Despite many previous visits to Fife and travels through Dundee, to the links of Angus and beyond, Scotscraig is a course that had always eluded me.
Founded in 1817 the 13th oldest golf club in the World has more history than most and is one of the few establishments in golf to have celebrated a bicentenary. Since 1984, it has repeatedly hosted the Final Open Qualifying when The Open is played over St Andrews.
The course sits a few hundred meters away from the entrance to the North Sea, at the mouth of the River Tay, and has a coastal-heathland feel to it but for the most part the turf and undulations are linksy in character.
Heather, gorse and Scots Pine trees adorn the compact layout and are the main hazards with several deep pot-bunkers to avoid as well. The course reminded me a little of Irvine on the West Coast of Scotland.
The holes are still largely as they were when James Braid redesigned the course in 1923 with links to Old Tom Morris having a hand prior to that.
The front-nine excels with some lovely holes. The 402-yard opener (Admiral) the fourth (Westward Ho) and the seventh (Plateau) are particular noteworthy on a front-nine which loops back to the clubhouse. These three holes have undulating fairways which don’t give too much away from the tee and green sites which are a delight to play to.
The second nine doesn’t quite reach the same heights, and at times plays over heavier terrain but there is enough to keep ones interest to the very end. The 12th, 13th and 17th are a trio of holes I’d single out as the best on the homeward stretch.
The condition of the par 71, 6,698-yard course was a little patchy in places; tees and fairways in particular (I don’t mind the latter) but the greens ran really smoothly and the bunkers were well maintained.
Just 15 minutes from St. Andrews and conveniently placed not too far off the A92 Scotscraig is a course I would certainly recommend visiting on your golfing travels along the East Coast of Scotland.
Copt Heath is a very fine parkland golf course that requires precision, plotting and a deft touch around the slick greens.
The Blue is a mix of American-style design and traditional English parkland. It's an unusual combination which makes the most of the terrain available. It was designed by Simon Gidman and opened in 1994.