At first glance the Dirleton is a tougher test of golf than the Fidra and the opener is definitely more challenging with a high, longish second shot needed to hold a green which always seems to encourage the ball to fall off the the left. Certainly, compared to Fidra you need to hit the ball straighter to score - there are no forgiving trees to hack out of, rather manmade dunes knee deep in rough to gobble up your ball. Having said that if you can keep it in play the greens are generally accessible and there is less risk of being faced with a 20 yard chip if you just roll off the green than on Fidra. One other important factor is that the prevailing wind plays across you on most holes rather than up and down meaning that if it is a windy day you are probably likely to score better on Dirleton than on Fidra. The holes seem to have a better variety in many ways than Fidra - 15, 16 and 18 are all great long par 4s while 4 and 12 may be short but can both wreck a scorecard. The course is stunningly presented and the staff are as good as anywhere you can play. Archerfield isn't to everyone's taste - there is no history and of course it is exclusive - but the Dirleton must be one of the best presented courses in the country and is a far better test of golf than many of those ahead it in the rankings.
Date: May 29, 2009