A single round has been enough for North Berwick West Links to become my favorite place in golf, ahead of other illustrious courses such as Royal Dornoch, Royal County Down, Brora or Cruden Bay.
Very different reasons contribute to that conclusion: the atmosphere of the club, elegant, but not overly exclusive, its history, the perfect communion with the city, the landscape and, especially, the personality that exudes the course.
As for my experience, what promised to be a disastrous day of golf became one of the most unforgettable days on the links: the morning of June 14th awoke with a pleasant breeze of more than 50 mph that, in any other case, would have discouraged us from any type of activity. In fact, we were able to advance the our tee time due to the numerous cancellations.
These circumstances, as it cannot be otherwise, conditioned the round and the way of appreciating the course, especially the first 9 holes, in which the wind against prevented any strategy other than mere survival. In addition, the ball should be marked on the green when we thought it should have stopped, as it never came to rest.
As an example, in the 4th hole, a par 3 of some mere 150 meters I had to play a full and low drive that managed to reach the green for my first par.
As it is imaginable, in he back 9, the most interesting part of the coursed, the problem was the opposite, since the ball seemed to never want to stop in the fairway.
However, this did not prevent me from savouring the most extraordinary sequence of holes I have experienced in golf, from the 13th, the famous The Pit, to the end.
In the 13th, it became more mandatory than ever to hug the bunkers and the stone fence with the drive, so that the second shot could be able to come near the flag, because otherwise, only a ball bouncing before the fence could rest on the green.
The 14th is also a hole of exceptional beauty, with an extraordinary and blind second stroke over a hill towards a green that embraces the beach, one of the most beautiful spots in the whole world of golf.
The 15th, Redan, impresses by its dimensions and by the extraordinary slope of the green, although, on that day, it was no more than a 9 iron downwind.
When we were thinking there were no more surprises left, the 16th hole stroked us again with its extraordinary Biarritz style green, almost impossible to hold even with a putter for my second shot, no more than 25 yards from the green.
The 17th is another strong and tough hole, to give way to the 18th, which may be indifferent due to its length and lack of obstacles, except for the oob to the right, but which, perhaps for this very reason, participates in the magic of the described sequence of holes.
Finally, once the round is finished, nothing better than going upstairs the clubhouse to enjoy some well-earned pints and take a little longer to enjoy such a special place. In my case, I could have continued until the end of the day.
M.M.A., Barcelona, Spain.
Date: June 22, 2018