The Renaissance Club Course Review

The Renaissance Club is home to a Tom Doak design packed with variety, originality and wow-factor

The Renaissance Club - Hole 10 - Feature
The approach to the par-4 tenth with Fidra Island and its lighthouse beyond
(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The Renaissance Club Course Review

GF Contact Club for Details
Par 72, 6,746 yards
Slope 135
GM Verdict A thrilling and spectacular modern design running through and beside ancient woodland, along cliffs and over drystone walls
Favourite Hole The 8th, a demanding par 4 running up the slope to a beautifully sited, sloping green

Blessed with a fabulous and remarkably varied site between Muirfield and Archerfield Links, the Renaissance Club opened in 2008 and has staged the last three Scottish Opens. A fourth is scheduled for the week before the historic 150th Open Championship, a testimony to the challenge, set-up and facilities at this unique course.

FRONT NINE

Renaissance Club - Hole 1

The first hole has a lovely approach through the pines

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The course opens with two long par 4s and an early chance, or indeed requirement, to open the shoulders. These are followed by the first par 5 which heads left to right skirting a stand of Scots pine.

Renaissance Club - Hole 4

The fourth hole at The Renaissance Club works its way to the right and up a slight slope

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

Two more two-shotters complete an opening and indeed testing loop of five holes that take you back to the clubhouse.

Renaissance Club - Hole 5

Approaching the fifth green with the clubhouse beyond

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The 5th is actually the shortest of this opening quintet, but more likely than not it will be into any wind. The shortest hole on the course comes next, and then a long three-shotter leads you out away into a different world where the real fun begins.

Renaissance Club - Hole 8

Stroke Index 1, the eighth is a wonderful but super-tough par 4

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The 8th is an excellent and very demanding par 4 that plays even longer than its yardage and is protected by some perfectly placed bunkers.

Renaissance Club - Hole 9

An infinity green awaits at the lovely par-3 ninth

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The front nine finishes in extremely pretty style with a medium-length par 3 that will test the putter from any distance.

BACK NINE

Renaissance Club - Hole 10

Looking back down on the scenic tenth green with the beautiful Firth of Forth beyond

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The 10th is a wonderfully sited par 4 that runs along the cliff edge and has no need for bunkers to defend it when it is all too easy to be distracted by the stunning views. Before continuing, it is worth taking the time to call in at the excellent halfway hut.

Renaissance Club - Hole 11

The short eleventh hole with the ninth green immediately beyond the wall

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The view down from the tee at the par-3 11th is yet another to get the camera working overtime, and it’s also a delightful hole that calls for a mid- to short-iron depending on the tee and the wind.

Renaissance Club - Hole 13

Run-offs are a feature at the Renaissance Club, such as here on the par-5 thirteenth

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The next two run in opposite directions; a well-bunkered par 4 and a three-shotter that is frequently into the wind. There are no consecutive holes with the same par on the back nine where variety is very much to the fore. The par-4 14th and short 15th are again likely to be into the wind, but then hopes will rise on the long 16th that heads back in the opposite direction.

Renaissance Club - Hole 17

The pretty par-3 penultimate hole is played into a clearing in the trees

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

You turn from home at the short 17th, an attractive hole where the primary consideration is carrying the deep bunker protecting the front.

Renaissance Club - Hole 18

At 461 yards from the white tee, the closing hole is a very testing end to the round

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

As you would expect at a course that hosts top professional events, the final hole is very strong. It calls for a final long carry over an old drystone wall, before an encounter with another tricky green with quite severe run-offs.

Playing the course as a visitor is largely down to staying on site and/or taking up the One-Time Experience of sampling membership. More details are available by contacting the club direct. Regardless, this is an exceptional course and indeed golfing destination that should please all golfing enthusiasts.

This was my second visit, and unusually for a course that has more than its fair share of instant wow-factor, it impressed me all the more this time round. It is one of the very best golf courses in East Lothian - Scotland's Golf Coast - and the course is one that will live long in the memory.

Rob Smith
Rob Smith

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012 specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played 1,150 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions last year, he still managed to play 80 different courses during 2021, 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. Rob is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at r.smith896@btinternet.com.