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Macdonald Cardrona Feature Review

By: Matt Holbrook | Mon 17 Oct 2016

Golfshake ambassador Matt Holbrook took time out to head up to the Scotland early in October 2016 to stay and play at the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel Golf & Spar resort in the heart of the Scottish Borders.

Set in the heart of the Scottish Borders The Macdonald Cardrona Hotel Golf & Spar resort offers the entire family a relaxing retreat whatever your chosen activity. With 99 Rooms, 2 bars, conference and wedding facilities as well as a state of the art gym spa and swimming pool there is nothing missing from this impressive venue.


Its championships golf course, designed by former Ryder Cup player Dave Thomas, measures up to 7000 yards from the back tees and makes the most of its natural surrounding woodland, parkland and riverside elements.

Opened in 2001 The Macdonald Cardrona Championship Course has a lot to offer other than the course itself with breathtaking scenery in a surreal environment.

On my arrival I was greeted warmly by the very friendly staff in the pro shop where I was given the run down on what to expect and a few pointers on the layout of the course.  I stocked up on tees and balls from the well stocked shop and headed out to hit some balls on the range. The practice facilities also included a chipping/putting green as well as a practice bunker which is just what you need before you head out.

Par 3s

Length is the biggest factor with all 4 of the par 3's. Ranging from 173 yards to 199 Yards its the 5th that really grabs your attention.

With the innocent looking water hazard running across the front of the green hitting the right club is vital to finding the putting surface. The large dangerous bunker to the front right of the green will also potentially punish any errant shot from the tee. Very easy on the eye but don;t be sucked in.


Par 4s

The pure variety of the Par 4's on offer is a golfers dream. The 2nd plays short (272 Yards) and left to right but has fairway bunkers perfectly placed to avoid before you approach the green.

The 7th, also left to right, is a shade under 400 yards but clearing the water is a bare minimum in order not to be blocked out for a second into a well protected putting surface.

The 8th, again short, around 330 yards but depending on pin placement can make the second shot into a long a narrow green ever more important.

The 16th plays left to right and tee shot placement is vital. Anything short or hugging the left side of the fair will leave you block out to a green that sits a fair way below the rest of the hole and the 17th plays at 417 yards so always a long second shot into another green guarded by angry looking traps.

Par 5s

The Par 5's definitely offer up the best scoring opportunity with the longest being 550 yards - the 14th - however with a forgiving fairway and a second shot short of the bunker you can easily avoid the trouble.

The 12th is stunning, slightly tighter off the tee but the fairway widens and the hole progresses. Taking the green on in two probably isnt an option as the water hazard short of the green will stop anything rolling on. The green is small and tight but find the surface in 3 and a birdie could be on the cards.

There is almost 3 sections to Cardrona. You play the 1st to the 4th then head across the bridge over the River Tweed to play the 5th 6th and 7th. Back over the Tweed for the 8th before heading along the path and under Cardrona Road to play the 9th to 17th. Finally finishing in front of the hotel.

Post Rounds Thoughts

Each 'section' of the course has different scenery and fell about them which really does add to the feel and enjoyment of the course.  From tee box to green the course is perfect. Not once do you feel your just playing 'another' hole.

The fairways are fairly forgiving and danger is relatively hard to find which will add to enjoyment for the lesser ability of visitors. The fairways are excellently kept and the greens are firm and true, rolling extremely well.  The bunkers are strategically placed to collect any errant tee or approach shot and well kept and the water hazards are very easy on the eye.

The spike bar after offers a excellent selection of post round food and drinks looking over the driving range and 18th hole and well as the picturesque backdrop of the wooded hills.

Cardrona Course VLOG


Matt's Cardrona Course VLOG

The whole experience at Cardrona is one to cherish for a long time. The condition of the course is superb and the large collection of water features ditches and swales will aid the drainage of the course during winter months offering a solid playing experience all year round.

The Welcome, The Course, The Views even the drive out is fantastic. The experience all round is one that will stick with you for a long time and another Macdonald course I would highly recommend with a 10 out of 10.

For more information visit: www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/our-hotels/macdonald-cardrona-hotel-golf-spa/golf/


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