This is a terrific golfing experience, a wonderful challenge for the better golfer, and a fair test for the higher handicap. But you have to be driving the ball straight and long off the tee to enjoy the round and have any chance of a good score. An out-and-back moorland design – it can appear quite forbidding on a dark, overcast day such as the one on which I played – it is extremely hilly from the fifth hole onwards. The opening four holes on level ground were superb; after that it’s an extreme rollercoaster ride to the highest point of the property, the short par-3 13th. Up there the wind is at its strongest, yet it’s probably the easiest one-shotter on the course, although don’t be long over the back of the green. East Ren has two of the most unusual and daunting par 3s in Scotland, Nos 7 and 11. They are more like mini par 4s, both playing uphill and requiring a cracking fairway wood to have any chance of reaching the putting surface. East Ren might not appeal to everyone because of the steep climbs and some uphill approach shots, but for anyone who loves classic golf design from an earlier era in the game, this James Braid layout will provide you with a fun-filled day.
Date: December 30, 2016