There is one very simple reason for the poor ranking I have given Craigielaw - the greens. Once you are finally safely on the putting surface they are good, the ball runs true and they are a decent pace. However, the job of actually getting the ball there is unlike any other course I have played. The best way I can describe them is that it is like hitting the ball onto a concrete surface where the chances of holding the green are nigh on impossible on quite a number of holes.
Speaking as a 5-handicap golfer who plays 90% links golf I feel I have an idea of what a good links test should be. Unfortunately Craigielaw fails in that regard. Well over half of the greens are an "upturned saucer" design, invariably guarded by deep bunkers, meaning that you have little option but to carry your approach shots the whole way to the green. The aforementioned rock solid greens then ensure that you have absolutely no chance of stopping the ball and you are left with devillish "up-and-downs" on a number of occasions. The point here is that good shots are not rewarded at all and that is surely a failing of the greenkeeping staff and the course designer's failure to consider the nuances of links golf.
It is a shame as the general layout of the course is good and in decent condition (I am even willing to grudgingly accept the holes at the start of the back 9 encircled by houses) but you certainly cannot help but look across to Gullane and the like and wish that you were playing there instead. I'm afraid I doubt I would return anytime soon.
Date: September 20, 2016