Dunbar Golf Club


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About the Club

The East Links at Dunbar Golf Club is another one of Scotland's lesser-known links gems. Lying thirty miles east of Edinburgh, the golf course is situated on the estuary of the Firth of Forth on the very land where Oliver Cromwell camped prior to the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. In 1794, a group of local gentlemen formed the Dunbar Golfing Society and played over a course called Westbarns adjacent to the town. Support for the society however, declined over the years and it was not until December 20th 1856, following a meeting in the Town Hall, that Dunbar Golf Club was formed.

Situated on a magnificent, narrow stretch of coastal terrain, Dunbar East Links presents a combination of links and inland turf and very much follows the natural contours of the coastline. Breathtaking is a word commonly used when speaking of golf courses but it really is not easy to imagine any stretch of holes with lovelier views than those offered at Dunbar. The North Sea in all it glory, is a constant companion throughout, while with the majestic coastline, the Isle of May, Bass Rock and the distant outline of Fife all vying for our attention, the golfer is often distracted from the task at hand.

Measuring just over 6,400 yards from the championship tees and boasting a par of 70, Dunbar East Links starts with two par fives of less than 500 yards. Simple enough you'd think but don't pass judgement. The 353-yard, 4th is a beautiful hole playing along by the coast, while the relatively short 6th is rated as the hardest hole on the course. The stretch from 9 through 12 is a real test, while the closing holes, with the rocky beach more than willing to accommodate even the mildest slice, can often conspire to ruin an otherwise good score. That Dunbar Golf Club has hosted many prestigious events, including the Scottish Amateur & Professional Championships and is one of the recognised qualifying venues for the British Open bears testament to the quality of the course.

Some great golf courses do not offer visiting golfers a welcome to match but that is not the case here. Renowned for its friendly atmosphere, playing at Dunbar East Links is an experience that is not soon forgotten. The course may not be as well known as many of its famous counterparts but Dunbar is a worthy addition to any golfing itinerary. Nestling between ancient stone walls and the sea, Dunbar Golf Links is a vision of golfing enjoyment that is often imagined but rarely fulfilled.

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Reviews by players

image of Patrick Muir
Proper links golf
Dunbar Golf Course
P Muir (HC: 1.0)

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This is a proper player's course with 6700 yards and yet a par 71 off the back tees. Coupled with the almost constant westerly wind affecting the inward nine it's not for the casual player. A member told be the club has more category 1 players than any other club in Scotland and on the junior noticeboard there were six category 1 junior handicaps including a girl - I'd say a 5 handicap here is a 3 anywhere else. As for the course, well it's a sense of history for sure as it was laid out by Old Tom Morris and apparently golf has been played here since the 1600s although the denizens of the club modestly date it from 1856 rather than having to make claims to be the 'xyz oldest club in the world.' The test of golf doesn't need to be embellished at Dunbar it seems. The course opens quite unusually with consecutive par 5s so there's no gentle-easing-you-in start. The par 3 third hole of 173 yards looks straight out to sea with out of bounds left and through the green and I played it in a one-club left to right crosswind. A three was a good score on a severely undulating and slick green surrounded by seven bunkers. The 4th is a great little hole at just 353 yards set hard against the shoreline and with an angled green to hit once avoiding the vicious pot bunker short left. A narrow fairway with OoB on the right dominates the 6th which features a green of over five-club difference from front edge to the back and the 7th has a semi-blind green 380 yards away from the tee. The green is set hard up against a wall which the slopes taking the ball ever closer to that obstruction. The 8th has a great change in elevation and the 9th becomes the 9th hole where the sea is on view; this is proper links golf. After the 200 yard par 3 10th the course turns for home with that tough stretch I mentioned earlier. There's only one par 4 hole of less than 300 yards for the ladies and any member of the fairer sex getting round here in the par of 72 is a damn good player. I managed 70 against the SSS of 72 so I was happy and exhilarated but can testify that the inward nine with its miserly par of 34 is up there as one of the toughest anywhere in Scotland if not the UK. Proper links golf doesn't come any purer than Dunbar; I'm glad I made the trip.

Playing tips:

Make your score on the front nine if the wind is out of the west. It's a par 37 out and an exceptionally tough 34 for the inward nine. It must be the toughest inward par anywhere Scotland. Holes 11 to 14 are a combined 1,750 yards and must be the toughest stretch of four par 4s anywhere, especially against the wind.

Favourite Hole: 4

Last Played: 05 August 2015.

Reviewed: 26/11/2015
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Club facilities

Club HouseHas a Club House
Club Hire offers Club Hire
Putting GreenHas a Putting Green
Pro ShopHas a Pro Shop
Practice AreaHas a Practice Area
Club BarHas a Club Bar
Driving RangeHas a Driving Range
RestaurantHas a Restaurant
Trolley Hire offers Trolley Hire
Changing has Changing Rooms
Buggy Hire offers Buggy Hire
Lessons can provide Lessons

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