Located in an area littered with top class golf courses, Craigielaw is a relative newcomer to the party. Built in 2001 and designed by Donald Steel the Club has an obvious modern feel to it. The Clubhouse is beautifully built and houses a very impressive Pro Shop, locker rooms, restaurant as well as the on-site lodges. The property also has a 6 hole par 3 course and covered driving range. No excuses for not warming up properly!
The modern Clubhouse sits overlooking the course and the bay of Aberlady, with views stretching towards Gullane and Fife; it is an impressive location. The course is played in two loops back to the Clubhouse. Starting with a shortish par 4 where a positional tee shot is required to avoid the bunkers rather than pure length, the course allows you to settle into the round rather than beating you up from the very beginning. The outward nine run away towards to edge of the bay and reaches it at the par 3 6th. Played over the bay, a stone wall and towards Kilspindie GC, the hole is a real test into a strong wind. The property is built on true links land, with undulations and wispy rough framing the holes rather than towering dunes. This gives an open feel and is in keeping with many of the courses in this area. The front nine has a real mix of score-able holes as long as the conditions play ball. Into the wind from the bay the course can play very tough, that, however, is the challenge of links golf. We played in 40mph winds and came off knowing the course had won 1-up.
Opening the back 9 is a lovely downhill par 3 set amongst some very luxurious houses, this may not suit the purist but it certainly adds to the risk. Hit a big pull at your peril! The back nine is certainly the tougher of the two loops with some strong par 4’s. It does give some relief with the risk reward 15th, driveable if you chose to take it on. The stunning par 3 17th and a reachable par 5 closing hole complete a very enjoyable layout.
The modern Clubhouse welcomes you back for a beer and a debrief. The food and beverage offering is excellent and as the Club is open to golfers and visitors alike staying in the on-site lodges, it has a bustling feel to it.
Craigielaw GC may not be 100+ years old as may of the courses are in East Lothian, but it is not inferior because of the fact. A modern design, with fine conditioning, undulating greens and superb off-course facilities.
Ratings: Course 4, Staff 4.5, Facilities 5
Price: From £49-99 depending on time of year.