Gullane (No. 2)
The second course at Gullane was built 14 years later and is a championship course in its own right. Indeed it has also staged Open Qualifying in the recent past as well as the Seniors Open Amateur Championship in 2002.
The type of links golf encountered at the No.2 course is very similar in character to that at the No.1 layout. In fact you could take almost any hole and place it on the main course and it wouldn't look or feel out of place.
The No.2 course is preferred by many locals and whilst it doesn't quite demand as much from the golfer it's easy to see why it is so well liked. As a whole the No.1 course in my opinion is undoubtedly superior and consistently produces on 18 occasions but it could be argued that the second course has the stand-out holes. The fourth, 11th and 13th certainly have the 'wow' factor and are seriously good golf holes. I could also make a strong case for it having at least as strong a set of short holes too.
It comes in 500 yards shorter than its elder sibling and houses only one long par four (which is played downhill) but the par of 71 is still a sound test.
The first two holes take you away from the clubhouse towards Luffness New Golf Club and are a gentle introduction to the course. No.2 doesn't quite make the initial climb up Gullane Hill in quite the same inspired way as the No.1 course. Here it is less imaginative and very much straight up the hill thanks to a blind but driveable par-four with an interesting green.
The impressive fourth slides down the other side of the hill and requires three cross-bunkers to be carried for what is likely to be a long second shot. The clever golfer can shape his tee-shot left-to-right and maximise the run-out on the drive at this 450+ yard par four but must be wary of pulling his shot into a lone bunker on the left-hand side. The fifth is a fine par-three and the next, a par-five at 537 yards, is also a good hole.
A run of four medium length par fours follow. After driving between two large bunkers the seventh has the most wonderful backdrop of sea and rolling hills. The 10th is perhaps the pick of the quartet though with a huge bunker guarding the front-right of the green.
Holes 11 through 14 were my personal favourites. The downhill par-three 11th is nothing short of amazing with excellent bunkering and a green that falls away from you. The 12th is fairly innocuous looking at first glance but the wonderful view of Aberlady Bay, the Firth of Forth and the Kingdom of Fife can easily create a false sense of security. You can also just see the courses of Kilspindie and Craigielaw hugging the shore further around the coastline from this elevated tee.
Meanwhile the climbing 13th, in my opinion, is THE best hole we played out of the 36 at Gullane. Fairway bunkers, left and right, give you a choice from the tee as to whether you attack the hole and bring them into play for the chance of a shorter shot into the green, which is located close to the top of the hill, or play short of them and face an approach from further back and consequently an unwanted flatter ball-flight up to the raised green. The two-tiered putting surface with a false front is exceptional.
The 14th comes at a time in the round where one may be in a position where he or she needs to attack the course or play more conservatively and this hole asks the perfect questions. It sweeps round to the left and invites longer hitters to try and cut the corner, over a menacing fairway bunker, but the sensible play is probably to make sure of finding the fairway in order to set up a birdie chance. Holes 15 and 16 keep the momentum and incline of the course going with two strong showings - another excellent short hole followed by a long par five.
This brings us to the point where we need to descend back down to the clubhouse and once again this is done in a dramatic way thanks to the 17th. It varies from the seventh and 17th on the No.1 course in that it dog-legs to the left but the tee-shot is no less inspiring where a well-struck tee-shot will hang in the air for what seems like an eternity. The 18th is another shortish par-four and although a nice hole it is a bit of a tame finish when there is a tail wind.
Read the review of Gullane (No.1) here.
Read the review of Gullane (No.3) here.