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Winterfield Golf Club Course Review
GF £30 Mon-Fri, £34 Weekend
Par 65, 5,142 yards
GM Verdict A course to test your short game and fairway woods at the same time as putting a huge smile on your face
Favourite Hole The par-3 14th, The Point, 202 scary yards packed with wow-factor
On the eastern side of East Lothian and just a mile or so round the corner from Dunbar Golf Club, Winterfield is a terrific alternative with many appealing elements, especially the views. If you like a testing par 3, then it would be hard to think of a course with more. No fewer than 6 of the 8 are over 200 yards, and I would go as far to say that two of them are world-class.
Talking of tough par 3s, then Winterfield has one of the most difficult opening holes in golf. Maybe THE most difficult. 228 yards may not sound too bad, but you play from an elevated tee over a large expanse of cut grass way below you to a green on the opposite side that is just as elevated. And it’s your first shot of the day! Many will play this as a par 4 with a lay-up and what may then be a blind pitch.
After such a start, it comes as some relief that the next few holes are substantially more forgiving. Five two-shotters are punctuated by the shortest hole on the course at the 4th, the best of these being the SI1 7th which runs from right to left to a sloping green.
The front nine closes with two more very strong par 3s, each of them pretty much maximum distance. An excellent strength of their design is that for higher handicappers, each can effectively be played as a par 4 as happily there are safe areas short of the green.
Crossing the entrance drive to the back nine, the fun and thrills really take off beginning with two more ‘short’ holes, 211 and 188 yards from the white tees. The views also really open up on the back nine, all of the way to the end.
The 12th is a short and attractive par 4 back into the western corner of the course, and the 13th is a much tougher two-shotter that leads you to Winterfield’s most thrilling hole.
The 14th is a very full 202 yards from the white tee and just 10 yards shorter from the yellow. It is a sublime par 3, but you also need to hope that the public footpath that borders it on the beach side is empty ! Bass Rock looms large out in the Firth, and this is a hole that would warrant the green fee on its own.
Playing back in the opposite direction along the other side of the promontory, the 15th is another cracking short hole, this one overlooked by the imposing clubhouse.
The 16th is another par 4 of no great length played to a green that again boasts a wonderful position out on the point. It is worth taking just a moment to soak in the views and setting before you head back up the hill via the only par 5 on the course.
The 18th is much more parklandy in nature, and none the worse for that, back beside the entrance road to the clubhouse.
Winterfield is an informal and very welcoming club with a course that delivers a huge amount of fun for a modest outlay. It’s a great place to practise, to restore confidence, to experiment, and most of all, to have fun. As the shortest 18-holer along Scotland’s Golf Coast, Winterfield more than delivers in every golfing department and is worthy of far greater renown. It may not be at the top of the list of the best golf courses in East Lothian, but I loved it and would recommend a game to anyone who enjoys unstuffy, photogenic golf.
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 email@example.com.
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