Ratho Park Golf Club evolved from the New Century Golf Club (formed in 1900), which then merged with the Corstorphine Golf Club. James Braid designed the club’s new course which was formally opened in 1929 with a challenge match between Braid and another of the Great Triumvirate, Harry Vardon.
Located within the estate of Ratho Park to the west of Edinburgh, the club purchased the mansion house and grounds in the mid 1950s, transforming the former into one of the best clubhouses in the country and developing the latter into one of the foremost parkland courses in the land.
Today, Ratho Park measures a little under 6,000 yards (with a par of 69 and Standard Scratch Score of 68) and is laid out on a compact site bounded on two sides by the Union Canal, virtually shielded from the outside world by mature trees surrounding the property – as the club says, it is “an oasis of calm in a bustling world.”
The round begins with seven straight par fours before the first short hole is played at the 169-yard 8th. The only par five on the card is encountered at the 519-yard 11th (aptly named “The Long Hole”) before all of the remaining short holes are played at three of the next four holes. Three testing par fours complete the round, the last two of which are slightly doglegged.
Great value short course, that is well maintained. The upcoming changes to the 15th will create a signature hole and add to the challenge. Cannot be beaten for value/condition in the area
Ratho Park is the sort of short, relatively flat, well-maintained parkland course where you should be able to score heavily if you keep the ball in play on the short cut grass. With just the one par five on the card and only two par fours over 400 yards in length, it’s no surprise the overall yardage is under six thousand yards, allowing those who don’t hit the ball too far of the tee to make their mark here.
On the front nine, the par four 7th hole, with its elevated green, is really impressive. On the back nine, the 14th hole, named “Braid’s Test,” is a fine, slightly uphill, left dog legged hole, where a fir tree in the middle of the fairway must be avoided en route to the green!
Look out for the marvellous framed characatures of former club captains in the dirty bar of the old clubhouse (built in 1824) as they epitomise a club where members obviously don’t take themselves too seriously – very refreshing!