Scottish Links Golf
AFSD - how to determine
the real length of a golf course
Royal Aberdeen, Cruden Bay...
Royal Troon, Turnberry, Prestwick...
Just east of Edinburgh
Scotland's Golf Coast
Royal Dornoch, Brora, Nairn...
St. Andrews area
Other golf courses
Great links golf for everyone
What others say
Castle Park©© Ever been frustrated by the design of a golf course you were playing? Ever think you could do a better job? Ever want to? Four enthusiastic Gullane golfers thought they could--and they actually did! Castle Park Golf Course is the result of their work. This unique course, built on a naturally undulating site that was once the great deer park of nearby Yester Castle, was designed by a team of four enthusiastic local golfers. The course is kept in good shape and has some interesting holes. And...it's an inexpensive play.
Castle Park is located inland from the coast about 40 minutes from Edinburgh and about 25 minutes from North Berwick, in the Lammermluir HIll, some of East Lothian's prettiest rural countryside. In fact, it's located just a mile or so from the nine-hole Gifford Golf Club and shares the same topography (although Gifford is a much, much better layout.)
When it first opened in 1994, Castle Park Golf Course was a 9-hole layout with a good local reputation. However, in 2002 nine new holes were added (which are now the front nine) along with a restaurant, reception and ladies' changing room.
The Course -- For a relatively new course, it's in good shape and will get better as it matures. The greens are imaginatively and fairly contoured--not too many hills and valleys--and consist of 80% fescue and 20% bent grass. They are kept in great shape. Personally, I think good greens are the most important part of any golf course and these greens are first class all the way. The ball runs true.
The course is quite hilly, especially the back nine. So you will be hitting shots from uphill lies, downhill lies, sidehill lies--just about every kind of shot you can imagine. Club selection is critical. You'll have to make decisions all day as to how many clubs to add or subtract, depending on whether you are aiming for an uphill green or one way down below. Oh, and don't forget the wind. It's as important a part of your decision as is the distance.
The back nine has by far the most interesting holes. Some of them border on gimmicky. Also, the par 3s are quite interesting and #12 stands out as the best of them. It's only 168 yards from the back tees but tee and green are separated by a valley that has to be about 60 feet deep from the tee and about 100 feet deep from the green, so the green is about 40 feet higher than the tee. Obviously, if you don't carry your shot all the way to the green, you stand the chance of seeing your ball roll all the way down the hill to the bottom of the valley. Even if you do make it onto the green, the bad news is that you have to walk 60 feet down a very steep embankment to the valley and then up 100 feet on an even steeper hill to the green! Believe me, it's an aerobic workout and can turn legs into jelly.
Castle Park is not a championship golf course, I want to make that clear. Nor do I think you should play it before you play some of the great links courses in the area. It would seem a shame to come to Scotland's Golf Coast with all those great links courses right there and take time to play this parkland course. However, considering the layout of the golf course, the inexpensive cost of play, the friendliness of the staff, the practice facility (it has one of the few driving ranges in the area), this is a good value and worth considering. But only if you have time to spare and are looking for something different.
Golf Nook Rating - I decided not to rate Castle Park Golf Course with a normal rating. The reason? Golf Nook Scotland is geared mostly to Scottish links golf courses. With all the truly great golf courses on the Golf Coast of Scotland, I would not advise taking time to play this golf course unless you were going to be in the area for an extended period of time. But...having said that, the cost is low, the staff is very friendly, the greens are great and the layout is okay. Thus, "no rating." You'll just have to read the review and decide for yourself if this is a course for you. Sorry.
Miscellaneous Information --
The flags are not the same size as you'll find in the U.S. They are only 5 feet high, so they fool you into thinking you are farther away than you really are. Purchase a yardage book and trust it. The yardage book is a good one, by the way--one of the best I've seen.
Food - Good restaurant serving tasty and well-prepared home-cooked meals in a very friendly atmosphere.
Driving range - There is a fine driving range with many targets and distances clearly marked. The prices are about half of what other ranges in the area charge and the tees are covered so you can hone your game on a rainy day.
Buggy & Trolley - This is a hilly course--VERY hilly--so you may want to rent a buggy, especially if it's your second game of the day. Trolleys are also available for rental. The trolleys are the kind with a wheel on the front, which makes it so much easier than the normal two-wheeled type.
Mary-Alice suggests ...
*For What to Do All Day please see the Golf Coast area, as this location is somewhat isolated. But If you have a car, it is worthwhile coming along because Castle Park is located in the beautiful Lammermuir Hills, one of Scotland's best kept secrets. Lots of wonderful walking in this area. And the charming village of Gifford is only a few minutes away. Please see Gifford Golf Course for details of things to do.