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Sean_A

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The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC New
« on: March 27, 2017, 09:32:47 AM »


Besides being the home of the well known Belhaven Brewery and the Battle of Dunbar in which Cromwell’s army routed the Scots, Dunbar is the furthest east of a string of delightful links which spread across the East Lothian coast. Golf was originally played at Dunbar on the west side of town at Westbarn by gentlemen with Masonic connections.  It wasn’t until 1856 that the new club was founded and a course layed out over the East Links which was formerly part of the Duke of Roxburghe’s Estate.  The course originally consisted of 15 holes and in 1894 Old Tom Morris extended the links to the current 10th.  In 1905 the course was again redesigned which incorporated 1-3 & 18 within the walls of the deer park. James Braid and Ben Sayers made finishing touches in 1922-24 which added some 700 yards to the layout; this is largely the course we play today. 

Much of the course occupies a very narrow strip of links between the deer park wall and an exceptionally handsome rocky beach.  Looking west is the backdrop of Dunbar and far to the east is the secluded and now deactivated Bar Ness Lighthouse.  The contracted middle of the property is dotted with hazards galore in the form of the beach, the wall, various burns and bunkers.   

Unusually, the course commences with two long holes, the 1st going out and the 2nd coming back to the proshop.  Neither hole is up to much except to note the biggest change to the course in recent years is the addition of a burn fronting the first green.  Unless it was a necessary evil for drainage etc, this supplementary water is unwelcome as there are a few other burns which must be contended with later in the round. 

The short third plays from a raised tee which gives the golfer his first opportunity to properly gaze upon the Firth of Forth.   




Looking toward the proshop and 1st tee.


Dunbar now begins in earnest with a short 4 which must be reachable from time to time.  However, the penalty for a near miss left is an irretrievable ball on the beach.  Below is the view looking back to Dunbar and of the precarious greensite.




Next we play a short hole which features a very common theme at Dunbar; slightly raised greens which will reject run-ups not played with conviction. The hole location shown in the photo on a tailwind day is practically impossible to access as the green is angled.


The rear of the green.


Another short two-shotter follows.  A burn 15 yards shy of the green and the Firth of Forth hard left will force flat bellies to holster the driver on this hole which shares a not overly generous fairway with #17. 


Finally, a bit of room to open the shoulders!  The excellent use of the wall is displayed on the 7th.  One can cut the corner of the dogleg right over the wall to some advantage as bunkers lurk down the left.  There is some talk of converting The Vaults (an old boathouse) into a halfway house, but I expect many a Scot wouldn't welcome the necessary halt of play to imbibe!


This is one of Dunbar's best holes in no small part due to green sloping away from play.




More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: February 28, 2020, 08:24:50 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Darren_Kilfara

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC 1-7
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2017, 11:37:27 AM »
Nice to see my home course getting some ink...I look forward to the jury's verdict!

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC 1-7
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2017, 12:30:40 PM »
Nice to see greens adjacent to beaches and walls.
Atb

Jon Wiggett

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Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC 1-7
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2017, 04:51:01 PM »

Sean,


whilst in Dunbar did you have a chance to look at Winterfield? Nice enough, low cost golf which I am sure most on here have never heard of. It has half a dozen really good links holes with the rest being of the simple 1920's style featuring many examples of classical earth berm defenses. It also has what has to be the toughest opening hole in golf and it is worth the effort just to see the it.


Look forward to the rest of the tour.


Jon

Mike Sweeney

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Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC 1-7
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2017, 07:08:06 PM »
Nice to see greens adjacent to beaches and walls.
Atb


!!  :D
"We need to allow people to make decisions for themselves and their local communities and families. Trying to tie everything into one package simply does not work." 5/11/21

PPallotta

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC 1-7
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2017, 09:44:04 PM »
Thanks, as always Sean, for these exemplary tours.


One of the many things I enjoy (and benefit from) is that I get an ever better sense of the kind of GB&I golf that I'd like best. Dunbar seems just fine (especially the 7th hole), but I must admit: I like the inland English courses better than the links courses.


P

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC 1-7 New
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2017, 05:35:04 AM »
Jon

Nope, quick trip to East Lothian to play Dunbar and West Links.  I don't expect there are many better weekends weatherwise in high summer!  We sat outside drinking Saturday night...my mate was in short sleeves! 

Pietro

If you played some links you may change your mind!  There is a certain gentility to many of the best inland courses compared to links which does very much appeal, but on a fine day its tough to beat playing a good links.

DUNBAR TOUR CONT

The 8th is the last of the indifferent holes and it isn't a bad hole for that; straight uphill between bunkers.  The three-shot 9th, however, is excellent.  The drive is blind and a tricky one at that.  Its very easy to play too far right and take a kick toward the wall and a resulting blind shot for the second.  It pays to keep a bit left of the marker pole, but not so much as to go too far left into rough.  From there the hole unfolds in all its glory.


Dunbar's set of short holes is quite varied and very good.  Perhaps the 10th is the best of the lot.  Playing downhill (with a contrary tail wind) and with dead ground shy of the green, its difficult to discern the play.  One is tempted to eliminate the trouble of the fronting bunkers with a bold tee shot, but even on this March day the run-out would likely result in a lengthy chip back to the hole.  There is the option of playing straight for the right bunker, but 10 or so yards shy...hoping for the kick in.  For a golfer of my meagre abilities this really is a low percentage play, but sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. 


As can been seen, it is very easy to be steered left toward the bunker or the sheiling ruin, leavng an exacting pitch.   What can't be seen is how quick the putt is from the right to left side of the green!


Having reached the furthest extent of the links we get a view of Bar Ness Lighthouse.


Moving uphill over mildly undulating terrain, the long, punishing 11th is good without being exceptional.  The 12th, aptly named The Point, however, is exceptional.  The drive is somewhat blind, though it is clear that staying left is the more sensible play.  However, the more left off the tee the more one is hitting toward the Firth of Forth for the second.  At over 440 yards, its probably best for most players to treat The Point like a par 5. 


Behind the green.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: February 28, 2020, 08:27:42 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Marty Bonnar

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC 1-12
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2017, 06:06:26 AM »
Sean,
Once again, so sorry I couldn't do Sunday.
On the upside, you did get the best weekend weather-wise so far this year.
Reflecting on Dunbar, I think the best description I could come up with was, 'unassuming'. Not that it's without charm or fun. It's got loads of both, but it just presents itself with great subtlety and simplicity. It's all the better for that.
What camera are you using? The photos are so crisp and sharp, although that may be down to the light as much as the photographer and his equipment!
Cheers,
M.
Assembled in Michigan from foreign parts.

Simon Holt

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC 1-12
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2017, 08:25:13 AM »
Sean,

Great work as always.

I think Dunbar is seriously overlooked; each and every time I go back I see something that I hadn't spotted previously.  Perhaps the ho-hum start and finish to the course overshadow the strong middle section?  It's hard to articulate but the section from the 8th tee to 14th green almost seems like a course within a course, while still fitting into the complete 18.  Maybe it's because of the pinch in the land between the sea and corner of the wall where that shelter is.

3,4,7, then 9-15 all have some excellent examples of fine links design to take away.  The stretch from 9-15 is something I really look forward to each time I play.  I love the way 13 comes back on the course effortlessly before 14 then takes you back out to the coast.

12 for me is one of the standout holes on the East Lothian coast and if it was sited at Muirfield or NB would get serious attention.






2011 highlights- Royal Aberdeen, Loch Lomond, Moray Old, NGLA (always a pleasure), Muirfield Village, Saucon Valley, watching the new holes coming along at The Renaissance Club.

JJShanley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC 1-12
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2017, 08:40:58 AM »
https://goo.gl/maps/wUM2pTbskaF2


Papa Shanley was a member at Dunbar until about 1984.  I've enjoyed my two rounds there in junior opens in '99 and '00.  The above map appears to show an extra hole between 4 and 5.  Is that a practice area?  A winter hole?  Or can I simply not follow a scorecard?

David McIntosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC 1-12
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2017, 05:12:10 AM »
Nice tour so far Sean - I'm looking forward to seeing the closing stretch.

I'd agree that Dunbar is underrated, largely due to the quality of its neighbours. For me though it pips Gullane #1 to third place in my East Lothian pecking order.

The charm and fun Marty alludes to is there in abundance, despite the holes on the inland side of the wall being quite ordinary (although I do quite like the par 3 third). Great features like the fallaway green and influence of the wall both off the tee and almost flush against the green on 7, the sunken green on the (usually) downwind 13th and the already noted outstanding 12th hole are but a few of the highlights at Dunbar. That's not to mention the efficient routing which weaves through a piece of land that is particularly narrow at points. I would add that I've only played Dunbar once, over five years ago now, but it clearly left a favourable impression given how readily I can recall many of the holes.



Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC 1-12 New
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2017, 06:24:48 AM »
JJ

I think the area by the wall you describe is an extra hole is a practice spot.  I saw a few flags placed there.  It would make for an interesting 4th green should erosion wipe out the current green. 

FBD

I use a Sony Cyber-shot.  Its okay, light and cheap.  It struggles in poor light and can sometimes work hard to focus properly. Yes, its the light not the camerman!  I am strictly amateur and really only point and shoot while playing.

Simon

Yes, 8-14 do feel set apart from the rest of the course.  Speaking of 13...

DUNBAR TOUR CONT   

The 13th is a lovely turnabout surprise.  I had no memory of this hole which is surprising as it is the sort of hole which gives links a good name.  The drive is hampered by two bunkers cutting off the fairway at the turn, but there is no need to challenge the sand. 


The sunken green is a hard one to read and much depends on the hole location.  Does one trundle a shot down the hill and risk leaving it short or make sure to get the approach on the green?


We now well and truly head for home and a bevy of good holes to come.  The 14th is visually odd as it looks like a field dotted with well placed bunkers.  Teeing off next to The Vaults, we now re-enter the threadlike strip of links.  The two-shotter 15th is short, but dangerous with the beach down the right.  Strangely, the green is raised and difficult to access from the right so it doesn't pay to take on the beach. 


Continuing the superb set of 3s, the 16th is littered with bunkers.  Because the green slides away, often times the play must be to carry the fronting bunkers and allow gravity to work its magic.  Probably my favourite aspect of this hole is the furthest left bunker blocking the obvious safety play off the wall.


Much like the 6th, the beach and burn threaten yet another tee shot at Fluke Dub.  Many will drive well left if the two bunkers acting as a divider on this shared fairway can be carried...especially if the hole location is forward.  The aggressive play is down the middle which isn't much more than a mild fade to the beach. 


Below is a look at the green from well left.


For the last we head through a gap in the wall to play a dead straight par 4.  The bunkering is again curious as there is a front right pit which means driving close to the wall isn't an ideal play.  Perhaps its a safety measure to keep folks on the proper side of the wall.  I did see three golfers stranded on the sea side of the wall!  Anyway, I rather like this finish playing along a wall which by now almost feels like a playing companion.


Of course, the setting of Dunbar is the stuff of dreams and the great walk will always push the joy to be alive needle a bit higher. However, I must say Dunbar impressed me with it's architecture.  Sure, there is probably a bit too much water in play for an ideal design (mainly due to burns), but that largely can't be helped.  Just as with the wall, the best must be made of the situation and Dunbar comes through with flying colours.  The use of the wall is very impressive because it is nominally an OOB situation, but unless one is well off the mark, the wall has at least as good a chance to help as it does to harm play.  The bottom line is there are plenty of fun, interesting and diverse holes to savour in #s 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 16.  Indeed, the back nine is of a very high standard.  It was a mistake for me to skip Dunbar when in East Lothian these past 20 years.  Don't make the same mistake!  2017

Previous stops on The Tour:

Luffenham Heath
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,63819.0.html

Celtic Manor 2010
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,63796.0.html

Kington
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,30926.0.html 

Welshpool
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,63739.0.html

Northamptonshire Co
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,41336.msg1520020.html#msg1520020

Enville Highgate
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,44866.msg979077.html#msg979077

Cleeve Cloud
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49796.msg1128469.html#msg1128469

Seaton Carew Bishop Course
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,64112.0.html

Goswick
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,64104.msg1527538.html#msg1527538

Huntercombe
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,32228.0.html

Reigate Heath
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,64197.0.html

Princes
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,44965.0.html

Deal
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,44965.0.html

Alwoodley
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,48951.0.html

Future Scheduled Stops: The recent fine weather may have brought an end to the tour, but one never knows with mother nature.

Ciao     
« Last Edit: May 31, 2022, 02:46:15 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Mike Sweeney

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2017, 08:08:09 PM »
Fabulous tour as always. Thanks for posting.
"We need to allow people to make decisions for themselves and their local communities and families. Trying to tie everything into one package simply does not work." 5/11/21

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2017, 03:54:09 AM »
The stone walls seem to be very much a feature at Dunbar.
I wonder though if all the current holes somehow magically disappeared overnight and another 18-holes were built in their place would the architect/developer/constructor cherish the walls and incorporate them into the new build or would they knock them down instead?
atb

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2017, 08:17:28 AM »
First visit in 2.5 months. Excited.


Thanks  :)
on 29th May I am riding 100 Miles to help raise funds for Dementia Research. All donations are welcome.
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ridelondon-tonymuldoon

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2017, 04:37:13 AM »
The stone walls seem to be very much a feature at Dunbar.
I wonder though if all the current holes somehow magically disappeared overnight and another 18-holes were built in their place would the architect/developer/constructor cherish the walls and incorporate them into the new build or would they knock them down instead?
atb


ATB


There is only one wall.  I highly doubt it would be allowed to knock it down.  Besides, the wall is a great and distinctve feature. An archie would have to be whacked for wanting it removed.


Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

MJohnson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2017, 07:41:10 AM »
i loved Dunbar when I played it a couple of years ago. I was lucky enough to be taken under the wing of a husband and wife who were members and we played off the whites. They were great company and guided me to the better lines off the tees. The fact that I did not always hit them was completely down to me.


I certainly intend to return in the hope that I can link a round at Dunbar with North Berwick.


If you are thinking of playing the course, make it a must play rather than a possibility.
2019 courses - Enville, Wharton Park,

Jon Byron

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2017, 05:33:58 PM »
Sean/Jon/Tony - I played Dunbar this week fortunately. Course condition is excellent. Firm and great green and tees and fairways. Bunkers are excellent. A lot of enjoyable golf holes and several blind shots as well. And as always the weather was super.
Haven't played since yesterday, not playing until tomorrow, hardly playing at all!

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC New
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2017, 07:26:03 AM »
MJ

I enjoyed Dunbar, but I wouldn't call it a must see course.  Its worth a day trip or as an add-on for golf trip while in East Lothian...at least once. 

Jon

I was very surprised to find Dunbar in such excellent nick.  I think the club hired a greenkeeper from St Andrews. Members I spoke with were quite pleased with the conditions.

Ciao
« Last Edit: February 28, 2020, 08:32:57 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Bill Raffo

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2017, 08:40:16 AM »
Flying over from the states to play it on our annual, East Lothian trip, next week.  One of my most memorable rounds was at Dunbar. 


We had the wind at our back going out, and I broke par for the first time on nine holes, shooting one under.  It was the end of the trip, too many nights in pubs, etc and when we turned back into the wind, a tired, exhausted golfer had the battle of all battles to try and not lose what could be a personal best round.  Just brutal going.  Ended up with a 75 and was delighted, tying the PB.


I'm certain, I'm not alone in this sort of scenario of trying to not ruin a potentially great score.  That's the challenge of that links.  There isn't enough bunkering, mounding and obstacles to make success, not possible into the wind.  But you have to grind and grind and grind.  Something about the way the course plays, it's just perfect for it from a hard, but not impossible, challenge stand point.

But you need the wind to enjoy the course. Played it on a sunny, still day and the challenge was taken out of it completely.  Also love the old clubhouse. More charm than Muirfield, inside, imo.

MJohnson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC
« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2017, 11:44:55 AM »
MJ


I enjoyed Dunbar, but I wouldn't call it a must see course.  Its worth a day trip or as an add-on for golf trip while in East Lothian...at least once. 



Sean,
It certainly has  tough competition in the area, and I have not played enough courses there to list a top ten but I thoroughly enjoyed it and would return.
2019 courses - Enville, Wharton Park,

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2017, 04:44:00 AM »
MJ

Thats fair enough.  I too would add Dunbar to a possible play list when in East Lothian.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Michael Whitaker

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2017, 08:14:44 PM »
Jerry Kluger, Tony Muldoon and I are playing Dunbar the first Sunday in June. This will be the final round of Jerry's two-week maiden tour of Scotland and a fitting way to end the trip, in my opinion.


Dunbar is the scene of one of my most memorable experiences in Scotland:  On my first visit there in 2003 we were playing the par three 10th when an extremely loud siren began to blare. We were totally confused about what the siren meant and continued to play. Suddenly, a massive explosion occurred from opposite the adjoining property and we took off, running to a nearby shelter as sand and gravel rained down on us. It turns out that blasting in the nearby quarry is a common occurrence and there are many warning signs about the property, if one would just pay attention! It was a shocker!!!
« Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 08:16:36 PM by Michael Whitaker »
"Solving the paradox of proportionality is the heart of golf architecture."  - Tom Doak (11/20/05)

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues: Delectable DUNBAR GC New
« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2017, 03:41:10 AM »
Jeepers Whitty...the same thing happened to me!  I didn't get pelted with rocks, but quite a bit of dust was chucked in the air...like a desert storm.  I have a photo of it somewhere. I only found out later that it is a cement factory right of 9 & 10...hence the quarrying. Thankfully, no explosions on this last trip.

Ciao   
« Last Edit: February 28, 2020, 08:34:02 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

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