North Berwick

Image with thanks to Sally Hawes, North Berwick GC.


Founded 1832
Yardage Championship course, White tees 6464 yds
Par 71
Golf Monthly World Ranking 37th in the world
Handicap Restrictions 24 for gentlemen,
and 36 for ladies


North Berwick, West Links

The Course itself

The North Berwick, West Links are an archetypal ‘out and back’ links course in the finest traditions of the game. It is a frequent host for Open qualifiers at Muirfield, and were it located anywhere elsewhere, you feel North Berwick might have carved out an even higher profile more befitting of its golfing challenge then its already lofty world ranking inside the top-60

The North Berwick, West Links are one of those rarest of birds. No one ever seems to contest them. They seem to provoke unequivocal approval and affection amongst everyone who plays them

You can almost imagine yourself inventing the game when you play the North Berwick, West Links What? Allow us to explain. The original pioneers of golf played on the bad land that linked the shore with the fertile farming land behind it; ‘the links’ land. Hitting a golf ball around a maze of coarse rough, sand dunes, and grass that might pass as playable fairway, had an early attraction in both navigation and skill. It wouldn’t be long however before you sought to integrate other natural hazards into your plotted course in order to add to the fun. ‘Nature’ sure enough begat artificial hazards, but at North Berwick these stopped short of being purpose-built creations. In the name of authenticity, the golf adopted the landscape. Not the other way round. North Berwick has most links hazards therefore. The obligatory burn and gorse is joined with more quirky things however, like stonewalls. All play their part in this most enigmatic of tapestries

The North Berwick, West Links are consequently authentic, complete with all the traditional revetted bunkers, blind holes, drives over walls and burns, together with magnificent views out across the Firth of Forth which are dominated by Bass Rock, a volcanic plug that rises some 300 feet out of the waves and looks similar to Turnberry’s Ailsa Craig. The rock often takes on a deceptively white glistening appearance giving it a quartz like quality. We perhaps shouldn’t ruin the illusion for you by explaining why! Just don’t try climbing it! can be slippery!

Three holes stand out on the back nine;

The 13th, “Pit”, is a short par 4 calling for an imaginative approach to a sunken green behind a wall. If you get the alignment correct, you can play the classic ‘bump and run’ through the ‘hole in the wall’. Take time to look west and enjoy the view to Fidra, thought to be the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”.

The 14th, “Perfection”, is so-called because it requires two perfect shots to hit the green. Should you over-cook though, instead of reaching for your ‘rescue’ putter, you might find yourself going for your sand wedge, as the green kisses the beach

The trinity is completed by the 15th, “Redan”. This is a testing and definitive par 3 having been copied many times all over the world. It is rightly regarded as being the signature template for Par 3’s and plays to a large, steeply sloping green at an approach angle of forty five degrees. Beware the vast hidden gully to the right front of the green, and forward sentry bunkers positioned on rising ground to guard the approach. If there is a sense of a military defence about the Redan hole, that’s because it owes its name to the Crimea War and a returning officer who compared the citadel at Svestapol, to the hole at North Berwick. The ‘Redan’ name, comes from the adopted colour of the Russian defenders.

The only thing it possibly lacks is a crunching final hole, but to a large extent the same can be said about both St Andrews and Prestwick, two of Scotland’s most historic and charismatic courses. It’s as if the architects deliberately went easy on the 18th and sought to make the clubhouse, and the welcome sanctuary it provides, the feature of the hole



Buggy hire, Trolleys, Caddies and Clubs


Driving Range Available Yes
Rental Carts Available No
Rental Trolleys Yes
Caddies Yes
Rental Clubs Available Yes
Pro Shop Yes


North Berwick does not insist on formal attire, and smart casual dress is acceptable in the clubhouse. However, golf shoes, caps and hats, waterproofs and outdoor clothing are prohibited in the clubhouse. Smart jeans may be worn in the clubhouse but not on the course.


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