Longniddry Golf Club Course Review
GF Round: £75 Mon-Fri, £90 Weekend
Par 68, 6,260 yards
GM Verdict A surprisingly different and varied course, delivering plenty of challenge and interest
Favourite Hole The testing but very attractive par-3 13th with lovely views out over the water
Celebrating its centenary last year, Longniddry is evidence of the immense strength in depth of the best golf golf courses in East Lothian. Harry Colt designed the original course, with subsequent modifications, some of them substantial, by James Braid, Philip Mackenzie Ross and Donald Steel. Over the years it has evolved into an unusual and very welcome blend of both links and parkland with neither holding sway over the other. Along a coastline packed with Top 100 and Next 100 courses, it had been on my radar for a long time. I was delighted to finally make it and play with the club’s very friendly and extremely capable Pro’, Fraser.
The course opens with a trio of strong par 4s with the 1st and 3rd more often than not into the breeze. Avoid the finely revetted bunkers and it should be possible to lay the foundations of a score.
There is some relief at the par-4 4th, a very attractive hole fronted by a handful of bunkers.
The 5th is a short dogleg that is all about positioning from the tee and leads you more into the woodland. This is followed by another good-looking short hole played down to what is almost an island green such is the presence of sand that surrounds it.
The next four are all strong two-shotters on the other side of Dean Road, all reasonably straight but with strategic bunkering defining the best line of attack.
The back nine opens with the last of the fully tree-lined holes, another classy par 4 through the pines. There is a little more room off the tee from the 11th, but various hazards and the rough mean there is still a premium on keeping it straight and paying close attention to distance. The 13th is a terrific par 3, played over the burn and up the slope to a green that is one of the best vantage points on the course.
There is a strong sting in the tail with four par 4s in excess of 400 yards in the closing five holes. The first of these, Gosford, is actually the shortest of them and plays over the burn up to a well-protected green.
The 15th plays up to the northernmost point of the course and the final par-3 that follows is also the shortest hole on the course. A three here is very welcome as it’s unlikely at either of the two closing holes.
The 17th is a tough right to left dogleg and the closing hole is a cracking par 4 which needs a well struck approach to clear all the trouble waiting short of the green.
With no par 5s on the men’s card, Longniddry is very much characterised by some excellent two-shotters, eight of which are over 400 yards. Despite that, it’s more a course of strategy than brute force, particularly on the more tree-lined holes of the front nine. I am not a long-hitter, but I still managed to play pretty much to handicap despite it being my 20th round in 13 days as I attempted to play all of the Scotland’s Golf Coast courses in one glorious hit. All in all, it’s a delightful place for golf with a friendly welcome in the Pro’ Shop and clubhouse, and a mid-range green fee that won’t break the bank.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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