There is some fabulous undulating terrain on this moorland-parkland hybrid and it has been used exceptionally well to create an interesting and varied layout, albeit quite a demanding walk.
The Club dates back to 1851 making it the 25th oldest in the world! There were originally just six holes before Tom Morris Snr was asked to extend it to 18 in 1897 although the layout we play today is mostly thanks to James Braid who introduced some new holes in 1927. Little has changed since.
The first thing you might notice by looking at the scorecard is that there is just one par five and only three par-threes. That leaves us with a grand total of 14 par-fours, however, the mix of these two-shotters doesn’t give us the feeling of hitting drive followed by approach on a regular basis. The fact that many of these holes are particularly good also helps the flow of the course. The total yardage is 6,438 against a par of 70 so it also plays quite long too.
The green setting of holes such as the first, third, fourth, sixth, 12th, 14th and 17th are particularly impressive and it was a real joy to play to these holes. There is some fabulous contouring around the greens and there is quite often a preferred side to miss should one wish to escape with a par.
Based on its moorland billing Lanark didn’t play as firm and as fast as I had hoped and predominantly calls for the aerial route to access most of the greens, although there were a few holes that gave the option of a running approach. The second hole, at 459 yards, is likely to require a long shot and the ninth has a putting surface that is open at the front and appears to fall away from you, as does the 12th. However, quite often some sort of gully or depression must be carried on the approach shot.
The condition of the course was exceptional on my visit in June 2015. The greens were true and their aprons were immaculate. The fairways were springy in the most part and the ball sat up nicely whilst a few of the holes had a lovely tight feel to them.
Two of the par-threes are particularly memorable for me personally but for differing reasons. The 18th, a 200+ yarder, will likely be remembered by many for the proximity of the clubhouse to the putting surface and I’m sure it has been struck on several occasions. The seventh will also stay in my mind but for non-golfing reasons, although this dropping one-shotter is a delight. As I teed my ball up to play this 135-yard gem there was a very strong and absolutely wonderful smell of fresh gingerbread that came wafting across the air!! Surrounded by trees I have no idea where this scent came from but it set the taste buds tangling.
It is likely that Lanark will also set your golfing taste buds tangling too with its many excellent holes. I certainly drove away from the course very impressed and with it being only a short detour off the M74 it’s a course that I would recommend one should play, especially the travelling golfer heading from North-to-South or vice-versa.
Eyemouth is an easy-going, golf course with many different sections but mostly plays along the clifftops of the beautiful coastline close to the England-Scotland border.
There is something about Elie that puts you under a spell. It is a truly magical links that, after just one round, has won a place in my heart and mind forever.