"Having played on Gullane No.2 in the morning and No.1 in the afternoon, my mind is in an agreeable jumble between the two," wrote Bernard Darwin in his 1934 book, Playing The Like. "I am inclined to think I am the fonder of No.2, but here again there may be a personal motive; it is decidedly the shorter. There is, of course, a strong family likeness between the two, because on both we have (like the Grand Old Duke of York of the poem) to march up to the top of the hill and march down again."
Golf at Gullane dates back to 1650 but the club wasn't founded until 1882. The then current Open Champion, Willie Park Jnr, laid down Gullane No.2 in 1899 for ten guineas.
Gullane No.2 runs parallel to No.1 for the first seven holes. It's a flat beginning and then a steady climb up the hill. At the 11th, the charming view of Aberlady Bay opens up but don't let this distract you too much because this is probably the best short hole on the course, which invariably plays into the prevailing wind to a front-to-back sloping green. Frank Pennink remodelled the 12th hole in 1969 and it takes you on a journey to the edge of the secret and picturesque nature reserve. "We feel as if we were playing in a little world of our own - ours and the gulls' and the rabbits'," wrote Darwin.
There's an overriding feeling of openness at Gullane. The sky is big and the course seems wide and open, but it is an illusion: each hole has its fair share of trouble and it lulls you into a false sense of security. Gullane No.2 has played host to Open Championship Final Qualifying, so it's certainly not a pushover. Play No.2 along with No.1 – you'll have a memorable day on Gullane Hill.
Gullane No 2 having played No1 course a couple of years ago I had a sneak preview what was in store. What a splendid variation of homes that follow the natural undulations and links terrain in this panacea of golf. The course is amazing with views over the forth estuary once you have climbed the hill across the road from the clubhouse. The high winds provided for a stern test but an enjoyable one, greens magnificent condition along with the fairways, in my experience I thought this was more of a playable and idyllic course than No 1
My son and I Arrived at Gullane on a wonderfully warm and sunny day in June. Played 18 holes on No 2 course on our first two days and 36 holes on No 3 on the third. The new visitors clubhouse had been open for just one day when we arrived and provides everything needed including breakfast and lunch options, well stocked professional shop and plush changing rooms. It was nice to be able to hit a basket of complimentary balls on the driving range too before playing. On to the course. Having played the first six holes and amassed a total of 15 and 16 points respectively, our immediate thoughts were that the course was pretty easy, but then we turned into the wind !! Even on a warm, sunny day with only a moderate breeze, some of the next 10 holes were the toughest I've ever played. Chatting to others in the clubhouse after the round there were many tales of 20+ points on the first 9 and single digit points on the second 9.
The views form the course are outstanding and overall it has to be up there with one of the best I've played. In terms of value for money too, this was fantastic. We managed to play using the GreenFree 2 for 1 vouchers and paid just £75 for the two of us. Although we would have loved to have played No 1, at £190 a round each we just couldn't see how we would have got an extra £300 worth of enjoyment out of it. Would definitely recommend.
Gullane can blow you away - literally - because the wind can be relentless out on that exposed hill. No2 is a little short to be called a championship course by today's standards, but with the wind buffeting you it can certainly provide a challenge. The greens framed by revetted pot bunkers are what sticks in the memory for me - coupled with long wispy grass they form the quintessential links image. It's a great course, providing a mix of holes, testing your ability to deal with wind from all directions, and offering some great panoramic views.
Most venues with multiple courses either offer 2 championship courses, or 1 good course and 1 rubbish course. Gullane achieves the trick of providing 3 quality courses that all look the same but actually provide very different tests and cater for a wide range of tastes and budgets. I wish this was done more often.
A treat awaits you as you reach the peak of the hill on the blind 2nd, an amazing far reaching view of the coast and several of the challenging holes ahead of you. Fantastic condition throughout.
Wonderful Value For Money - As you drive past Luffness New and up over the crest of the hill, Gullane hits you. Golf holes either side of the road, a pro shop sat on the edge of the town and alongside the 3 courses as if watching out over all who enter.
The welcome from the shop staff and starter was warm and in no way stuffy or awkward.
Gullane #2 is a fantastic layout of holes, a gentle start to welcome you in, the 3rd hole is a poor hole, but we can forgive it as it gets you into a stretch of truly memorable holes. Views across the Firth of Forth and golf holes as far as the eye can see, this is truly a golfers paradise.
The course is a test, but not unplayable; manicured, but natural; long enough but in no way a slog.
Given the green fee and the overall experience this is a true value for money course and one we will be venturing back to.
There are things I like on #2 even more than #1. A couple holes that are not my favorites, but numerous wonderful holes. The back nine is great fun and has some holes requiring thought. Excellent views and good fun. Be sure to say hello to Tom in the visitors clubhouse, he makes sure everyone has a cold drink and hot lunch, but don't forget to remove your hat!
The second course at The Gullane Golf Club in East Lothian is appropriately called Gullane no 2 as the club deigns to number their courses in the order in which they were founded.
As with No 1, No 2 suffers a little with the opening and closing holes up and down the hill not quite to the standard of the rest of the course...
Nevertheless No 2 is a real links golfing gem- the quality and variety of each hole throughout the middle section of the course in my opinion actually shades its older brother. No 2 may be slightly shorter than No 1 but the golf is at least its equal.
The wonderful revetted pot bunkers at no 2 really define the links. With quality turf throughout and greens as pure as any links course, No 2 demands your attention, tests your golfing skills and leaves you wanting to return.
Notable holes include:
- hole 4, a strong par 4 with a chain of bunkers crossing the fairway short of the green
- hole 7, a lovely shorter par 4 with sea backdrop
- hole 11, a challenging longer par 3 well protected by 5 greenside bunkers and another 3 short that need to carried...
- hole 13, a longish par 4 where the thinking golfer will come to the fore- bunkers off the tee must be avoided!
Too many travelling golfers drive through Gullane to play North Berwick or Muirfield without giving Gullane a second thought. I for one will not make that mistake again!
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
Gullane #2 is an excellent course in its own right, and the first of the 3 that i played, but having played #1 and #3 subsequently the rankings are correct. #2 is like #1 but less so. More ordinary opening and closing, more gentle slopes, flatter up at the top. Still a superb course with excellent greens - if you are hitting it well you will love the course, and will need every club in the bag with the inevitable wind. Great value too, although as a miffed reviewer notes you don't use the main clubhouse, but the alternative is fine and friendly. With the difference in price and accessiblity between them, it's a toss up which I would play next.
I played Gullane 3 then 2 in a great 36 hole deal. Gullane 2 is still relatively short but I found it a stern test, there’s a lot of clever bunkering and many a hanging lie. It can be easy to rack up big numbers, especially with the usual wind. I asked a local if it was always gusty enough to be blowing over bags and his response suggested I’d asked a stupid question.
There aren’t many flat holes on #2. It’s a ball strikers’ course, I’m not good enough to truly strategize but you’re always better off on one side of the fairway. The 7th and 8th were used in the Scottish Open lay-out but many other par 4s wouldn’t have been out of place. I loved the far end of the course, 11 is a downhill par 3 with an amazing panorama and the half dozen par 4s surrounding it are dramatic, remote and really scenic. Catch it at the right time and you’ll have a remarkable spot to yourself; Gullane can be a bleak but in a beautiful way.
The conditioning was also excellent, the greens fast and true and the turf some of the best I’ve enjoyed. I guess what’s holding Gullane 2 back is that it has consistently good holes rather than outstanding, plus the obvious competition in the area. I didn’t find any greens which stunned me, nor the roll-offs and catchment areas other layouts have. Therefore I liked it rather than loved it, it is as ‘proper’ a golf site as you could find but it probably wouldn’t be the highlight of a trip.
Gullane #2 is a fine golf course that takes awhile to get going, but once you get into the holes on the other side of the hill, it offers both scenery and a lovely setting. Unless it is a windy day, this is a very friendly golf course and one should likely score 2-3 shots better than one's typical score.
The first three holes are not much, too short and not very interesting. The fourth is a longer par four but does not play to its length.
It is not until the seventh hole that the course gets more interesting due to better placement of bunkers. The ninth hole in particular with ten bunkers is very interesting, although as a short hole they can be easily avoided.
The 11th, a long par three that has numerous bunkers is perhaps the course best hole, certainly it is the finest par three on the course. The 11 begins a very fine stretch of six holes 11-16. The 12th and 13th have perhaps the two best green complexes on the golf course.
Although the 14th is short at 366 yards from the back tee, I always seem to have difficulty with it by trying to drive too far left. It is a clever golf hole.
The par five 16th hole is well defended with bunkers on the tee shot but suffers a bit from a green that is not that well defended for a par five.
The 17th and 18th are much like the start, the holes are compressed by the road and a lack of land. They are uninteresting.
Gullane #2 is not a golf course I would rush to play other than as a warm-up round to a golf trip or perhaps as the second round of the day. It is an enjoyable walk with terrific views of Aberlady Bay. At less than 6400 it does suffer from a lack of length but I also believe it suffers from a lack of better bunkering. In sum I thought there was one good par five, two good par fours, and two good par threes.