Draped gracefully over the landscape and even utilises some ancient medieval walls

Crail (Craighead)

Crail Golf Club (Craighead)

Crail Golf Club (Craighead)

Date Reviewed
October 21, 2020
Reviewed by Ed Battye
The Craighead course at Crail is a very different challenge to the links of Balcomie, but no less memorable.

Gil Hanse, the acclaimed American architect designed this clifftop course which is draped gracefully over the landscape and even utilises some ancient medieval walls which we must hurdle at the 11th and 15th!

At 6,651 yards (par 72) from the tips the Craighead layout has hosted national and international championships and has a routing that continually twists and turns.

There are wonderful coastal views and some fine holes on this exposed course which plays on much higher ground to the Balcomie. As you might expect from this elevated layout the fairways are relatively generous from the tee although gorse does feature on a number of holes.

There is a very consistent feel to the course but there are a couple of standout holes. The par-three 7th is a superb one-shotter with a glorious backdrop whilst the descending short par-four 10th is another jaw-dropping hole and one where you will want to pull your camera out.

I can imagine the second hole “Windmill Corner” is a bit of a Marmite hole with a near 90-degree dog-leg fairway played to a green that falls significantly away from the player.

Due to the flatter nature of the fairways the green complexes need to be good in order to bring the course to life and for the most part they do this well. There is a lot of movement on the putting surfaces generating lots of interest. The bunkering is also done well and in-keeping with the course.

Comparing the two I think I prefer the charm and more authentic links characteristic of the Balcomie but a round on the Craighead is more than a nice alternative for those already familiar with the older sibling.

Read the review of Crail (Balcomie) here.

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