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East and Southeast Scotland - Top 50 Golf Courses 2017

22 August, 2017

East and Southeast Scotland - Top 50 Golf Courses 2017

This is the second of three Top 50 regional listings that we’re publishing for Scotland. Two years ago, we produced an individual news release for each of our fifteen Scottish district charts when we re-ranked our Caledonian courses but this time we’ve decided to streamline the process by arranging the districts into three regions – West & Southwest, East & Southeast, and North – then producing a Top 50 feature article for each one.

We also expanded our pool of local knowledge by asking four well informed Scottish panellists from a leading golf magazine to help with our ranking process so we thank Alan Ferguson, John Fraser, Alan McPherson and Neal Stewart for their highly-valued contributions which now supplement those of our existing team of in-house reviewers.

East and Southeast Scotland – comprising the four districts of Lothians, Fife, Borders and Central – is such a strong golfing area it should come as no surprise to learn that nearly forty of the courses in this new regional listing also occupy positions in our Scottish Top 100 chart.

Because we’ll be writing about the revised national standings in the next few weeks, we’re concentrating this article on four of the better layouts to be found in the lower reaches of this new regional table, offering a little exposure to courses that are rarely given much recognition.

At number 35 in our Top 50 chart, we have Glenbervie, which also rises one place to become the number one course in our revised Central Scotland district rankings, ousting Stirling from the top spot. The former home of the PGA in Scotland before the professionals’ HQ moved to Gleneagles in the late 1990s, Glenbervie is a fine James Braid-designed parkland track which has tested elite and recreational golfers alike in the Falkirk area for more than eighty years now.

John Panton, the club’s former long term professional, is credited with thirty-nine career victories, and he also qualified for three different Ryder Cup teams, as well as representing Scotland at the World Cup on thirteen occasions, the last of which occurred in 1968.

A Lothians club associated with another of the country’s golfing greats is Duddingston (number 38 in our chart), where Ronnie Shade played as an amateur, winning five consecutive Scottish Amateur Championships in the mid-1960s before he turned professional in 1968.

Duddingston lies close to Edinburgh city centre, on land that was once owned by the Duke of Abercorn and used as a deer estate. Willie Park is credited with the design of the layout in 1895 and, apart from the lengthening of a few holes in the 1960s, the modern day course is the same one that’s been in play for more than a hundred and twenty years.

At number 39 in our East and Southeast region, the course at Cardrona is a new millennium Dave Thomas layout which lies a little bit in the shadow of The Roxburghe, another of the architect’s Borders designs. Situated just outside Peebles and operated by MacDonald Hotels, the Cardrona course is a big 18-hole layout that’s characterised by its bold bunkering and USGA-spec putting surfaces so bring your “A” game when playing here.

At number 41 in our new chart, Dunfermline sits near the foot of our Fife Top 20 listings but it must be borne in mind that such a relatively lowly position is due to the very strong ranking competition from some of Scotland’s best links courses which are located in that part of the country. In fact, disregard all the links layouts in the Kingdom of Fife and the Pitfirrane course would be third best in the district, behind only the Duke’s and Ladybank, which is high praise indeed.

The club dates back to 1887 but the course was fashioned by John R. Stutt, James Braid’s old design associate, in the early 1950s, when the club acquired the old Halkett family estate. The rather grand, 15th century Pitfirrane tower house now forms part of the modern day clubhouse structure, with newer buildings annexed around this magnificent old multi-storey building.

East and Southeast Scotland - Top 50 Golf Courses 2017

Rank/ Course 1 St Andrews (Old) 2 Muirfield 3 Kingsbarns 4 North Berwick (West) 5 Renaissance Club 6 Gullane (No.1) 7 St Andrews (Castle) 8 Duke's St Andrews 9 St Andrews (New) 10 Archerfield (Fidra) 11 Dunbar 12 Lundin 13 Archerfield (Dirleton) 14 Leven Links 15 Elie 16 Gullane (No.2) 17 Luffness New 18 St Andrews (Jubilee) 19 Scotscraig 20 Ladybank 21 Roxburghe 22 Fairmont St Andrews (Torrance) 23 Kilspindie 24 Crail (Craighead) 25 Longniddry 26 Fairmont St Andrews (Kittocks) 27 Crail (Balcomie) 28 Royal Burgess 29 Craigielaw 30 Mortonhall 31 Bruntsfield 32 St Andrews (Eden) 33 Musselburgh 34 Glen 35 Glenbervie 36 Dalmahoy (East) 37 Royal Musselburgh 38 Duddingston 39 Cardrona 40 Gullane (No.3) 41 Dunfermline 42 West Linton 43 Stirling 44 Braid Hills (No.1) 45 Aberdour 46 Balbirnie Park 47 Drumoig 48 Newbattle 49 Alloa 50 Ratho Park
Rank/ Course Move
1 Muirfield No change
2 North Berwick (West) No change
3 Renaissance No change
4 Gullane (No.1) No change
5 Archerfield (Fidra) Up 1
6 Dunbar Down 1
7 Archerfield (Dirleton) No change
8 Gullane (No.2) No change
9 Luffness New No change
10 Kilspindie Up 1
11 Longniddry Down 1
12 Royal Burgess Up 1
13 Craigielaw Down 1
14 Mortonhall No change
15 Bruntsfield Links Up 4
16 Musselburgh No change
17 Glen No change
18 Marriott Dalmahoy (East) Down 3
19 Royal Musselburgh Down 1
20 Duddingston No change
21 Gullane (No.3) No change
22 West Linton No change
23 Braid Hills (No.1) Up 1
24 Newbattle Down 1
25 Ratho Park No change
26 Prestonfield Up 3
27 Murrayfield Up 3
28 Broomieknowe Down 2
29 Baberton New entry
30 Kings Acre Down 2

Click the following links to see in detail our latest Best In Region rankings for the four East & Southeast Scotland regions:

Borders Top 5 Golf Courses 2017

Rank/ Course Move 1 Roxburghe No change 2 Cardrona No change 3 Eyemouth Up 2 4 Peebles Down 1 5 Hirsel New entry

Central Scotland Top 5 Golf Courses 2017

Rank/ Course Move 1 Glenbervie Up 1 2 Stirling Down 1 3 Alloa Up 1 4 Buchanan Castle Down 1 5 Falkirk No change

Fife Top 20 Golf Courses 2017

Rank/ Course Move 1 St Andrews (Old) No change 2 Kingsbarns No change 3 St Andrews (Castle) No change 4 Duke's St Andrews Up 1 5 St Andrews (New) Down 1 6 Lundin Links No change 7 Leven No change 8 Elie Up 2 9 St Andrews (Jubilee) No change 10 Scotscraig Up 1 11 Ladybank Down 3 12 Fairmont St Andrews (Torrance) Up 2 13 Crail (Craighead) No change 14 Fairmont St Andrews (Kittocks) Up 2 15 Crail (Balcomie) Down 3 16 St Andrews (Eden) Down 1 17 Dunfermline No change 18 Aberdour Up 1 19 Balbirnie Park Up 1 20 Drumoig Down 2

Lothians Top 30 Golf Courses 2017

Jim McCann


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