After playing as our first links experience almost 10 years ago we were dying to return to the West links. That day was incredibly enjoyable but slightly dampened (literally) by a brutal hail fuelled finish.
So after all feeling we'd had some unfinished business we've just played again and thankfully the only thing to blow us away this time was the course.
As the article says this is pure golf, and an exquisite club. From the welcome you receive to the handshake goodbye, it just doesn't get better than this for sheer enjoyment. The first hole epitomises what's to come, a relatively free drive and then short but demanding second uphill to a fortress green which looks almost like it could be a land attached mini bass rock.
The course is great fun but still has teeth and depending on wind direction can be exacting.
On this occasion an easterly breeze meant the second and SI 1 third holes played tough, each of them require solid drives, the former over the beach to a dogleg right fairway. If you chose caution and hit it left there is plenty of room but chances are you'll be blocked out by huge undulations in the fairway, exceptional design rewarding you for taking on the corner!
The 4th hole starts a collection of wonderful par 3s, much is talked about the redan 15th but both 4 and 6 are also great holes, requiring mid to long irons, the latter having a huge bunker short and a shot over a crater.
The 7th is a short par 4 with a fairway that slopes down the the green, and the burn, a lay up to the brow of the hill and a short to mid iron in is the best approach.
The next string of holes encapsulates what Berwick is about, getting the most out of the land rather than sticking to convention. We go 5,5,3,5 in terms of par, this is the place to do your scoring! Each of the 5s are different, and encourage a free swing from the tee. The latter two place the premium on the approach, miss the 9th short at your peril and the 11th has a wicked bunker right of the green, you will be well below the surface should you find it and the wind never helps your bid to extricate yourself!!
From here the course gets better and better with a series of unique and wonderful holes that need to be played rather than described. It's impossible to pick a favourite so just enjoy them.
I would say this is predominantly a second shot course, you need get it off the tee for sure but your iron play needs to be crisp and if it is you should score well.
The only disappointment is that the round has to finish. This is simply brilliant golf and I cannot wait to come back.
Date: October 15, 2018