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I’m writing this from old town in Edinburgh on a grey old day with a smile since I managed to squeeze in my first round of golf in Scotland despite the weather. The course I played was Duddingston Golf Club which is located on the east flank of Edinburgh. Despite only being a ten minute cab ride from downtown it felt like it was a world away from the hustle and bustle of a capital city as I strolled though this pleasant parkland course.
The course was established in 1895 by the financial community and known as the Insurance & Banking Golf Club at the Duddingston Estate. The land which was once part of a deer estate has many ties to Scottish history which you can read about here. The estate was owned by the Duke of Abercorn and located beneath the backdrop of the 823 feet extinct volcano called Arthur’s Seat. The term “Duddingston” means ‘sunny side of the hill’ in gaelic. Today the course measures 6525 yards and is considered by many to be one of the most outstanding parkland courses in the Lothians.
When I arrived I had a good feeling about the place despite the weather being questionable with light drizzle. After a few holes the clouds broke and it was blue skies and happy days. The course itself is quite fair if you don’t hit errant shots but what else is new? There was a wide array of hole types but for the most part, it’s rather open and what I’d consider a forgiving course. The greens rolled true and it could best be described as quaint and filled with character from the unique hole designs to the mature trees which lined the fairways.
I manage to get a par on holes #3, 9, 15 & 16 and filled the rest of the card with countless two-putt bogeys and a few others which we won’t go too far into detail discussing. The bunkers are often cleverly placed to catch errant drives or approach shots and the greens ranged from small to spacious and more often than not guarded by greenside bunkers. Also, with the fall foliage in full effect it was most important to stay on the short stuff or risk losing your ball.
The course offered lots of risk and reward opportunities that I liked. Should I hit a casual 6 iron and and try my luck with the pitching-wedge or just go for it with the 3 wood? Most of my others on the scorecard came from erroneous decisions at these junctions. Also, the par 3’s were all quite long so you needed to decide if you’re going to go for it or lay up and hope to get up and down. Naturally, the greens were well protected and it lead to some interesting tests of golf to say the least.
I started my round at about two in the afternoon and the pace of play was quick. I will note that the whole experience was good times but the back 9 was definitely my favorite; thoroughly enjoyed the stretch from holes 13-17. Something worth noting is that nothing was a given on this course and one errant shot usually lead to others. Below is the green of my favorite hole, the 15th.
In closing, I’d like to thank Duddingston Golf Club for their hospitality and a most memorable Monday afternoon round. This was my first round in Scotland and it most certainly won’t be my last. That said, when I do return it will be in the summer as the weather will be warmer and when I send my ball deep in the rough, it will be easier to find without all the fall foliage!