Craigielaw Golf Club Course Review

Craigielaw Golf Club is blessed not just with a fine, modern links but also its own golfer-friendly accommodation

Craigielaw Golf Club - Feature
The opening green at Craigielaw with Aberlady Bay and Gullane Hill in the distance
(Image credit: Craigielaw Golf Club)

Craigielaw Golf Club Course Review

GF Round: £73 Mon-Fri, £100 Weekend
Par 71, 6,601 yards
Slope 127
GM Verdict A thoroughly entertaining links in a lovely setting with tricky green sites and plenty of fun
Favourite Hole The opening hole, a picture-perfect, risk-reward short par 4

Right in the heart of Scotland’s Golf Coast (opens in new tab), East Lothian, Craigielaw is perfectly situated for a trip to play one or more of the bountiful, wonderful courses nearby. Just as importantly, it also has its own, fine, modern links. It was designed by Donald Steel and Tom Mackenzie just over two decades ago, but is mature way beyond its tender 20 years. The course hosted the Scottish Senior Open in 2018 and 2019.

FRONT NINE

Craigielaw Golf Club - Hole 1

Deep, revetted bunkering protects the opening green

(Image credit: Craigielaw Golf Club)

The course opens with a very attractive left-to-right dogleg to a raised green, an ideal hole to ease you into your round unless you fancy your chances of going for it.

Craigielaw Golf Club - Hole 3

The par-3 third has the glorious backdrop of the Firth of Forth

(Image credit: Craigielaw Golf Club)

The long second hole is usually wind assisted and so may raise hopes of getting home in two. This is followed by the first short hole at the northern end of the course.

Craigielaw Golf Club - Hole 6

You play over an old drystone wall at the sixth, a lovely par 3

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The next two run back and forth either side of an old wall, after which you reach the second short hole, Kilspindie. This is played directly towards the car park of the neighbouring golf club and has bunkers left and a run-off area on the right.

Craigielaw Golf Club - Hole 9

The view from the clubhouse out over the ninth green

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The 7th and 8th run alongside Kilspindie before you head back to the clubhouse via a gentle par 4 whose main protection is a well-bunkered green.

BACK NINE

Craigielaw Golf Club - Aerial

An aerial view of the clubhouse and lodge with the first and closing holes right beside

(Image credit: Craigielaw Golf Club)

Having walked up past the first tee, the putting green and beside the car park, you come to the tee at the par-3 10th. Into the breeze, once again the green is very well protected.

Craigielaw Golf Club - Hole 11

Overshoot the green on the par-5 eleventh and you will find the twelfth tee… at Kilspindie!

(Image credit: Craigielaw Golf Club)

An intriguing three-shotter leads straight out towards the Firth. Here, a snaking burn appears on the left of the fairway some 120 yards short of the green. It then accompanies you all the way, crossing just in front before slithering back on the right.

Craigielaw Golf Club - Hole 13

The green on the par-4 thirteenth

(Image credit: Craigielaw Golf Club)

You now have a run of a handful of par 4s, three of them tough, one of them not so, and one extremely! If you are lucky, the wind will be your friend on most of them.

Craigielaw Golf Club - Hole 15

The green at the drive-and-pitch par-4 fifteenth

(Image credit: Craigielaw Golf Club)

The least demanding of the five is the 15th, but it’s all relative and it is still all too easy to find a bunker or run-off area. The par-3 17th is fronted by pot bunkers, and the closing hole is a par 5 that will raise hopes of a good finish if the wind is behaving. IF.

There are several Golf Monthly Top 100 and Next 100 courses very close by including three of the best golf courses in East Lothian; Muirfield, North Berwick and Gullane. A real joy of this is that links golf is fully enjoyable at any time of the year. There is a 6-hole, par-3 Academy Course, extensive practice facilities and some roomy and very well-priced accommodation. I thoroughly enjoyed all the elements of my stay at Craigielaw which makes for a perfect base for golfing trips of any duration. It is also a complete resort in its own right.

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 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 1,170 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during the 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 nine. During the 2021-22 review period, Rob has played 34 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 r.smith896@btinternet.com.