Why do we not play Dunbar every time we are in the region? The usual reason is that someone wants to play North Berwick and/or Muirfield. Sounds familiar? I am not going to tell you to drop any of these two icons for Dunbar if you can fit them into both your itinerary and your budget. However, in most cases that is not the case. Here are a couple of points to consider. They may be reasons to pick Dunbar, or to avoid it, depending on your preferences.
First, it has a quiet start, a fact which causes some reviewers to mark it down. To me, it is a virtue. Who wants to start the round by being savaged or ridiculed? As the design nerds among you know, I have Harry Colt on my side of that argument! There are plenty of difficulties later on in the round. My view of the course would be very different if it started with the 7th...
Second, it is a classic out-and-back layout on a narrow strip of land with the sea on one side and a high wall on the other. The stakes are clear, do not miss right... Even if that is not your exact idea of fun, you should still consider Dunbar for variation as Muirfield and Gullane are very different layouts.
Finally, whether you love it or just like it, Dunbar is accessible. They take visitors morning and afternoon, weekdays and week-ends, so you can often play 36 in a day, which I personally appreciate. Together with the tightening of visitor access to Gullane No. 1, this helped Dunbar onto our itinerary last time after we had left it out so many times. We loved the course and it will very likely feature next time as well.
Date: March 26, 2017