It's not often that a new golf course opens in Scotland, so it was real privilege to play this ambitious little 9 hole Par 3 course on 25 May 2013. I'd been due to caddy at Archerfield GC early that morning but after chewing the fat with my caddying buddies in the car park for an hour, we were advised that the 9 Frenchmen who had booked caddies had been out on the town the previous night and would not be playing that day. Their loss, as 25 May was the warmest day of the year so far in East Lothian and a perfect day for golf. Either they weren't real golfers and/or had had a really epic Friday night out, as none of my golfing buddies would ever let the small matter of a hangover stand in the way of a round of golf on such a perfect day. Anyway, I thought I'd explore a new golf course that I'd noticed was being built just outside Port Seton in East Lothian within the Seton Sands Holiday Village. This development is visible from the main road to Longniddry and from the train line to London and I'd passed it a few times over the recent Winter, wondering when it would finally open. It turned out that the course had only just opened for play at 1000 hrs on the 25th. I'd arrived at 1015 and there were a couple of guys already playing but I reckon I was the 3rd golfer to play the course.
The course will probably be catering primarily for the caravanners at the onsite caravan park/holiday village, but despite the large number of established courses in East Lothian, there's probably also a market for a pay as you play par 3 course, suitable for beginners and casual practice etc., so with suitable marketing this new course could be a commercial success. I hope so, since its a good layout that over time will mature into a decent test for golfers of all standards. The course is a modest 1404 Yards, Par 27, but the greens are very small, have some pretty severe slopes and in some cases are like inverted saucers, meaning that it's incredibly difficult to hit and hold any green in regulation. I'm playing reasonably well at the moment and with holes ranging from 132 - 198 Yards I'd expected to make a few greens in regulation. I did hit the 9th 196 Yard 9th with my tee shot but like all of my other tee shots, I still missed the green, so scoring birdies here will be a rarity, at least until the course softens a bit. As matters stand, the course is pretty bare in places and was dry and compacted underfoot. The greens are better but still very young and will take time to settle, but given time, some over-seeding, lots of water, feeding and kind weather conditions, this little course might soon blossom. This is the 4th green, looking over to the small clubhouse and the sea in the distance.
Best hole on the course is the 9th, as shown here. This is a 196 Yard Par 3 played slightly downhill, avoiding a pond to the left. The green slopes quite significantly away from you and to the right so you need to be pretty accurate off the tee and par is a good score. I'd noticed that the 2 guys in front weren't scoring well, to put it politely, so by default it looked as though I might have the course record. My 31 was 4 over par with 13 putts, so not bad. However, it would have been nice to make at least one green in regulation, and I suspect my course record wouldn't have survived for very long, since by the time I finished there were a considerable number of golfers on the course. Still, a record is a record, so well done me.
I'd play this little course again sometime and I wish it well.