Gullane (No.1) - Lothians - Scotland

Gullane Golf Club,
Gullane,
East Lothian,
EH31 2BB,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1620 842255

  • David Morgan

  • Unknown

  • Alasdair Good


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Gullane

“Gullane Hill, with the sun shining and the wind blowing, the black clouds banked beyond the Forth, and just a glimpse in the distance of the mighty tracery of the Forth Bridge, is one of the most beautiful spots in the world,” wrote Bernard Darwin in an article for Country Life called, On Gullane Hill, which was reprinted in his book, Playing The Like.

Gullane is a small town that lives and breathes golf: there are five superb golf courses in this locality, including the mighty Muirfield. The Gullane No.1 course was laid down in 1884 and is the most senior of a triumvirate of courses at Gullane Golf Club. Records dating back to 1650 show golf being played over these links, though it is unclear who originally designed the No.1 course. Therefore, until we can establish otherwise, we must put it down to Mother Nature.

Gullane is blessed with the most exquisite turf – winter rules are not needed here. If you hit the fairways, a perfect lie awaits, even in the depths of winter. The opening hole, cunningly called “First”, is a relatively gentle short par four. The 2nd hole, called “Windygate”, begins the march up Gullane Hill. The 3rd hole is called “Racecourse”, a short par five which plays along what was once an old 18th century racecourse and it continues to take you onwards and upwards, now at a canter, until you reach the 7th tee and the 200-foot summit of Gullane Hill.

The 360-degree views from the vantage point of the 7th tee are simply breathtaking. In the foreground, all around, are the fluttering flags of Gullane, Muirfield and Luffness New. The Lammermuir Hills lie to the south, while the Firth of Forth wraps up the panorama to the north, west and east. And now, it’s time for the 7th hole and its inviting downhill drive and the scurry home down Gullane Hill.

If you have read up to here and you haven’t yet played Gullane No.1, it will come as no surprise to you that there is the requirement for varied uphill and downhill shot-making. This in itself is quite unusual for a links course and makes Gullane all the more fascinating.

Don’t be misled into thinking that Gullane is a quirky old-fashioned affair; this is a high class golf course, host to many important competitions, including Open Championship Final Qualifying and the 2015 Scottish Open, which Rickie Fowler won by one shot courtesy of a 72nd hole birdie. The 2015 and 2018 Scottish Open (which South Africa's Brandon Stone won after posting a 10 under par final round) utilised a composite course taking sixteen holes from No.1 and two holes from No.2.

To complete the Gullane experience, visit the club’s fascinating museum, put together by past Gullane captain, Archie Baird. Archie is a golf historian and collector who wrote Golf on Gullane Hill.

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Write a review

Reviews for Gullane (No.1)

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Gullane Golf Club is blessed with the most exquisite turf – winter rules are not needed here. If you hit the No.1 course fairways, a perfect lie awaits, even in the depths of winter. Rating: 4.9 out of 6 Reviews: 27

I don't have much to add but I will say this – the atmosphere when you come to Gullane is clearly a golfer's oasis. In many ways the complex of courses at Gullane reminds me of the totality of the golf experience one gets when at Bethpage on Long Island. Since the facility is open to the public you find a range of people partaking in the myriad of elements provided.

The terrain is what makes #1 so much fun – it's always changing. Predictability is not something one can rely upon when playing the course. The wind can be especially fierce at times but the links does allow for a ground game option so smart players can use the slopes of the land to their benefit if the skills are evident.

The gentle opened belies what you get with the imposing 2nd hole. The fairway tapers down noticeably and the putting surface is a fine one too. The long narrow green requires a deft touch to get one's approach somewhere near the hole.

Unlike other links courses that have gone bonkers with rough that has become insanely high – there's enough wiggle room at #1 so that misses are not eternally banished. Fun golf – not the slog variety – is the storyline. The views of the region are clearly front and center and when blessed with fine weather and a healthy breeze at work the joy of being alive and on the grounds is no less than what Bernard Darwin penned.

Many who venture to East Lothian will be making a pilgrimage to such places as Muirfield, North Berwick and for others Renaissance. But, Gullane #1 is no less an important visit to be savored. Be sure to spend a bit of time at the exquisite golf museum put together by Archie Baird – a real capper to one's time here.

by M. James Ward

5 / 6
Gullane (No.1)
September 25, 2017


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review

I have played a few of the top courses here in the UK and it is not very often you can say 'the course had 18 great holes'. Sunningdale Old and New has a few 'weak' holes as does Swinley and the Old Course has more than it's fair share etc etc yet they are none at Gullane No1. From the moment you venture out of the delightfully old, yet beautifully refurbished, Clubhouse on to the 1st till you walk back in again after sinking that final putt you will not be disappointed. The course has a fantastic mix of short and long holes for the par 3s, 4s and 5s and each one has its challenge. The course starts on the edge of town with a gentle par 4 of some 300 yds that has a kick just like every hole in that the bunkering is just fantastic; all in the right place at the right distance for all levels of player. You then play up through a valley to the top of the hill before playing on the plateau above the sea, before rising up again for great views across Gullane and then down again before the dramatic 17th back down the hill into Gullane and the final hole; another short but extremely well designed 300 yrd hole. Pick of the holes for me were the par 5 12th, par 4 7th and par 3 13th but as I said there was not a weak hole on the course; theses were just my favorites. £120 a round is not bad for the round but add another £25 and you get to play the No2 Course as well which makes for 36 holes of excellent golf and much better VFM. PS the burger in the Clubhouse is to die for.

6 / 6
Gullane (No.1)
September 19, 2017


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review

The No.1 course is relentlessly persistent in producing quality golf holes, one after another. It winds its way up, over and around Gullane Hill creating, as you would expect from the rise and fall in terrain, a variety of holes in the process. The views are truly spectacular, none-more-so than the vista from the 7th tee where taking in the panorama from here will add at least ten minutes to your round!

However, before you get to that point you will have tackled six very different holes. The first is a gentle opener with bunkers rather than length the main defence. You then snake up the second with an angled fairway requiring a draw shot to put you in the perfect spot to find the long, narrow and leaning green. If the well-placed bunkers are avoided at the downhill par-five third you may have the chance to pick up a shot. And that stroke is likely to be required because the short fourth, with a slightly raised green, and the 450 yard uphill par four fifth offers little hope of birdies. The sixth is perhaps the best chance of improving your score at this delightful short par-four perfectly etched across and up the hillside.

From the highest point on the course the descent is rather more sudden than the march to the top.

The course has some truly fantastic views but don't be fooled by the amazing aspect that acts as a backdrop to almost every hole because, as good as it is, the scenery is most definitely a supporting act to the superb golf on offer.

The course doesn't possess the quirks and idiosyncrasies that some links courses muster but that isn't to its detriment. This is true championship links golf.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

5 / 6
Gullane (No.1)
May 26, 2017


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review

Excellent course. Wasn’t what I was expecting. Thought it was going to be a slog up and down the hill but this was not the case. Obvious elevation changes but routed beautifully and very few average holes. Maybe the first and the 10th (which is being revamped) are the only mediocre holes. The 2nd is a beautiful hole as are a number of the holes down the other side.

It was a round I didn’t want to end. Played it with some nice West Coast folk. Expect to see a couple of putters on the road to Largs over the next day or two.

Greens were huge and smooth with subtle contours, nothing outrageous. The rough was manageable, penal but likely to find your ball on most holes.

Bunkering is superb, tough and hard to avoid. The little one right in the middle of the fairway collected my nailed drive down the hill (maybe the 8th?) and what I thought may have been a possible eagle putt turned into double bogey. When your ball goes in at speed they tend to sit within an inch or two of the face and that is savage.

Great course that caters for fun and a challenge. Getting close to 6 ball territory but not quite. I may have jumped the gun when I recently ranked Craigielaw 5 balls as well – let’s just say Gullane is a strong one. Warren from Aust

5 / 6
Gullane (No.1)
May 04, 2017


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
This is as fine a course as you could find. An absolute gem of a golf course and my favourite place on earth.As much as I love G1, it has to be said that the 1st is pretty average but from this point onwards the course flows and the holes are superb with those around the turn exquisite. Holes 7 to 13 are as good a stretch as can be found. In fact, when you stand on the 13th tee, you cannot believe you have completed 12 holes already!Fast, true running greens will have you testing your skills with the short stick and fine iron play is a must. All in all, a brilliant golf course in a stunning area of land.
6 / 6
Gullane (No.1)
June 04, 2015


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
Response
Dr J Taylor Hil
November 15, 2015
Gullane No1 is firmly amongst the ranks of the toughest courses for girls and ladies anywhere in Scotland. It is officially rated 13th most difficult course from the ladies tees.Ladies and junior girls' medal competitions are predominantly played on Gullane No3.
Apart from the town of St Andrews, nothing typifies the feel of Scottish golf better than the lovely little village of Gullane. You literally just walk a few yards from the quiet main street and there are three courses waiting for you. The No. 1 course is the best of the three and has hosted numerous tournaments.

Holes 3-6 are a slow climb to the peak at ‘Queen’s Head’, the spectacular par four 7th. From the tee, you have magnificent views down to Aberlady Bay. To your right is Muirfield. Straight ahead are the rippling fairways of Gullane No. 1 and No.2 courses. Slightly left and further away lies Gullane No.3, Luffness New, Kilspindie and Craigielaw.

Three long holes await you at the turn with 10 and 11 being very tough par fours at 466 yards and 471 yards respectively. The back nine presents a more difficult set of holes and the two par threes, the 13th and 16th, are no exception given their length and bunkering.

Gullane No. 1 is hillier than most Scottish links courses but the holes are not too demanding. The course is beautifully maintained and it is quite a stiff test, especially in the wind. If you can’t get a game at Muirfield, then be assured, this is the next best thing.

This review is an edited extract from Another Journey through the Links, which has been reproduced with David Worley’s kind permission. The author has exclusively rated for us every Scottish course featured in his book. Another Journey through the Links is available for Australian buyers via www.golfbooks.com.au and through Amazon for buyers from other countries.
5 / 6
Gullane (No.1)
April 10, 2015


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
How can a long plane trip and a not so good performance influence on a course review. Being tired and when your swing is not working that good makes you sometimes "suffer" the round, but it was not the case: a nice sunny day, 20°C and little wind made it a great experience. The Club itseld makes you breath golf with its 3 courses, the very nice visitors Club House and the Members Club House, Gullane No 1 Golf Course - Photo by reviewerwhich we were able to enjoy in a nice lunch. We played the course in early afternoon and I can say we were lucky to see the course in a very nice moment of the day, with great light for pictures. The course starts on a nice and easy par 4 (which I birdied) but then offers a combination of tough and nice holes starting on 2nd (which I double bogied), the short par three 4th, very tough 5th and nice 7th down hill to a very protected green. From its tee you can see plenty of Muirfield (HCEG) located some yards away. The back 9 offer more difficulty and less birdie chances, specially after easy par 5 12th. Overall it is a course that has to be played and as it happens with Inverness, East Lothian can offer more than a week of good golf and accommodation witout the need of going to St Andrews. East Lothian and mainly the cities of Gullane and North Berwick have a big bunch of links courses that have to be played, but also you can add hidden gem Archerfield with its 2 courses. If you have been to Scotland and not played in this part of the country, get a plane ticket and don't forget to include Gullane No.1, a final open qualyfying for 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield. Click to read my full story: 13 Courses in 13 Days.
5 / 6
Gullane (No.1)
July 12, 2012


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful and 1 did not
Respond to above review
Response
Bill Raffo
October 08, 2013
Having read little before taking on Gullane number one, I was shocked by its beauty and what a stiff, fair test of golf awaited me. This course is not for the high handicapper. It requires long, accurate tee shots between fairway pot bunkers and just off the fairway, the tall grass. The test is tee to green as the greens are not tricked up, were in perfect condition and a joy to putt on. To me, it's the best links course I've ever played and that includes Shinnecock and National in the US and North Berwick and Muirfield in Scotland. I was blown away. I have no idea why this isn't a top ten course in the world, between the quality of the golf and the scenery playing up in the clouds, it's just a must play for anyone gong to Scotland. Unlike another reviewer, the people and staff could not have been friendlier and more accommodating. They stored my luggage, called me a cab and thanked me for coming. Well done Gullane, you have a world class golf course on those hills and someday, I shall return!
BGD
October 09, 2013
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but, while I enjoyed Gullane 1 very much, I didn't think it was nearly as much fun to play as North Berwick, nor was it as good a course as Muirfield. What I did like about Mr. Raffo's response was the joy and enthusiasm he expressed for Gullane. Courses and our opinions of them are personal things. For him, Gullane is number one.
Gullane is a special place, this is very much visitor orientated but with a great membership – visitors and members are treated very well and blend together easily. The No. 1 is probably the pick of the three courses and well worth playing. A friendly first hole at only 300 yards should get you off to flyer – The 2nd hole is a different par-4 altogether, a tight drive up Gullane Hill and then a tough approach soon wipes the early smile from your face! The 3rd tee is one of the great spots along the East Lothian coast, you are at a height when you can seen plenty of the course and with the Firth of Forth in the distance, take time to enjoy it. Many players talk of the 7th tee experience and I agree, another great place to see the course and this great coast-line….. So many good holes on the outward nine but the tough par-4 8th is a pick of mine – bunkers at driving distance on the left and then more of them protecting at the green, which runs downhill from front to back. The 13th is a fine par-3, called “Hole Across” – slightly uphill, all carry basically for about 175 yards – a quality hole. The last two holes are fun to play, a great view on the 17th tee of Gullane’s other two courses and the town - then the last green in-between the 1st tee and the road is great finish. Gullane as a golfing town has got a lot going for it, super courses and the staff have the balance spot-on in pleasing the members and welcoming the guests…If you want to impress the locals, refer to Gullane as Gillane - a name used by those in the know!!
5 / 6
Gullane (No.1)
June 23, 2012


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful and 1 did not
Respond to above review
Response
nick
September 26, 2012
I think its a great track as is #2 ..have not played #3...but as a visitor (unfortunately not a guest of a member) I did not feel I was welcome or treated with even a moderate level of hospitality. staff were disinterested & aloof when i signed in & the visitors clubhouse is very basic. I really felt unwelcomed...so much so that on my next visit i did not bother going in the clubhouse after my game, rather down the road to the golf themed pub. Gullane is not cheap, especially relative to north berwick or dunbar where, incidentally, visitors are welcomed with open arms. I heard that gullane generates so much income they can do what they want & have decided to treat visitors as second class citizens. I heard they had so much disposable cash that was the reason they built the visitors club house (to do something with the cash)...dont get me wrong, i loved the course..but if im going to spend £100 on a round i would at least like my business & support for the club to be recognised. Im a member of sunningdale and we accomodate & look after our visitors. we dont need the income but we value our reputation & hope visitors get an all round good experience.RD
Martin
September 07, 2013
Nick. Please accept this invitation to come back to Gullane as my guest to see if we can change your opinion. I assure you that you obviously caught the club on an 'off' day.
JHM Macinnes
December 22, 2013
Oh the dilemma of it all! Opinions are of course personal by their very nature but equally-so they are open to 'persuasion' by those made by others and the human need by us all to be accepted for what we are; Gullane 1 is a dilemma for me. In fact all three Gullane courses create this dilemma. Sure there is the need to be fair without falling prey to the danger of saying nice things because of the high esteem that this part of the world is held. For me the review is about all elements that make up a review; not just the course. However I agree with Nick's comments about the dis-interested/aloof staff and the visitor's clubhouse is not a great place whether architecturally or for the stodgey and basic food served. Yes, there is an over-whelming sense of being under-whelmed by Gullane. it's not a true links course in the way of Cruden Bay or Dunbar or Western Gailes, Royal Dornoch etc etc. The hill to climb on the 2nd is tiresome ever loathsome and yes the views are great but then they're even better on the proper, flat to undulating courses that I've mentioned. I can understand why the opinions of the 'crowd' will always be full of praise but for me I can't really see what the fuss is about. Locally, Dunbar and North Berwick are better as a test of golf. The condition of the courses at Gullane is certainly worthy of praise but as an all-round review I can't get away from that hill and that reception and feeling of being treated as second-class with money-making the sole aim of the club regardless. I'm disappointed in Gullane but recognise that many reviewers are happy to speak well of it without looking too closely at its cleverly disguised failings. JHMM (handicap 1.1)
danh
December 25, 2013
Whilst checking in at visit club house is undeniably a little under whelming, once you have paid any outstanding amount as a player of Number One we were told to use the main Club House. Still a little lacking in atmosphere, but nice view across the first tee and friendly staff.
I bumped into someone that I played a few games with last year in the car park before playing here yesterday. Nothing of any great surprise there you might think but when you consider that we both live at least 55 miles from Gullane on the other side of the country, Gullane (No 1) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerit’s more than a little coincidental to find us fronting up for a game on two different courses on the same day at this golfing mecca – and that’s because Jim, who’s contributed many a review to the Top100 site, prefers (like me) to go where he can play top quality, affordable golf that offers true value for money and where better to head on a gloriously summer day than Gullane! He told me he’d had a good round -thanks in no small way to the hole in one he had had at the par three 13th on the No. 3 course - and he wished me good luck for the afternoon. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my post lunch romp up, over and around Gullane Hill though the heavy rough bounding a number of the fairways somewhat limited my Stableford points total for the round. Nonetheless, the course was in wonderful condition, running as firm and fast as I’ve ever seen it. If you haven’t yet experienced the magic of Gullane then you really want to give yourself a good shake and remedy that situation as soon as possible. Jim McCann.
5 / 6
Gullane (No.1)
May 24, 2012


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
Is Gullane the top golfing town in Scotland? In my mind East Lothian's finest is right up there, even with St Andrews. If I could bottle and sell the feeling that I get when Gullane Hill looms into view I could retire tomorrow and not worry where the price of my next fish supper was coming from, I love the place. And, if the ever burdened car parks are an indicator, I am not alone.

Gullane No.1 - Photo by MPPJ A gentle start precedes the uphill, slender 2nd. A short uphill climb is now required to get to the third tee but, believe me, it is well worth the effort as what awaits you is a view that spreads out like a giant golfing gourmet buffet, all you have to do is tuck in, which I eagerly did at holes 4, 5 and 7, my favourite holes of the front nine. I do believe that the back nine is stronger with holes 11-13, 15 and 16 all you could ever desire of any course especially on a winter rate of £41 till the end of March 2010, a bargain. Last, but by no means least, a special word for John the steward and his girls who ensured that 4 hungry travellers from the west were fed, even though the kitchen had closed 5-10 minutes before our arrival. But, then again that doesn’t surprise me as that is only a small part of what Gullane is all about. A place where guests are royally looked after, and golf is played in nigh on perfect conditions irrespective of what month of the year it is. Which is why this reviewer makes a visit to Gullane at least once every year. MPPJ.
5 / 6
Gullane (No.1)
February 12, 2010


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review