Great Golfing at North Berwick Golf Course
The West Links at the seaside town of North Berwick, 25 miles east of Edinburgh, is the second oldest golf course in the world still playing its original fairways and the club is the thirteenth oldest. The course began as a 6-hole course and a seventh was added before it was extended to 18-holes in 1877. It was lengthened again in 1895 and is 6,420 yards par 71 course today. A true links course, it starts in center of North Berwick town and heads westward towards the Firth of Forth. The course regularly is the venue of the final qualifying for the British Open.
Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the West Links is that it is built on an elevation and affords magnificent views of the Firth of Forth with Bass Rock and Criagleith Island in the distance. The undulating course has a varying elevation of ten to thirty feet above sea level. North Berwick offers challenges not commonly experienced with blind holes and drives over walls and burns. It has sandy bunkers that are deep enough to keep the golfer out of view and shots over the bay are not unheard of.
Its cleverly designed holes are among the most imitated holes anywhere. Every hole offers its own new dilemma of length, direction, skill and judgment. The14th hole is as its name implies “Perfection”. In fact the 15th hole, a par three 190 yard known as Redan (or guarding parapet in military terms) is ranked among the top hundred holes in the world. Its layout is perhaps the single most copied hole in the world. Part of the guile of the course is a result of the sea receding from the region which gave the course its natural contours of mounds, ridges and depressions.
The North Berwick Clubhouse was built in 1882 and remains fairly unchanged. It stands on the site of the old North Berwick road toll house. A ladies course was started here in 1888. It is now the Children’s course to encourage youngsters to start playing young and soon use the masterpiece of North Berwick.