By Rob Smith published
GF £100-£140 Sun-Fri
Par 70, 6,581 yards
GM Verdict A first-rate traditional links kept in tip-top order
Favourite Hole The par-4 8th with an inviting drive and the beautiful bay beyond
The club was formed in 1894 when Henry Hope, owner of the Luffness Estate, decided to create a club slightly away from Gullane Hill. He enlisted the help of Old Tom Morris, since when there have been various and subtle tweaks. It is protected a little from the worst of the northerly wind by Gullane Hill, but when it is coming from the west or the east, you will certainly know about it! It is very rightly a well-respected feature in the Golf Monthly Next 100 courses of the UK&I.
THE FRONT NINE
The 1st is a drive and pitch par 4 that doesn’t really hint at the scale of the task ahead. It eases you into the round and hopefully settles any first-tee nerves. Any complacency should soon evaporate as you play the far longer 2nd where the drive is key.
The first short hole comes next, often back into the wind and requiring a well-struck medium to long iron to avoid the bunkers and find the difficult green. Following this, you head back to the clubhouse along a gently curving par 5 which plays its full length.
The final hole on the clubhouse side of the road heads back up towards Gullane Hill. Here, I impressed the captain greatly by hitting a big hook that narrowly missed a Sainsbury’s delivery van gently heading down the A198. I was very pleased to scramble a point with my 3-off-the-tee!
Having crossed the road to play the shortest hole on the course, there is then a lovely short par 4 at the 7th that gently doglegs its way up the lower reaches of Gullane Hill.
The view from the 8th tee is sublime and well worth a brief pause. Here you are looking south-west over lovely Aberlady Bay, an absolute haven for a great variety of birdlife. It’s also a fine-looking hole, a medium-length par 4 which borders the 7th on Gullane 3. Unusually, and I think very happily, there is no signage to mark the divide.
The driving line is marked by a pole on the 9th, stroke index one, and once over the brow of the hill there are exceptional views over the firth and across to Edinburgh.
THE BACK NINE
The 10th is a short hole where the green is framed by low mounding, and the 11th is another long par 4 with a blind drive over a ridge. You now get close to the clubhouse again courtesy of a short par 4 with very attractive and bold bunkering.
The final six holes course loop round to the west of the clubhouse closer to the bay, beginning with a two-shotter that is 401 yards from the back tee. Beyond and to the right of the green is the raised tee of the elongated, sweeping par-5 14th, the appropriately named Aberlady.
You now head for home via the really strong par-4 15th which has the very distinctive North Berwick Law in the far distance.
There is just time for one more look back at the bay at the short 16th, an attractive and well-bunkered hole where the wind can have a huge influence.
The bunkering is again very impressive at the 17th, while the 18th is exactly what you would wish for at a course of such calibre, a long par 4 that will test but which shouldn’t ruin your card.
The clubhouse is characterful, stylish and packed with history, and here you can enjoy post-round refreshments in its unusual, let us say snug, casual bar. While Luffness New is perhaps a little less well-known than some in East Lothian, it is still welcoming and most certainly worth adding to your playlist if you are planning a visit to Scotland’s Golf Coast. I loved it and would happily play it again any time.
Rob Smith has been playing golf for over 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012 specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played well over 1,100 courses in almost 50 countries. Since travel restarted in May 2021, he has played around 80 different courses, more than 40 for the first time. This includes 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of his main roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but 10. Rob 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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