Luffness New Golf Club Feature Review
Review by Golfshake Ambassador Rob Treanor, August 2019
Luffness New is a traditional, hearty links course which like many of its neighbours in East Lothian, is steeped in history. The club celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2019, a fitting occasion for Golfshake Ambassador Rob Treanor to stop by and learn more about the roots of the game.
Luffness New was designed by Old Tom Morris in 1894, a statement which will make any knowledgeable golfer sit up in their chair to take heed. The original Old Course was abandoned after a dispute over who owned the land, at which point the club was forced to up sticks and move to its current site on the Luffness Estate.
To arrive at the club today is to transcend through time, back to an age where chivalry, wit and charm were held in utmost esteem. Introductions and green fees are made and settled in the delightful wood panelled clubhouse alongside a very warm welcome indeed. This is a place where the traditions of the game are cherished and consciously preserved, something which makes the experience all the more enjoyable.
Front 9 Overview
Clever visual design is a consistent theme throughout this shrewd and astute golf course. The first hole is a short par 4 on which it is key to find the fairway in preparation for the approach. The second shot is played over formidable bunkers which are akin to battlements at a Norman castle. The raised edges of these wonderful riveted bunkers cunningly hide the apron and good-sized green from view, meaning a great deal of trust is required in the yardage. The speed of the small greens at Luffness New are fast indeed, meaning a par here is a very good start to an absorbing and stimulating course!
Several of the holes traverse up and down the side of a majestic hill, giving a good variety of interest and challenge. Stood on the 8th tee box, the commanding views are such that it feels as though you can see out across the whole of Scotland. The hugely inviting downhill tee shot requires thought, as it is important to find the relatively thin fairway which is framed by rough in which plenty of balls will have met their end. The bunkers either side of the green allow only straight shots to pass by unperturbed on their way to the flag.
Back 9 Overview
The tee shot on the 11th is played blind over a mound not 50 feet in front of the tee box. This leap of faith is made all the more daunting by the fairway in view, which is cut very thin. It is a relief to find the short turf is much more expansive once the climb to the summit of the terrain is complete. There is likely to still be fair distance to cover on this long par 4 though, where a relatively flat green provides a fair test after the difficulty of reaching it has been overcome. The 17th is a cracker. A mid length par 4, the fairway bunkers are beautiful, brutal and very well placed. From the tee this allows lots of shot shapes to be dreamed up in order to find the best position for the second blow. The green is defended by a mound and further deep bunkering in similar fashion with the first hole, which masks the apron and the green. A great hole which is very appealing from start to finish.
The course is distinguished, characterful and fair, with clever visual design and distinctive bunkers resulting in a very natural feeling links. Old school golf is the order of the day, with gentle undulations, subtle challenges and stunning scenery to keep the golfer thinking on the way round. The delightfully simple names for the holes such as “Hill”, “Long” and “Road” complement the simplicity and straightforwardness of the offering here.
Upholding traditions and preserving the values of times gone by is important to the club. There are plenty of pleasant quirks which make this a memorable venue, including the unique clubhouse which is an experience in itself.
There is something quite mystical about this charming club, meaning it is like nowhere else I have ever played. Luffness New truly is the place that time forgot. Come here to experience a superb links golf course which feels as though it has not changed a jot since its formation in the late 1800s. Writing about the club he loves, Hector Chawla wrote that Luffness New “has its own style”. Having spent an afternoon in the company of this traditional links gem, I couldn’t agree more!
- Keep the ball out of the rough for a more relaxing experience!
- The club is proud of its traditions so make sure you read up on the visitor notes ahead of your trip.
- Bring jacket and tie to experience the unique smoke room.
Overall Rating - 8
Course (Conditions) - 9
Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 8
Course (Green Condition) - 9
Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 9
Club Facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 8
Practice Facilities - 7
Friendliness/Hospitality - 9
Pace of Play - 10
Value for Money - 7
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