 rankings which we published in 2009. The following passage is Jim’s original article from 2005.
I have lost count of the number of times that I have played at a club that lives in the shadow of a nearby ‘must-play’ course and come away thinking ‘what a golf course that is.’ The Glen Golf Club in North Berwick is a prime example.
The west course at North Berwick, just a couple of long drives away, gets all the plaudits in this neck of the woods but the east links of The Glen deserves recognition as a cracking alternative venue. Because most of the course is played on a cliff top, the views across the Firth of Forth to Bass rock and the island of Fidra, then beyond to the Kingdom of Fife, are a magnificent backdrop to the terrain over which the 18 holes are laid out.
Nine of the twelve par four holes are less than 400 yards so the layout will not tax you for length. Rough off the fairway is often long, wispy grass so you can cut loose with your driver off most tee boxes. Greens are not overly undulating or raised with run offs to throw slightly miss-hit shots away from the pin.
There is a holiday feel to playing here with so many people nearby relaxing along the beaches or walking along the hill paths. The signature par three 13th hole ‘Sea Hole’ which hugs the coast may be the one most advertised by the club but what a driving hole awaits a few holes later at the last when the elevation drops a hundred feet or more at ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ down to the green by the clubhouse – a thrilling, exhilarating way to end a great round of golf.
The clubhouse is undergoing a complete rebuild, which will bring The Glen slap bang up to 21st century speed as the club celebrate a centenary in 2006. Check out their interesting website at www.glengolfclub.co.uk and here’s one for ALL golf club secretaries – beside the bar, there are questionnaires from the secretary, asking visitors for opinions on all aspects of their visit to the club – what a refreshing change to see a club that actually wants feedback on what they’re doing and where they could be doing better. It tells you all you need to know about the hospitality of a great little club like The Glen. James McCann.
North Berwick is a very pleasant seashore village that served as our base during our first golf trip to Scotland last year. North Berwick has two beautiful golf courses on each side of the town. The West Links is the better known golf course and attracts most golf tourists visiting North Berwick.
On the other side of the town the East Links is situated, better known as the Glen. It offers a true and honest golf experience.
The Glen also has a departure and return in front of the clubhouse, but since part of the course is situated on a raised plateau, the Glen also offers magnificent views over North Berwick, Bass Rock, the Law and the Firth of Fife. On a good day one can see the Forth bridge of Edinburgh.
The Glen - not being excessively long - offers a nice variety of good golf holes, and excellent greens to test one's putting skills. The Glen has been there quiet some while, and one can feel the maturity of the golf course when playing it.
Where the West Links is normally totally jammed from dawn till dusk, Glen offers a quiet and pleasant golf experience.
We discovered the Glen last year during our trip, and we returned this year, enjoying the course as much as last year!
The Glen Golf Club, often referred to as North Berwick East Links, is one of the most popular and the best value of all East Lothian golf courses.
Overlooking the town of North Berwick the cliff-top course enjoys simply sensational views across the Firth of Forth; as good as you’ll find on any golf course.
The coastal layout provides an enjoyable test but doesn’t quite stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the more recognised links in this part of Scotland; not that it pretends or tries to. The turf isn’t quite as good and the green complexes don’t hold as much interest as the real top drawer courses but that’s not to say a visit here isn’t warranted because it is.
The Glen promises much but for me ultimately just fails to deliver, but only if you are expecting the very high standard which many other courses deliver in East Lothian. This isn't really a negative on the course, more just a nod to the extremely good and tough competition East Lothian provides.
That said, go to The Glen with modest expectations, get a beautiful day, simply enjoy the walk and I suspect there are few better places to be.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.