Had the pleasure of playing this brute last week in glorious sunshine and the breeze fairly testing but not extreme. From the outset you can feel the history, the old school clubhouse and thatched roofs of the huts out on the course. Its tough but fair all the way round and if you dont have a decent game with you I can see how it would be a nightmare. Having played the scottish open venues this is on a par with any of them, and reminded me a bit of carnoustie and muirfield in places. There are a few things a feel that seperate these courses from the good, but not 'great' links. Bunkering is the first, every one cavernous and brilliantly positioned, not just dropped by the side of the fairway. The undulations are also key and add so much to the character of these courses and just make them so easy on they eye. Not just the natural ampitheatres that are created but the course management that is required. On many courses you can miss the green right or left without much damage but here you are punished and punished bad!
Coming from nairn, a fine track itself I do still realise the difference in quality of this and other open venues. Barely a weak hole on the course and the suez canal would sum it up for me. A par 5 that damands placement and the ultimate confidance in your own swing to avoid any OB the entire length of the hole, excellent bunker placement down the left and a green that if you bail out left is very tough to approach the pin. I would say only turnberry (because of the views), and kingsbarns ( because I dont want to feel like Ive gone 10 rounds with flloyd mayweather every time i play) come above this for me. Still an awesome place and we even found ourselves going out behind a very pacy jimmy tarbuck and sat opposite hugh grant who parked his ferrari next to our less glamorous peugeot!!
Date: September 27, 2010