Archerfield Links Fidra Course Review
Membership Experience £225 Mon-Thu, £250 Fri
Par 72, 6,585 yards
GM Verdict A very strong and attractive hybrid of links and pine-lined holes with memorable bunkering
Favourite Hole The par-5 closing hole that works its way left-to-right to the clubhouse passing gorse left and sand and trees right
The comprehensive golfing set-up at Archerfield Links opened in 2004 and features not one but two very interesting and challenging courses designed by former Tour Pro, David J Russell. The Fidra Links is slightly closer to the beach than its sibling but also has several holes running that run through Scots Pine. This woodland dimension gives it the edge on the Dirleton Links in terms of scenery and variety, but both have plenty to enjoy.
Unusually, there is nowhere on the front nine where the par is the same as the previous hole. This means you genuinely have something new all the way, and it opens with two holes through the trees before you emerge into more open ground on the drive-and-pitch 3rd. The first short hole comes next, and here you can see through the trees out into the emerging firth.
The second par 5, the 6th, takes you in the opposite direction. It starts in the dunes and gorse and then plays back into the forest. The front nine finishes among the trees with a pair of strong par 4s either side of a pretty par 3.
The tenth is an excellent two-shotter, attractively bunkered and requiring two good blows to reach the green. This is followed by the final tree-lined hole, a lovely par 5 where the pine also infiltrates the fairway.
Heading out again on the 12th into more open landscape, vast swathes of sand feature all the way home except on the two par 3s. The first of these comes next at the 13th, and this is followed by a pair of tough par 4s.
There is a 4-3-5 finish with the 16th again lined by the recently installed, waste area bunkering. The 17th is 167 yards from the white tees but frequently plays longer than that into the prevailing wind.
The final hole makes for a cracking finish; again into the breeze and so a genuine three-shotter for all but the longest hitter. Gorse runs its length along the left, but this is the safer side to be as there are deep bunkers and then a waste area on the right. The stylish clubhouse appears in the distance and this is the perfect finish to an engaging round of golf.
Fidra Links is probably the more memorable and scenic of the two fine Golf Monthly Next 100 courses here, and along with the Dirleton Links, the two are a very strong part of the wonderful array of golf that makes up Scotland’s Golf Coast. With state-of-the-art practice and teaching facilities, Archerfield Links is a consummate golfing resort and home to two of the best golf courses in East Lothian. If you then add in the first-class accommodation options including Archerfield House, the lodges and villas, the spa and the excellent service, you have all the ingredients for a top-quality golfing break of any duration.
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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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