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What others say

Musselburgh "Monktonhall" Golf Club

Beautifully manicured fairways and greens and long deep bunkers are a feature of this parkland course, which plays nothing like its more famous Scottish links neighbors. But just because it's not famous and not a links layout doesn't mean it's not worthwhile. In fact, Musselburgh has hosted the Scottish Professional Championship twice and is currently a course used as a regional qualifier for the British Open Championship. It's reasonably priced, a good test of golf and a golf course the independent golf traveler may want to consider.

There are trees and gentle hills and long rough on the Musselburgh "Monktonhall" Golf Course. There's even a trek over a river and under a railroad as the course meanders its way around and around. The fairways are wide and inviting. However, there is trouble on just about every one of them. This golf course hates slicers or those who overly fade the ball. For example, #4 is a straight ahead 528 yard par 5 off the medal tees with a wide fairway. Sounds easy, but there are 8 very large and deep bunkers averaging about 20 feet long that are evenly spaced up the right side while the left side has trees and heavy rough. A bit intimidating because on the right side the bunkers come into play on every shot while, on the left, you know trouble awaits you all the way down.

Musselburgh golf course
A lovely layout and always in good shape.
As with so many holes in Scotland "Aim for the steeple" is good advice.
.

First tee jitters are bad enough without having to compound them with a fierce looking hole. But this course starts out beautifully. Teeing off next to the clubhouse you are looking downhill to a wide-open fairway which seems to be welcoming you with open arms. It's a confidence builder and the way I like to start a round.

I love the par 3s.
Just looking at the yardage they don't seem too bad at 124, 142 180 and 154 yards from the visitor's tees. But confronting them is another story. Each has fierce looking bunkers in the front, forcing you to stare at them as you line up your shot and daring you to go over them. Too short is almost definitely a bogie because they are deep and the sand is packed very hard. On some shots where the sand is packed down tightly it may be better to use a lob wedge because, unless you hit your sand wedge perfectly, it will bounce on you and you'll stay in the bunker. (Why is it that par 3s almost never have a low stroke index? If you are playing a par 5 and make one or even two mistake you have 3 or 4 shots to make up for it. A poor shot on a par 3 invariably leads to a bogie. Yet, no matter how difficult a par 3 plays, it's seldom given a low stroke index.)


The medal tees are not used for daily play--and certainly not for visitors unless you are a visiting pro. They are saved for tournaments and special member events. Everyday golf is played from the yellow tees. They are long enough with par 4s measuring 424, 441 and 463 yards. The wind, of course, can make them play like par 5s. From the visitor's tees, however, the par 4s are more friendly although the 18th is a 424 yard par 4 that can spoil your score for sure.

The greens, as I said, are in great shape. They putt true. My only complaint about them is that there are, with few exceptions, no undulations to be concerned about so they are very easy to read. Once you get the pace, you can score some birdies. (Maybe a mid-handicapper like me shouldn't complain.)

I would have rated Musselburgh "Monktonhall" Golf Club a bit higher but because of the lacklustre greens I can rate it only a par. It's a solid par and the course is certainly worth a play. The price makes it even more attractive, especially if you've gotten a bit tired of playing the links courses in the area and want to hone your game on a parkland course, Or, if you want a good 2nd course to play for the day, try this layout. A very friendly club. And it's a good bargain.

Golf Nook Scotland rating - PAR.

www.themusselburghgolfclub.com


*For Mary-Alice's take on What to Do All Day, please see Scotland's Golf Coast area