The Renaissance Club Course Review
GF Contact Club for Details
Par 72, 6,746 yards
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.
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.
Two more two-shotters complete an opening and indeed testing loop of five holes that take you back to the clubhouse.
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.
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.
The front nine finishes in extremely pretty style with a medium-length par 3 that will test the putter from any distance.
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.
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.
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.
You turn from home at the short 17th, an attractive hole where the primary consideration is carrying the deep bunker protecting the front.
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.
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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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