Archerfield Links Dirleton Course Review
Membership Experience £225 Mon-Thu, £250 Fri
Par 72, 6,525 yards
GM Verdict A modern, championship-standard, inland links presented in excellent condition
Favourite Hole The par-5 10th which is protected by a burn crossing in front of the green that angles back towards the end of the lay-up area
Archerfield Links opened for play in 2004 and boasts a pair of equally testing and enjoyable courses designed by former Tour Pro, David J Russell. Both are in the Golf Monthly Next 100. The Dirleton Links, despite never getting closer to the beach than half a mile, is probably best described as a modern links. It is one of those rare designs that is playable and enjoyable for all golfers at the same time as still being more than capable of challenging the best. Streams, revetted bunkers and gorse all feature with the course regularly changing direction and offering a fresh challenge from every tee.
The course opens with an attractive par 4 with a large, sloping green, and then a reachable par 5.
From the green of the par-3 3rd , just 153 yards from the white tee, there is the almost mystical apparition of Dirleton Castle in the far distance.
The 4th is a lovely little par 4 which big hitters may be tempted to have a go at, and the 5th is a testing three-shotter that works its way gently up the slope.
You now head into the prevailing breeze for the SI2 6th. There is plenty of room, but into the wind it still requires two very solid blows.
The 7th is a very attractive par 3 to a perfectly sited green, and you work your way back to the clubhouse after it via a pair of par 4s, the first of which has an unusually wide green.
The back nine opens with an excellent risk-reward par 5, well-bunkered and then with a tricky approach over the burn to a green just beyond a run-off that will often return the ball back into the water.
The green at the next hole is again very well positioned, the 12th is a drive and pitch par 4, and the 13th a short hole with a testing green resembling an upturned saucer.
There are hopes of a score at the par-5 14th, and it is best to take advantage as it is followed by two very tough two-shotters at 15 and 16.
The final short holes comes at the 17th, again to a very large green where 3-putting is all too easy, and the closing hole is a par 4 where gauging the distance for the approach is key as two bunkers guard the front-left.
Rather than individual stand-out holes, the Dirleton Links is uniformly strong from start to finish. Alongside the Fidra Links, it is one of the best golf courses in East Lothian, Scotland’s Golf Coast. With excellent practice and teaching facilities, Archerfield Links is a consummate golfing resort. Add in the classy accommodation options including Archerfield House, the lodges and villas, the spa and the first-class service, and you have all the ingredients for a top-quality golfing break.
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Rob Smith has been playing golf for 45 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly for over ten years, specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played more than 1,200 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during that year, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but seven and a half... i.e. not the new 9 at Carne! During the 2021-22 review period, Rob played 36 of the Golf Monthly Top 200. He is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at email@example.com.
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