BERWICK WEST LINKS
The 13th oldest golf club in the world, North Berwick is
second only to the Royal & Ancient Club in St. Andrews for continuous
play over the same course. The West Links was originally 6 holes, with
a 7th added before it was extended to 18 holes in 1877. One of the most
natural links in the world, North Berwick may not be the longest of courses
at 6,420 yards but rest assured that successful navigation requires the
full repertoire of shot making.
course has been described as being from a primitive age, a statement that
must not be perceived as taking anything away from its undeniable quality.
The simple fact is that North Berwick has to a large extent evolved naturally
with little assistance from mankind, a fact reflected in the name of the
principle course architect - Mother Nature herself.
Like all courses of similar historical origins, North Berwick has its
own stories to tell - some good, some funny and some tragic. In the early
days, matches between leading professionals were frequent and attracted
thousands of spectators. In September 1875, one such match pitted Willie
and Mungo Park against Young and Old Tom Morris. The match ended abruptly
when a telegram arrived with the news that Young Tom's wife was seriously
ill after the birth of their son. On setting out for home, a second message
arrived with the news that both Mother and son had died. So devastating
was the news to the 25-year old "legend", that Young Tom, already
triple Open Champion, died 3 months later.
Each hole on this stimulating links, which regularly hosts final qualifying
for the British Open, poses different tests of judgement and skill. A
unique golfing experience, North Berwick boasts blind holes, spectacular
views, drives over walls and burns and bunkers deep enough for golfers
to disappear from view. Many holes have been copied by designers all over
the world, most commonly the 14th named "Perfection" and the 192-yard
par 3 15th hole called "Redan", which has been replicated in both
Pebble Beach and Shinnecock Hills.
Like many of the great holes in golf, first impressions of "Redan"
can be deceptive and it is only by playing the hole a number of times
does it reveal its hidden subtleties. The mounds, ridges and depressions
left after the sea receded gives the course its natural contours and the
15th hole was part of that evolution. For the player on the tee, the green
is blind and the shaped shot, which is demanded to battle with the prevailing
wind can be struck with anything from a driver to a nine iron.
Marine Hotel North Berwick (2
minutes), Greywalls (20 minutes),
Balmoral Hotel (40 minutes),
Sheraton Grand Hotel (40 minutes)