Archerfield Links Fidra Course Feature Review

By: Robert Treanor | Tue 13 Aug 2019 | Comments


Review by Golfshake Ambassador Rob Treanor, August 2019


The stunning Archerfield Links was ranked in the top 20 rated courses of 2018 by Golfshake’s independent member reviews. Ambassador Rob Treanor went to experience this Highly Recommended venue and its historic surroundings.

Situated in an area of outstanding golf, the luxurious Archerfield Estate boasts two top quality D.J. Russell designed courses as well as a world-renowned performance academy. Away from the golf there is superb accommodation, a spa and huge colonial style clubhouse which would put most five star hotels to shame. Put simply, the club has established itself as one of the best venues in the UK.

Competition in this corner of the world is particularly fierce, as nowhere else is there quite this volume of amazing golf courses which are so good that golfers often travel halfway around the world to play them. Archerfield therefore needed to do something a little different in order to move the needle forward. The vast 550-acre estate has managed to achieve just that, making the experience about much more than just golf. 

Pre-Round Thoughts

The experience at Archerfield is different level. Every little detail area has been designed to relax guests and create an environment to allow them to play their best golf and have a great time in the company of friends. The practice facilities have genuinely set a new bar. A unique and unrivalled academy featuring state of the art equipment is coupled with an enormous driving range with (refreshingly) high quality balls as well as a fantastic chipping area and three separate putting greens. Balls are complementary and carefully crafted into attractive pyramids ready for golfers to use.

The setup at Archerfield is designed to be relaxing. Everything is taken care of for you meaning you can purely focus on getting in the right frame of mind for your round. The peaceful surroundings are serene and tranquil. I can’t remember feeling more relaxed before starting a round which was a great frame of mind to be in.

Front 9 Overview

The tall Pine trees which line the fairways throughout the front nine on the Fidra create a tremendously atmospheric and inviting backdrop. After a gentle and gentlemanly opening hole, the par five 2nd presents an early birdie opportunity. The large, receptive green only has very light protection so if you can keep you ball straight and on the short turf then you will have a chance of finding a good position on the large green.

Another opportunity awaits at a great par five on the 6th. A good drive gives the opportunity to go for the thin, two-tiered green with the second shot, though this will be difficult shot to hold. Perhaps better to play for position on the left-hand side of the fairway, an approach which takes the bunkers out of play. A pretty but deadly waste area will catch anything which drifts right of the green.

A tight drive on the ninth means that positioning from the tee is key. The four bunkers protecting the front of the green feature traditional links style riveting. Deep, menacing and penal, making a good score from these traps is a difficult proposition so be sure to take enough club to keep them at bay!

Back 9 Overview

The course is designed to be challenging yet welcoming meaning if you stray a little offline you will have your hair ruffled a little, rather than feeling like you have been smacked in the face. The 11th is a wonderfully shaped golf hole. The fairway has trees intercepting the right-hand side as well as a series of bunkers which start right and drift diagonally back and left as progress is made closer to the pin. Further fairway bunkers make distance control and positioning essential to find the right portion of the small green. A very good golf hole, par is a good score here.

Refreshingly, the scenery changes following the 11th from the Pine tree lined fairways more open links like experience. The sequence of holes from 13 to 15 is particularly strong, starting with a stunning par three at 13. Everything at Archerfield has been constructed to the highest quality standards, meaning not only is there stunning landscape framing this pretty hole, but the picture is completed by the stone bridges in the near ground which cross the trickling stream. A bail out area means a miss short right can be forgiven, though going left is likely to encounter a devilish bunker. A stunning, enjoyable, friendly but also challenging hole, this sums up what Archerfield is all about.

The tough 14th has a narrow landing area on the fairway before the hole sweeps gently left. A long second shot will be faced by those who haven’t taken on the corner from the tee, though this would be a very bold move! A treacherous waste area spans the right-hand side of the fairway all the way along to the green, where it is a relief to find a generous run up area. Another unique and enjoyable hole on this fantastic back nine.

An epic finishing hole brings a fine course to a suitable climax. A split fairway is dissected by a series of bunkers the size of the moon. Most should be able to carry these to find the short turf after which the fairway snakes and turns meaning there are few straight shots towards the raised, welcoming green. It is impossible not to enjoy playing this hole.

Post-Round Thoughts

The Fidra Course has been crafted and cultivated to an extremely high specification. It is designed to be enjoyable to play, pleasing on the eye and to make the most of the beautiful natural surroundings. The gentle roar of the sea on the coastal holes, the finely manicured sandy turf and the tall Pine trees which serve as excellent aiming posts make this one of the most scenic rounds of golf imaginable with the par fives in particular living long in the memory. 

The luxurious colonial style clubhouse caters to golfers’ every whim with an array of seating and dining options. There is no dress code, the service and food is fantastic, with everything geared towards providing an outstanding experience.

Verdict

As an all-round golf facility, Archerfield is one of the best in the business. As a country retreat for a long weekend, I can think of no better venue. The incredible facilities, amazing courses and outstanding service meant that I played some of my best golf and had the experience of a lifetime. Archerfield is truly a special destination.

Top Tips

  • Arrive early to make the most of the practice facilities and experience the unique clubhouse.
  • Grab the unique course guide and use it to find the right side of the hole.
  • This supermodel of a golf course is very pretty but bites if you find the wrong places! 
Overall Rating - 10
Course (Conditions) - 10
Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 9
Course (Green Condition) - 10
Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 9
Club Facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 10
Practice Facilities - 10
Friendliness/Hospitality - 10
Pace of Play - 10
Value for Money - 9

Related Content: Scotland review East Lothian Courses

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