Archerfield Links Dirleton Course Review

Archerfield Links is home to two excellent, challenging and beautifully maintained courses including the Dirleton Links

Archerfield Links Dirleton Course - Archerfield House
Winter sun on the eleventh and seventh greens with the grand, 17th-century Archerfield House beyond
(Image credit: Rob Smith)

Membership Experience £225 Mon-Thu, £250 Fri
Par 72, 6,525 yards
Slope 125
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.

FRONT NINE

Dirleton Links - Hole 1

The opening hole on the Dirleton Course

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The course opens with an attractive par 4 with a large, sloping green, and then a reachable par 5.

Dirleton Links - Hole 3

A pair of bunkers await anything underhit at the short third

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

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.

Dirleton Links - Hole 5

The par-5 fifth is almost a double dogleg - straight off the tee, then left and then right

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

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.

Dirleton Links - Hole 6

Bunkers protect the par-4 sixth which runs along the southern edge of the estate

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

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.

Dirleton Links - Hole 7

The green at the short seventh is beautifully situated alongside Archerfield House

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

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.

BACK NINE

Dirleton Links - Hole 10

Sand and water await on the approach to the par-5 tenth

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

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.

Dirleton Links - Hole 11

The eleventh green with the short seventh and Archerfield House beyond

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

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.

Dirleton Links - Hole 14

A view of the approach to the green at the fourteenth, the final par 5

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

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.

Dirleton Links - Hole 17

The penultimate hole, a par 3, with the clubhouse in the far distance

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

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 (opens in new tab). 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.

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 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 1,170 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during the 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 nine. During the 2021-22 review period, Rob has played 34 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 r.smith896@btinternet.com.