Does Gullane’s No 1 course have the best tee box views in the UK? It would get my vote. Based upon my own experience, the views here are unparalleled. I played here on a picture-perfect Summer’s evening with the sun setting during the back nine. The scenery from each lofty tee position was truly magnificent. White sandy beaches, the Firth of Forth, Muirfield, North Berwick Law and even Arthur’s Seat and Edinburgh were all visible in the distance and helped create a fine walk around Gullane Hill.
Gullane No 1 is an honest, simple course that’s draped over the side of the hill. There are no template holes or hidden tricks and there’s nothing brash or flashy about the place. But I did like how you start the round close to the village where the practice green is set on a traffic island next to the members’ clubhouse and the 1st tee butts up against the road. Both the 1st and 18th then play in between the roads whilst the rest of the course traverses up and down natural linksland on the side of hill. The 2nd hole is unique given that it’s nestled between two dune ridges whereas the rest of the course is more exposed and open to the elements. The course then really shows itself at the par five 3rd hole for it’s the land on this side of the hill across which most of the golf is played. Thereafter, you’re faced with a winding journey as you traverse up, over and around Gullane Hill across green ribbons of fairway that are separated by deep yellow fescue.
I wouldn’t say that any of the holes themselves are individually as memorable as many of Scotland’s other highly ranked courses, and I felt that the course misses the humps and bumps that I love to find when playing a links course, but the eighteen holes as a collective still make for a quality course. I’d probably select the par threes at 9 and 13 as the pick of the holes, along with the par five 12th with the teeing ground that sits on top of a steep cliff face. The anti-tank concrete fortification blocks on some of the holes on the back nine are also an interesting feature and make you realise that these are much more peaceful times, but thankfully the serene conditions of that Summer’s evening meant that any fierce battles on this land were confined mainly to the history books. Gullane’s a fine place to enjoy a round of golf and my only regret is not having played the other two courses as I left with the overwhelming feeling that Gullane is more about the sum of its parts rather than any specific individual highlights.
Date: November 05, 2020