North Berwick West Links is a proper true links course from start to finish. The starting and finishing hole have the most classical set-up thinkable, reminding me of the St Andrews set-up: leading you out of and back in to the village, in front of the clubhouse. The remaining holes play alongside the friendly shore, west of the village. The course does not have the dramatic elevation changes and views of the East Links, but the 18 holes are definitely of a higher (golfing) standard then at its easterly sibling.
Due to the age of the West Links - and the minimal alterations to suit the modern golfer - it has some funky holes & blind shots, giving it the quirkiness of a links course. The turf is also the real deal: proper links turf from start to finish.
Much has been said already about the famous - most copied - short par 3, the walls used as obstacles on the par 4's and the green with a lower ridge, splitting it in two, and it is all true and there to be enjoyed. Maintenance is at a very high standard, but the greens were not the best greens we have been putting on during our trip.
But one way or the other, the course did not charm me all the way. Maybe it was the almost mechanical way the course is fully packed with fourballs from dawn to dusk, maybe it was all the waiting during the round, maybe it is the commercial feel around the whole course when compared with other links courses, who will tell.
Being - without a doubt - one of the best courses west of Edinburgh, I would rather spend my day at a links course less commercialised.
Date: June 14, 2017