A membership to Scotland's Craigielaw or Royal Dornoch for a birthday present? Reader asks
A WorldGolf.com reader has written in with a Scotland golf question regarding national memberships:
I saw your article on Craigielaw Golf Club near Gullane, Scotland in July 2009. I’m trying to find a birthday present for a 4-handicap golfer. It’s either a “country membership” to Craigielaw which is 100 miles from us and accessible or Dornoch which is 200 miles and not very accessible.
Would be grateful for your thoughts. - Liz
Now, Craigielaw vs. Royal Dornoch from a traveling golfer’s perspective is a no-brainer. Royal Dornoch is a superior, 19th century links club and one of my favorite in the world and one of the five best links in Scotland not on the Open rota.
If the country membership only accounts for a handful of rounds per year and your friend has a few long weekends to use over the year, I’m guessing he’d rather play four rounds at Dornoch versus four rounds at Craigielaw. If the number of allowed rounds is higher, like say a dozen, that drive to Dornoch, which gets really tricky in the winter months with snow closing the main road to Inverness at times, might get even more tedious.
Craigielaw represents Scotland’s new school in the heart of East Lothian, one of Scotland’s most historic golf pockets. It welcomes guests, lets you play off whichever tee you wish, and has fine practice facilities and a little six-hole short course. The championship course is also plenty of challenge, as evidenced by some of the young talent that has gone pro out of this club in recent years, so your sharp-shooting friend won’t be bored with the design.
For a little insider advice I turned to my friend Allan Minto, who runs the GolfEastLothian.com co-op and who and is a member of Craigielaw (and quite a good stick to boot).
“Trying not to be too biased towards my home club, I’d have to say that Dornoch is the better of the two courses but Craigielaw is probably the best one for him to join and is improving all the time,” he said via email. “It already produces a lot of good players who can use their imagination around the tricky greens but I’m pretty sure he will enjoy it playing off a 4 handicap…The club is also very welcoming and as a new member, he would easily find new playing partners if necessary.”
“If he wants to bring over friends to play alongside him as guests, it would also be easier for them to go over on a day trip rather than stay over in Dornoch. I’d certainly be delighted to have a game with him anytime he’s over on his own.”
So I hope we’ve muddied up the dilemma for you even more Liz, and good luck on your decision!
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