East Lothian – Scotland’s beautiful Golf Coast
Our golf expert Moritz Wollert went on an amazing journey through Scotland, where he discovered the beautiful Golf Coast. Read here about the experiences he made during his trip.
The car is winding through the narrow streets west of Edinburgh. Old stone walls, little woodlands and rustic houses of British architectural style pass by the window. Runrig’s “The Ocean Road” is playing on the loudspeakers… and suddenly, the landscape opens up. Ahead of us, we see gentle waves of the Firth Of Forth rolling in. At the end of the road, there’s a sign, saying “Scotland’s Golf Coast”. We have arrived at one of Scottland’s biggest golfing meccas. There’s a reason why the rough coast of East Lothian got its sportive reputation. 19 golf courses within about 40 kilometres. A place where you can experience the game in its truest form. The home of golf.
Golf here is different from what it’s like anywhere else in the world. It’s just like the beautiful country from which it has arisen – honest, tough, sincere, spectacular. On almost every course, you can breath history, tradition and a unique love for the game. For example, there’s the little village Gullane, just a tiny spot on the map. But even the road that leads to the village tells you that you are entering a golfer’s paradise. In the middle of three 18 hole courses, there’s a small track leading towards main road. To the left, hidden between some side streets, lies Muirfield, one of the world’s most prestigious courses, where the Open Championship took place 15 times. This is how it goes on and on, curve after curve, village after village. Again and again, you can see dramatic fairways along the coast, a wonderland with wavy dunes, deep pot bunkers and rough bending in the breeze.
A game on West Links at North Berwick Golf Club could be a symbol for the true and seizing Scottish golfing experience. The fact that you a have to pay a three-digit sum for the green fee makes you expect a lot. In front of the club house, you meet secretary John who quickly throws over his club-blazer before he puts your bag away, shows you the course, explains the daily routine and gives you a little private lesson in golf history. After a shopping tour through the Pro Shop and some putts on the putting-green, we go inside the starter hut. Sam and Malcolm have already been waiting there. Old swashbucklers but just as nice and friendly as their colleague John. Malcolm says he’s sorry for that we had to wait for the change, he tells us with a wink that this year he has not returned a lot of cash. Sam gives us the final instructions whilst drinking tee, right at the coast with the howling Scottish wind behind us.
It’s time to start playing. But your score is just a side note – as it should be. In the middle of amazing nature, facing the elements, walking on paths that had been explored with golf clubs for the first time in 1832. You just can’t stop smiling during a round of golf in this magical place. Afterwards John recommends the bar inside the club house but we only took our rain gear with us – not very appropriate for the club’s tradition. John says that doesn’t matter and leads us right upstairs. If someone mentioned our outfits, we could blame it on him. By now you know that North Berwick takes it’s marketing slogan pretty serious – „Visitors are members for a day“.
It’s a brilliant example for the hospitality most Scots carry in their hearts with pride. This combination makes the golf trip become a spiritual and emotional experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re in North Berwick, Gullane, Dunbar or anywhere else around Scotland’s Golf Coast. Or anywhere in Scotland for that matter. And how do they say in “The Ocean Road” … “I saw my light, I held the flame, that we should take this road again”. It could be about golfers, because who once experienced Lothian’s magic sure will visit this place again.
If you come from the European mainland you can easily fly into Edinburgh Airport and then get either a bus (over Waverly Station) or rent a car. Another option would be to take the ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle with your own car and then drive up along the coast.
The famous Golf Coast is just about 20 kilometers away from Edinburgh, so you can stay in the city and get a decent accomodation there. In East Lothian, there are also some small cottages or bed & breakfasts. To visit the golf courses along the Golf Coast, the best idea is to stay in Gullan or Haddington.
Who’s got some time left for culture after playing golf can visit lots of cute villages with awesome pubs and restaurants (Tip: Victoria’s Inn and Duck’s Inn in Aberlady). The harbors of North Berwick and Dunbar are beautiful as well. And in case you want some more city life: Edinburgh is just half an hour away.
STATEMENT: If you love golfing, than you have to visit Scotland. The kindness of its people, the sportive and friendly relationship tot he game and its tradition that grew over the past centuries are nothing like a lot of German golf clubs. Whenever you’re in East Lothian, don’t care too much about your score, enjoy the courses and be open-minded for this country and its people.
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