Kilspindie - Lothians - Scotland

Kilspindie Golf Club,
Aberlady,
East Lothian,
EH32 0QD,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1875 870358

  • John Leslie

  • Willie Park Jr., Ben Sayers

  • Graham Sked


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Kilspindie

Kilspindie Golf Club is situated beside Aberlady Bay in East Lothian. The 1439-acre bay was made the first British Nature Reserve in 1952 and its salt marshes and mudflats support a large variety of plants – such as rushes and sedges – which provide breeding grounds and resting places for many birds, including waders, ducks and geese.

Kilspindie is one of the oldest clubs in the world (35th oldest to be precise) having been formed in 1867. The game of golf has been played in these parts for hundreds of years; one of the first courses in the world was created along the coast at Musselburgh where Mary Queen of Scots is reported to have played in 1567.

King James V was a frequent visitor to Aberlady in the early 16th century when he came for "the archery and golfing” though his attention for the ladies of nearby Gosford was also known to be another reason for his presence in the area! The former course at Aberlady was a short, 5-hole layout known as the Wanster course and it was built on holes seven to eleven of the present 18-hole layout. The club moved here four years after the breakup of Luffness Golf Club in 1894, when some members broke away to form Luffness New.

Kilspindie measures only 5,480 yards from the medal tees. Although the par is 69, the Standard Scratch Score is 66 so that lets you know you should not be in for too torrid a time when playing here, weather permitting. There is one par five and four par threes on the course. Only three of the par fours are greater than four hundred yards in length –indeed seven of the thirteen par four’s are less than three hundred yards, so length off the tee is not a major factor.

From the opening 167-yard par three (“The Point”), to the 252-yard short par four final hole (“Home”), you will find a charming, old fashioned, traditional Scottish links course which is only one of the many golfing pearls to be strung out along the southern shores of the Firth of Forth. With a small, private road that winds its way from the main Gullane road, alongside Aberlady Bay to the clubhouse, Kilspindie literally is one of those much quoted “hidden gems” of Scottish golf.

This small corner of the country is golfing nirvana, where the great game of golf always has been, and in all probability always will be, in safe hands. Put simply, you owe it to yourself to sample golf in its simplest form at Kilspindie and also many of the other courses in the local area.

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Reviews for Kilspindie

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Description: Although it's not long, Kilspindie Golf Club is everything that links golf should be. Step back in time and enjoy this true gem. Rating: 4.5 out of 6 Reviews: 17

Kilspindie Golf Club is the 35th oldest golf course in the world and this year celebrated their 150th anniversary. This seaside links layout was originally designed by Ross and Sayers but later updated by Willie Park offering panoramic views of Edinburgh across Aberlady Bay and the Firth of Forth beyond. When I was there in early October, seals were sunbathing on the sandy shoals in low tide and the geese were starting to migrate Kilspindie Golf Course - Photo by reviewer here for their annual pilgrimage. Stunning indeed and maybe an omen.

Don’t be fooled by this very short 5,494-yard par-69. Kilspindie is a true ‘Scottish Links Course’ where wind will be factor and strategy is much more important than distance. #1 Rule - Stay out of trouble. Deep fescue line both sides of the fairways and strategically located sod-walled bunkers force you to avoid them at all costs. Hit it straight or be prepared to be challenged.

The outward holes are by far the most challenging and scenic of the two. There are six holes that play directly onto the coastline so make sure you have your camera to capture the moment.

The 1st hole is only 158-yards but heads directly towards the ocean and normally plays into a strong crosswind. You must bounce your Kilspindie Golf Course - Photo by reviewer tee shot short left onto this large firm green while still avoiding the five pot bunkers in front.

The 2nd hole maybe the most challenging of them all. This tight par-5 normally plays directly into the prevailing winds with the ocean looming on your right. The par-4 3rd hole, nicknamed ‘Arthur’s Seat’, offers a blind tee shot and a sunken green that juts out to a point. Another hole that reinforces that you need to bounce your approach shot short on these putting surfaces.

The closing 18th hole is a risk/reward driveable par-4 with a stone wall that runs down the left side and starts again as you approach the green. Two large bunkers protect the front left and out of bounds are to your right. A great way to finish your round.

Kilspindie may not be long but it will challenge every club in your bag. One of my favourite golf courses to play with hickory cubs in East Lothian Scotland.

Dave Finn is our Canadian Correspondent. To read more about his golf travel adventures visit www.goftravelandleisure.com

5 / 6
Kilspindie
November 03, 2018


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Reminded me of Crail’s Balcomie course. The opening holes after the benign par 3 opener were excellent. Running along the coast and forever threatening the right hand slice they provide a stiff test especially in the chilly wind I experienced in the late April cold snap.

The pick of the holes for me was the par 3 eighth hole at the far end of the course. To take on the green you need to take on the little inlet. It needs a good strike.

The inward nine were well conditioned, maybe a bit flat and uninspiring in places but still fun golf. The rough was thin enough and wayward slices went unpunished. At times I should have been playing 3 off the tee but was actually having a shot into the green, albeit not quite the angle the designers had in mind.

The course is short with the last 2 holes playing well under 300 yards. The stone wall provides a nice feature on these holes and can come into play if you hit the ball particularly poorly. All up with 7 holes at or under 300 yards it would not provide a big enough challenge for serious golfers but for fun and forgiveness it rates well. Warren from Aust.

4 / 6
Kilspindie
April 25, 2017


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The 18 holes at Kilspindie are such an enjoyable place to play links golf. You won’t find championship standard golf here but that’s not to say the course doesn’t present plenty of challenges, it does, and you will have much fun rising and perhaps falling to them.

Kilspindie opens with a relatively straight forward par three. The proximity of the clubhouse and the knowledge that your first shot of the day is with an iron (along with a good chance of some onlookers) is probably more daunting that the series of bunkers that front the green.

The next three holes all run along the shoreline and with fantastic views across Aberlady Bay to the golf courses at Gullane it’s easy to be distracted from the task at hand. The second hole is a par five, the only one on the scorecard, whilst the third and fourth are medium length par fours. There is plenty of room to the left on all three holes but the favoured approach is from the right, especially at the two par fours, so a risky drive close to the beach is ideal!

There are lots of lovely green complexes throughout the round and because there are a number of short par fours you will get to enjoy a series of tricky pitches and partially blind shots into them. Sometimes you’re not sure if you’ve hit it close until you get to the green.

An old stone wall comes into play towards the end of the round which adds further character to Kilspindie.

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

4 / 6
Kilspindie
March 22, 2017


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We scheduled Kilspindie as the first course in our eleven course tour, hoping for a gentle opener after our long day of travel. Kispindie was anything but gentle that day. After the short first, the par three which we played in a stern cross wind, we went out against what was a constant four-club wind. For example, I hit a solid four iron from 130 yards into the wind (it came up a bit short) and wedge from 180 yards (yes, it went long). But we loved Kilspindie, links golf at its finest. Yes, short but challenging and and beautifully designed.
4 / 6
Kilspindie
July 01, 2015


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Don’t let the total length of just 5480 yards mislead you. This is a wonderful course to hone your accuracy and have lots of fun. And when the wind blows off Aberlady Bay you may find some of the holes play a little longer than the card would suggest.

The opening hole is a par three, well bunkered, and often plays directly into the wind. The next three are literally right along the water’s edge. The 2nd hole is the only par five and can require a very demanding tee shot. By the time you have completed the narrow 415-yard 3rd, you will realise that Kilspindie is no pushover.

If there is a standout hole it is probably the 8th. A par three of 162 yards, it follows the coastline of Gosford Bay. As the hole curves right and the wind is often from offshore then you have to be brave enough to start your ball out over the water.

The first eight are possibly the best but there are some interesting holes on the back nine. The 16th is a par four of 412 yards with eleven bunkers, mainly on your left. The approach to the short par four 17th requires you to play over the remnants of a stone wall. The 18th is a very short par four of 252 yards. The perfect shot is to aim for the left of the clubhouse with a very slight fade.

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.
4 / 6
Kilspindie
April 12, 2015


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Played Kilspindie on July 8th at 3:00 PM with my son and was the first club played on a golfing trip to Scotland. It was a beautiful sunny day and the course was crowded as many other golfers were enjoying the nice weather. Kilspindie was a pleasure to play and was a nice warm up to the other great links courses played during the trip.

Kilspindie only measured about 5,500 yards from the medal tees with only one par 5, 3 par 3s with the rest par 4s that measured between 250 yards and 436 yards. The links played hard and fast with many beautiful views courtesy of its great location on the shores of the Firth of Forth. It definitely has a great location as evidenced by its neighbors which include Muirfield, North Berwick, and Gullane.

Some of my favorite holes included number 2 (Kings Kist), number 3 (Arthur's Seat), and number 4 (The Target) which required accuracy off the tee and were right on the shore of the Firth of Forth. The par 3 8th (Gosford Bay) was a nice testing hole. The last 2 holes (Craigielaw and Home) were short par 4s that were unique as an old stone fence separated the holes.

Overall the course was in great condition, was a pleasure to play, and was reasonably priced. The staff at the course were excellent and the members were very friendly and showed a true interest in how we enjoyed playing their course. Would highly recommend golfers that are in this area play this short links as a warm up to the other great courses in Scotland and you will not be disappointed. Click here to see a You Tube slideshow of some pictures I took during my visit. Jim Brady
5 / 6
Kilspindie
July 22, 2013


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Played here in May, and thoroughly enjoyed the golf course. Straight from Glasgow airport, after a 7-hour flight from Toronto, a quick lunch and onto the links. The food was fantastic, the golf course, although a little short by modern standards, was in great shape, and a great way to start a 2 week vacation. This truly is a fun golf course to play, and the views are fantastic.The members we met during and after our round were certainly the friendliest in Scotland - and that's not a knock on any of the other great courses we played. They were all proud of their course, and genuinely interested in how we enjoyed our day. Will definitely be high on my list of courses to return to on the next trip.
5 / 6
Kilspindie
July 01, 2012


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Kilspindie is a course of modest length that lacks the massive dunes of many an Open Championship layout. Kilspindie Golf Course - Photo by ReviewerHowever, it is a traditional links set on prime coastal land with superior sea views, a hint of quirkiness and bags of charm. Many of the par fours are short when played with modern equipment but are proportionate to the challenge of the prevailing wind. Indeed the entire course set up, from original design to everyday conditioning is commensurate with the prevailing conditions. The medium sized greens run at a good pace but are not shaved so short that the ball could be blown away by heavier gusts. Very few are raised or have elephants buried underneath but the sites for the 4th and 8th are truly magical in aesthetics and challenge. My positive view of Kilspindie has been formed despite the non-availability of course planners on the day which darkened my mood initially. In summary, a fair and fun challenge.
4 / 6
Kilspindie
September 14, 2011


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Richard
November 28, 2011
Kilspindie Golf Club is a quiet, fairly short, magnificent little links course hidden near the great courses of Muirfield, Gullane No.1, and North Berwick. The course doesn’t quite reach 6,000 yards, but the narrow undulating fairways and the strategic bunkering make this course anything but a pushover. This is an absolute first class links course that deserves consideration when travelling in this area.
Practice those 30-80 yard pitch shots before your visit and you should be rewarded with plenty of good birdie opportunities. Kilspindie is a lovely links course which is perfect for holiday and social outings. Higher handicappers will love it because, at less than 5500 yards, it is not going to beat you up. While it may not represent the challenge of some of its neighbours, there are still some wonderful holes with beautiful bunkering. It was presented in fine condition when we played on a glorious mid-April day. Stand-out holes for me were the par 5 2nd, the well-bunkered downhill par 4 6th and the delightful par 3 8th where the beach awaits anything pushed right. There were one or two 'nothing' holes, however. The par 3 10th and short par 4 13th spring to mind and the finish is a little weak. Nothing to be too scared of if you do have a good score going! If they had just a little more land it could be great. Aside from the golf, the views across Aberlady Bay are fantastic. You may even be lucky enough to see seals basking on the sand. Nice day out, if a little overpriced at £50 a round. IS
4 / 6
Kilspindie
April 13, 2011


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I played Kilspindie GC two months ago and my lasting impression is that it must be, or certainly should be, a popular destination for mixed ability club/society outings. There is enough interest and challenge to entertain the better players and with a few par threes and lots of short par fours the less skilled players should be able to gather a flattering number of stableford points. The course is relatively easy walking and the setting is lovely so it’s hard to imagine a round here will seriously disappoint anyone. Although I always try to accentuate the positive in my reviews there were a couple of things about my visit that irked slightly. Firstly, at least half of the greens were covered in those big, unfilled holes. I can’t remember if this is called “coring” or “hollow-tining” but whatever it is it doesn’t half play havoc with the roll of the putts. I’m sure that there were good agronomical reasons for it but you don’t expect it in the middle of July! This was never mentioned when we booked about two days earlier nor did the chap in the pro shop mention it when we paid. Then again, he didn’t give us any information at all about how to get into the club, where to change, where to warm up or practice etc. I acknowledge you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to work this stuff out but a wee bit of effort adds to the visitors’ experience. Even more strangely (in my humble opinion) when we returned the handles of our trolleys the same chap never asked if we enjoyed our round/the course. To me this is like going to a nice restaurant and not being asked by staff if you enjoyed the meal. This smacks of indifference and complacency to me and was very different from the treatment we received at Ladybank the following day. Having got that off my chest, I will return to the positives – Kilspindie is well worth visiting, possibly as an appetiser before talking one of the meatier local links.Derek, Edinburgh, September 2010.
4 / 6
Kilspindie
September 21, 2010


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