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Drumoig Golf Club ©What must it feel like to be Drumoig Golf Club? Set amidst the rolling hills of Fife less than ten miles from St. Andrews, Drumoig is a parkland course that has the gargantuan task of trying to compete with some of the finest and most famous links golf courses in the world.
The Golf Course
It's tough to be fair in rating the golf course because of all the truly exceptional plays in the St. Andrews' area, many rated among the finest in the world. But, frankly, as an independent golfer, which golf course will you give up to play Drumoig? Plus, it's an inland golf course in an area of great Scottish links golf courses. However, there is a fine practice range and the price for 18 holes is very inexpensive, so if you are looking for a day of practice you can parlay a few hours on the range into a round to see if you learned anything. And there are a few fine holes here--like the unusual 5th and the wonderful signature hole, the 9th.
An Unusual Green Location
The most difficult hole is #5--a 530 yarder (565 yards from the championship tees) up a gentle hill where position is everything. The approach shot is into a pin tucked into a tight dogleg left and nestled in a quarry. The trouble is that the green is built so far into the quarry that some pin positions can only be seen if your second shot is way on the right side of the fairway and not more than 100 yards away. Well, on a 530 yard, uphill hole I’m not often within 100 yards on my third shot, especially with the wind in my face. Matter of fact, the wind was in my face and I was hitting a long iron to this green but I was only guessing, since I had no idea where the pin was. So beware, make your approach as far right as you can.
As you can see from the above photo, the green is tucked way into a quarry--more like a small canyon--so any 2nd shot that lands to the left leaves you with a devilish shot to the green where you can forget about birdie. And, no matter how long you are off the tee, in order to eagle this hole, your second shot has to travel uphill and draw into this green. It's really quite a challenging hole.
The 9th is my favorite
The 9th at Drumoig really is a terrific hole, a dogleg left with the green tucked behind a piece of the lake. The tee is elevated thirty feet or so above the fairway. From the tee box you look down into a lake on either side of the fairway. The lake on the left meets up with the fairway about 150 yards from the tee box and the one on the right at exactly 269 yards away. At this point the fairway is about 30 yards wide. The left-side lake goes all the way to the green. The lake on the right-side veers away from the fairway about 100 yards after it starts, so from 269 yards to 369 yards you have to thread your drive through a narrow fairway. The green is 434 yards from the back tees, but tucked as it is behind the left-side lake it presents quite a challenge. Long hitters have to make a decision either to hit away with their driver and chance going into one of the lakes—since a 269 yard drive with even a slight slice will put you in the right lake and any errant drive with a exaggerated draw will go into the left one—or lay up and go for the green with a bit less lofted club. And a 269 yard drive is very doable since you are hitting from a highly elevated tee. If a strong wind is behind you even an average driver can make it.
When I first played Drumoig it had just opened and I was not exactly enamoured by it. Many of the holes were long and straight and rather boring. But they seem to have made some imaginative changes in the layout and the wind does add some spice--especially on the par threes which are long and challenging. (Consider the lengths: 191, 166, 184 and the last hole, a par three of 211 yards!)
Whether all of this is enough to give up play at one of the more famous layouts in the area is the question. Considering the competition in the area of Fife and the fabulous choices you have of great golf at a reasonable price, I'm hard-pressed to recommend playing this golf course. In fact, if you tire of all the great links golf courses in the area and are aching to play something different, I'd definitely recommend The Dukes St. Andrews golf course, a fantastic heathland layout in the town of St. Andrews. (See our write-up of this excellent course.)
Golf Nook Scotland rating -- BOGEY. Sorry.
Web Site: www.drumoiggolfhotel.com
Mary-Alice suggests ...
What to Do All Day around Drumoig
From St. Andrews take the A914 toward the Tay Bridge. Soon after the signpost for "St. Michael's," you'll see Drumoig Scottish Golf Centre on your right.
While on the Drumoig grounds, you can't help but notice the very compelling chapel high on a hill overlooking the practice range. I never come to Drumoig without paying a visit to this lonesome sancutary, and I suspect you may feel the same. So after dropping off Richard at the golf course I come back down the long driveway to the main road and turn right. As soon as you turn right onto the main road, take the very first right (a small road) toward "Tayport." Then the very first right again and you will be at the gates of the cemetery and chapel. These gates are sometimes open. If not, you can open them yourself and drive up the hill (quite steep) through the cemetery to the chapel. Or, if you prefer, you can leave the car by the gates and walk up--a good idea if you are unsure of your driving skills on steep hills.
This lovely chapel on the hill was built by a local landowner, and is actually a cenotaph--a memorial to someone who is buried somewhere else. The roof is made of copper, an expensive metal, which is why it is lit up at night, to deter thieves! It does look spectacular at night. But you'll be there in the daylight, as I always am. I like to walk around and take in the broad landscape laid out before me. In all the times I've been up on this hill, there has never been another person there aside from the time I brought our visiting niece there. From up here you have a broad view of the Drumoig practice area and points beyond. The chapel itself is not open to the public, but that is incidental to your reason for being up here--it's the stillness and the beauty which will nourish your soul and delight your eyes.
After my visit to the little chapel I come back down the hill, turn right and continue toward Tayport on the B945. (Don't be afraid to venture down these unfamiliar roads. You almost can't get lost. And with your trusty Ordnance Survey map you'll be able to pinpoint exactly where you are at all times.) You'll pass through beautiful rolling countryside, and in a few minutes you'll see Scotscraig Golf Club on your right as you enter the town of Tayport.
I love exploring on my own, and have no trouble at all finding interesting things to do while Richard plays a round of golf. I must admit I do enjoy the "small" things in a country. But if farms, glimpses of golf courses, unusual churches, and rolling countryside are not your cup of tea, don't hesitate to spend the day in St. Andrews and take advantage of all the history and delightful surprises awaiting you there.