Dunbar - Lothians - Scotland

Dunbar Golf Club,
East Links,
Dunbar,
East Lothian,
EH42 1LL,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1368 862317


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Dunbar

The North Sea coastal town of Dunbar is steeped in history, its ancient ruined castle stands guard over the town’s twin harbours. Golf has been played in and around Dunbar since the early part of the 17th century, but the Dunbar Golf Club wasn’t formed until 1856 when a rudimentary fifteen-hole course was laid out and the course was later extended to eighteen holes.

In 1894, Old Tom Morris was called in to alter and to further extend the course. Extra land, part of the ancient deer park of Broxmouth estate was acquired at the turn of the 20th century and four new holes were built. Finally, in 1923, Ben Sayers and James Braid were called in to advise on bunkers, resulting in the installation of sixty-one new sand traps.

The course is laid out on a narrow strip of land with the best holes hugging the rocky coastline affording resplendent views across the North Sea to Bass Rock, a huge volcanic lump rising up out of the water.

The first two holes at Dunbar play up and down the old deer park and they are flat, ordinary and park-like. The 2nd green was once a shelter where the deer were fed. The 3rd has an interesting story to tell, a par three called “Jackson’s Pennies”. Mr Jackson was a retired local businessman and in the 1920s he used to sit behind the green and award a penny, a king’s ransom in those days, to those who played the hole well. At the 4th, a lovely par four called “Shore”, Dunbar begins to play like a classic links course, the views open up and the wind becomes a more prominent factor. The next thirteen holes are wedged between the coastline and a fine-looking old stonewall where out-of-bounds threatens beyond. The finishing hole, aptly called “Hame”, plays back to the clubhouse across the old deer park.

Dunbar East Links is a relatively short course, measuring 6,597 yards from the medal tees, but the wind generally makes the round thoroughly challenging and immensely entertaining. There is so much history to be absorbed in the East Lothian and a visit to Dunbar will help to complete the lesson.

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Description: Dunbar Golf Club is laid out on a narrow strip of land with the best holes hugging the rocky coastline affording resplendent views across the North Sea to Bass Rock, a huge volcanic lump rising up out of the water. Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Reviews: 39
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Ian Smith
Played on 14/6/08 when it was in excellent condition. While the 1st is regarded as one of the weaker holes a new burn in front of the green makes it a much tougher challenge and a better hole for it. It's a relatively short course but the wind can make a huge difference. Downwind on the way out it seemed simple, but it was a different animal for the last few holes back into the breeze. If you can get the twilight rate it is excellent value and a warm welcome awaits in the clubhouse which offers fantastic views out to sea.
June 18, 2008
8 / 10
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Martin Franklin
Played on the Friday of the Open 2007 this was a pleasant return to a gem of a links. A testing breeze (a mere zephyr to the locals), a little sun and a course in first class condition all contributed to an enjoyable day. Add that to a well stocked & helpful pro-shop and a friendly club house (scotch pie, chips and beans - you cannae beat it) and you have all you need for a perfect day out.
July 30, 2007
8 / 10
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Richard Smith
Another outstanding course that compliments the amazing stretch of courses from Lossiemouth to Gullane all the way down to Berwick upon Tweed. Dunbar starts with three fairly unremarkable holes, then you pass through the ubiquitous wall which will form the right hand boundry of the rest of the front nine. The back nine is simply outstanding. The views across the bay and towards the town of Dunbar are outstanding, and the holes are a marvelous collection of some of the best par 4's in all of Scotland. The plainness of the first three holes probably keeps this course out of the top rank of Scottish links courses, but I would always try and play Dunbar if I were in the area. Great club, friendly members, and a wonderful experience of classic links golf. Richard Smith, Knoxville, Tennessee
June 03, 2006
10 / 10
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Jim Robertson
I always really enjoy playing Dunbar. It is yet another classic Scottish links course, not possesssing the grandeur of 'the greats' but testing, fun and a visual treat. There are several super holes - the 3rd and 17th are fine short holes - and use the wall for a friendly bounce at the 6th! Play here, North Berwick West and East and any of the Gullane courses and you will understand links golf and how it gets into your head (never to depart).
May 01, 2006
6 / 10
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Richard Smith
This course is way, way underrated. I would easily rate it in my top 100. The first three holes and the par 4 last are on the inland side of a wall. The start is average, at best, but once you cross the wall to the seaside part of the links the course is magnificent.Dunbar has a wonderful collection of par 4's, and the loop from 12 to 17 looks across a bay towards Dunbar town. These are extreamly challenging and the holes have an enormous variety of different challenges.I've played Dunbar twice and I would always play there if I was in the Gullane/Berwick area.
November 19, 2005
8 / 10
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Jim McCann

Its hard to fault any of the preceding reviews of Dunbar. As ever, discerning golfers give fair comment on where they have played and I can only echo most of their remarks: Yes, this is seaside (almost holiday) golf played on a narrowstrip of land with an out and back layout, bounded for long spells by a huge stone wall to the west.

Yet the greens and fairways are positioned such that you rarely feel restricted by play on adjacent holes.It is a very fair track where you can open your shoulders and let rip from the tee but if you are caught in a trap you may well have trouble escaping as many of the bunkers are deep and coffin shaped, containing an unusual mix of sand and crushed shell. But there’s no real tough rough to speak of so straying slightly from the fairway isno big deal.

It’s a pity the quarry inland from the holes at the turn has such a negative visual impact on the surrounding landscape at that point. On the plus side, the clubhouse seemed a bit rickety and run down but it oozed character and was a very welcoming place to escape to from the wind which was continually blowing across the course during the round.

One final, pernickety point. When did you last see holes and flagpoles as old fashioned as the ones in use here? Just another wee item which adds to the Dunbar golf course charm. Double up with a round at nearby North Berwick (West) links and you have a cracking 36 holes of golf for the price you would pay for just one round at one of the more celebrated Scottish links.

Jim McCann

August 26, 2005
8 / 10
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Kevan Voce
If you like seaside golf you will love Dunbar. After the first three holes - which are all good by the way - you are playing classic in and out links golf. The sea is never out of sight and I do not think there is a weak hole on the course. The Par 3s are superb. Not quite as good as North Berwick which has several very memorable holes but well worth a visit.
July 11, 2005
8 / 10
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Steve Smith
After an average start, this course proved how it is possible to fit holes into a narrow strip of land without giving the golfer the impression that shots could encroach on to other fairways . Out of bounds wall to the right of the 4th, and the 18th on the home stretch was a little strange. However the compensation of some wonderful holes, tricky greens, and teeing off at times almost on the seashore more than offset any criticism. A beautiful setting where the sea seems to dominate every view, and inevitably where the wind's influence was constant.
April 27, 2005
6 / 10
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Keith Baxter

Dunbar should be on your play list, just as Muirfield and North Berwick will be for any serious golfing trip to East Lothian. The first two holes and the last are certainly the weakest, but the rest are solid. The greens and indeed the green sites are quite stunning...firm, fast seriously contoured and tough to read. End up in the wrong place on the green at your peril. In many ways, Dunbar is reminiscent of Kingsbarns and North Berwick...the main difference is that you feel more shoe-horned between the huge stone wall and the coastline, this makes each hole look tight but well defined. Surely Dunbar should be placed more highly in the rankings, it is a gem and so much history attached to this delightful club.

October 06, 2004
7 / 10
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