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Scottish Links Golf

The Basics

Detailed information

AFSD - how to determine
the real length of a golf course

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Aberdeen &
Grampian Highlands

Royal Aberdeen, Cruden Bay...

Royal Troon, Turnberry, Prestwick...

Just east of Edinburgh
Scotland's Golf Coast
Castle Park
Luffness New
Musselburgh Links
North Berwick
Royal Musselburgh

Northern Highlands
Royal Dornoch, Brora, Nairn...

St. Andrews area

Other golf courses
Machrihanish, Pitlochry...

Links Lite
Great links golf for everyone


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The Glen Golf Club

Lofty 1st tee of the beautiful Glen Course
1st tee, high above the town--a workout just to climb it ! Clubhouse down below

If you can survive the climb up the steep 1st fairway on this one-of-a-kind golf course, you'll be rewarded with some good golf, fantastic views, and some great fun. The Glen Golf Club is a mostly parkland golf course with parkland type turf, but with more than a hint of a seaside links. Add the fact that there are some magnificent views of the Firth of Forth and the town of North Berwick and a price that can't be beat, and it's easily a worthwhile play. And, as a bonus, the course was refurbished in 2003 with three new greens added, which made a good course even better. Another added bonus is a brand new clubhouse, opened in 2007.

You will sometimes hear The Glen Golf Club referred to as the North Berwick East Links. It was founded in 1906, making it a youngster by Scottish standards, where centuries old golf clubs are common, especially in this area.

Virtually all of The Glen course perches on a high piece of land that overlooks the Firth of Forth. To get up to that plateau you must first negotiate hole number one. A Land Rover might help! The distance in height between the 1st tee and the 1st green has to at least 100 feet,. No one I asked knew exactly how far it was but, let me tell you, getting to the first green is an aerobic workout. Schlepping a bag of clubs doesn't help a bit. (Electric buggies are available, by the way.) Your tee shot will probably land at the bottom of the hill. Even if it starts up the hill give your second shot an extra club or two more than you figure because there's a long, long way to go up that hill. And be sure to catch your breath before you putt because you'll be huffin' and puffin'. The 1st hole quickly gets you up to the level where most of the greens sit. From then on you are treated to views that are simply spectacular--and the golf ain't bad either.

14th medal tee at the Glen Course
Exhilarating 13th medal tee...

Not as short as it seems

The course seems relatively short on paper at 6,243 yards but yardage can be deceptive. Always look at the par when you look at the yardage. They are tied to one another. Note this: The Old Course at St. Andrews has an average fairway shot distance (see AFSD for an explanation of this unique system) of 182 yards off the medal tees. The monster, Carnoustie, has an AFSD of 186 off the medal tees. The Glen Golf Club, with a par of only 70, has an AFSD of 184 yards off the medal tees. What's so short about that? (The AFSD off the visitor's tees is 175 yards.) It plays even longer than that because the parkland turf does not allow the long rolls on your drives that the true links courses do. So in this case even AFSD is not all that accurate. Trust me, it's not a particularly short course. With the constant decisions you'll have to make based on the hilly terrain and the fine layout plus the vagaries of the wind, you will have your hands full trying to tame it.

The Glen's 13th hole is like Cypress Point's 16th

The 13th deserves special mention. It's a beauty [see photo above] and immediately makes one think of the 15th at Kingsbarns or even the 16th at Cypress Point. Although not as difficult, this one is every bit as intriguing and beautiful. Perched on a tee at the edge of a rocky cliff with the wild Firth of Forth on your right, you are faced with a devilishly devious hole that, depending on the wind, plays to anything from a 3 iron to a wedge. The flag sits a mere 144 yards away (invariably blowing wildly and placed precariously close to the right edge or the back edge of the green, both of which have the ocean as neighbors) and beckons to you as seductively as the Sirens beckoned to Jason and his Argonauts: "Come and get me, big boy. Think you're man enough to aim at me instead of wimping off to the left and playing safe?" Do yourself a favor--be a wimp and aim for the center of the green. You're hitting 3 off the tee if your first ball goes for a swim and there's no guarantee that your next one won't too. If you keep your tee shot in Scotland there's a good chance for a par. That's a whole lot better than a good chance for a double bogey or worse.

Take a look at this YouTube -- a group playing the 13th on a windy day:

Glen #13 beckons "Come on...make my day!"
The par 3 awesome 13th (viewed from the 14th tee with the tide out), is a challenging hole on a clear day. When the wind is up, it's a monster.
Photography by David J. Whyte

The aerobic exercise climbing up the 1st fairway will have you breathing heavily, but teeing off on the 18th will more than make up for it. Even if the wind is blowing in your face, you can get off a good drive because the tee sits up at least100 feet above the fairway. The 18th and 1st fairway together make it wide open below you so you can really tee off on the ball. If you get even a half-decent drive off you'll feel as if you should be called "Bubba" after you hit it. There is a bunker on the right at 230 yards and one on the left at 257 yards. If the wind is roaring behind you and you're a long hitter, take note: there is also a bunker in the middle of the fairway 310 yards out to keep you honest.

Glen course 12th fairway A feast for the eyes
from any angle
New 6th green, The Glen
Spectacular 12th fairway New 6th green

This course makes an interesting tandem when coupled with the fabulous North Berwick West Course on the other side of town. And The Glen is very inexpensive. If you were to divide the price by a fun quotient, it's a great bargain. The new clubhouse, with ample facilities including showers and changing area, is available to visitors. You'll have the best views in North Berwick from their good restaurant overlooking the sea, and the bar serves bar meals all day.

The Golf Nook rating -- a solid PAR.

Be sure to visit The Glen's beautiful newly-designed website. Lots of helpful information along with mouth-watering 3-dimensional panoramic "tours" of the golf course. You'll wish you were there right now!

For What to Do All Day, please refer to the Golf Coast area