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Luffness New Golf Club

Luffness New. Strange name, isn't it? Makes you want to ask, "Okay, what's a 'Luffness' and where's the old one?" Actually, the original Luffness golf course was founded in 1867, and laid out by the legendary Tom Morris, architect of many a great Scottish links golf courses. In 1894, however, they had to abandon their layout and start anew, with Tom Morris again as architect. The original membership was made up of "102 gentlemen as life-members on payment of six pounds each" (not a bad deal). And thus the new Luffness course was launched. Of all the names they could have chosen, for some reason the name Luffness New Golf Club was selected.

Overview of Luffness New Golf Club
Kind of gets your golf juices flowing, doesn't it?

Luffness New is a final qualifying course for the Open Championship

A true Scottish links golf course, Luffness New is seldom if ever chosen for a play by the golf travel companies, who would rather concentrate on the more "famous" golf courses in the area. But it is a favorite of the independent golf traveler. Luffness New runs adjacent to the three fine Gullane courses, all of which are also true Scottish links layouts. In fact, it's difficult to tell where one golf course ends and the others begin. Like Gullane #1, Luffness New Golf Club is used as a final qualifying course when the British Open Championship is played at Muirfield. It has the same turf, hills, tough bunkers, deep rough, and wind that Gullane #1 has. In addition, it has fabulous greens that are always in terrific shape year round. The fairways also are beautifully kept and the views from the course are stunning.

Bring your short game

The course measures "only" 6,122 yards but it plays to a par 69, so don't be put off by the yardage. It's got an AFSD of 186 yards. That's long enough for the best players. And, too, there is only two par 5's so you know the par 4s are going to be long. On a calm day, if you keep the ball in the fairway, you'll score well. Don't forget the wind (as if you could when you play in it!). The wind makes this course much tighter. Remember, where you are. The Firth of Forth is just a fraction of a mile away and the wind is generally a factor. Caddies have been known to say, "It will take you three to be up there in two today." Holes #2, 9, 14 and 18-all long par 4s and on many days it will take you three to get there in two, so bring your short game. Having said that, remember that on links golf courses, because of the soil and short grass, the ball runs a lot further than on other golf courses. A 225 yard drive can easily run another 30 or 40 yards. And with a strong wind behind you a drive that would normally travel 225 yards on a parkland golf course can travel 275 yards on a links course. That "advantage" can quickly turn into a disadvantage, however, because the more a ball runs on these undulating fairways, the more opportunity for a bunker to gobble it up. The way to score on a links golf course is to hit the ball straight, not necessarily long.

The bunkers are well-placed, but they will severely penalize those who have trouble getting out of bunkers--especially deep bunkers. As with so many other Scottish courses, the first rule to remember when you are in a bunker is "Get Out!". Don't try to be fancy, just get out. Rely on your short game to get you your par or, at worse, a bogey. Just get out of trouble. Take your bogey if you have to and start fresh on the next hole. The same holds true for the rough. It's penal with deep grass in some areas. Trying to do too much from a bunker or the deep rough accounts for the high scores that this course can dish out. Take a drop if you have to and get on with your bogey

The greens at Luffness New are on the smallish side and relatively flat. Just because they don't have the exaggerated undulations of a North Berwick West Links course doesn't mean they are easy. Bobby Locke thought them to be "...the best greens in Scotland." Tony Yeates, the Secretary, tells me they are in the process of speeding up the greens. That should make them an even better test.

Luffness New--bunkers galore!
Nuff bunkers for you?

Like Gullane #1, this course has the downhill, uphill, and side-hill lies that come with the gently rolling Gullane hills. Because of the hills, it also presents the choices you will have to make to club up or down, depending on whether the green is far below you or far above you. Add to this the spectacular views and you'll have quite a good day of golf.

Golf Nook Scotland rating -- PAR
But I hasten to say, however, that any Scottish links golf course with a "par" rating is a fine golf course.
I would have rated Luffness New slightly higher but their relatively high green fees influenced my rating.

I found this to be a friendly private club that welcomes guests. You'll enjoy the goodwill you will be shown as a visiting golfer. When women play they use the same tees as the men but certain long par 4s are made par 5s for the women.


Luffness New Clubhouse
The golf course is always kept in tip-top shape--one of the best conditioned in Scotland. Their clubhouse is a bit more formal than the others in the area. (The only place where ties don't have to be worn is in the showers!)

www.luffnessgolf.com


*For What to Do All Day, please see Craigielaw