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Sean_A

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Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC New
« on: July 04, 2018, 05:57:22 AM »
A late comer in terms of Scottish golf, Luffness New wasnít founded until 1894.  Although, courses pre-date the club. The original course was located mostly on what eventually became the first Nature Reserve in the UK.  Some holes of the current course play over the original land.  To complicate the origins of Luffness even more, Golfers in Aberlady played over a nearby makeshift course which unfortunately was also a rifle range.  As one can imagine, the military firing range made life difficult for golfers. In stepped one Mr Hope, the Laird of Luffness, who engaged Old Tom Morris to build a course in 1867 which would be known as Luffness.  Issues arose when it was discovered this course encroached on Gullane Common.  Being an unsatisfactory situation a new course was built, yet again with the help of Old Tom Morris.  This 5200 yard course was to be known as Luffness New GC.  For a few years the two clubs co-existed on adjacent courses until the Aberlady golfers returned to the rifle range site adjacent to Craigielaw Farm (part of which is now a course and upscale housing estate) and created Kilspindie GC by 1899 using a course designed by Willie Park Jr and Ben Sayers. Once the Aberlady golfers vacated the site, the New club incorporated holes from the old course.  It is believed some holes on the current #2 and #3 courses of Gullane GC also incorporated holes from the old course. The course Old Tom Morris and Mr Hope built over 120 years ago is largely the same today as ten greens and twelve fairways remain in use.

Many will notice far more than 18 flags dotted about when driving along the A198 which splits the Luffness New and Gullane courses.  There are far more holes on the seaside of the road where many holes of the three Gullane courses are hidden by Gullane Hill.  Being adjacent to the three courses of Gullane Common, it isnít surprising to find strong similarities between Luffness New and Gullane's three courses. That is, basically flat courses with the odd substantial elevation change. Luffness New does have some very interesting greens and a few holes with bunkering crossing fairways.  For the most part, however, the bunkering is rather timidly placed in right/left fairway positions.



There are five holes on the house side of the property, but the first four make up a wonderful boozer loop...1 par three, 1 shortish par four, 1 medium par four and a par five.  Given that we had a contrary wind from the north, the crossing bunkers on this original OTM opening hole (with a new tee some 50 yards further back) didn't quite have the impact they might.




The second played very tough and was only reachable for reasonably long hitters.  The tricky third (another original OTM hole) too played fairly long.  Because much of the course is flatish it can be difficult to determine green edges.  I have said it before but it is elements such as this which yardage guns mitigate and I think it a great shame.  In any case, the 3rd features a large green with significant surface movement. 
 

As if playing around a race course, the boozers' loop arcs beautifully back to the welcoming house. After a drive turning left over a slight rise, we come to another interesting green.
 

 

More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: May 08, 2021, 01:43:42 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

Mark Pearce

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC 1-4
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2018, 06:52:12 AM »
I'm really looking forward to this review.  I played Luffness in the Spring (well, a couple of days after the Elie get together was snowed off!) and liked it a lot.  Indeed, I think it may be the second best 18 in Gullane.
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC 1-4
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2018, 07:57:20 AM »
Sean's  3rd picture is of a Par 3 for those that haven't played there.


I wonder if this shades it as the best section of the course.  It makes a great start but would also make a great finsh right in front of the clubouse. 5 is located well for a (tough) opening hole.


Liked the course a lot with a fine set of greens. The nearer they are to the Clubhouse the more interesting they were.





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

Richard Fisher

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC 1-4
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2018, 09:01:04 AM »
SO pleased to see this, not least as I have been waxing lyrical about the understated charm of Luffness to Ran (and others) for several years now. The first time I went there, in 1997, we enjoyed it so much we played 50 holes (in March), then 36 at Muirfield the next day before driving back to Cambridge that same evening. Those were the days! I have been back at intervals since, with another outing booked for September, and have always had a really lovely time at a quiet and thoroughly congenial place for a game of golf, nicely in contrast with the general business of golf in this part of East Lothian. Looking forward to the rest of Sean's tour, and I do hope he agrees with me...

Niall C

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC 1-4
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2018, 09:18:38 AM »
Tony

Correct, the 3rd photo is the par 3 third. We played it with a front right pin which made it challenging. The other time I played there it was back left which was even more challenging and fun. For the length of shot, for most of us there will be a fair degree of bounce and run and that greens allows you to do it well, particularly to the back left pin.

Sean

When you say it is flat I kind of know what you mean. It certainly doesn't have the humps and hollows of NB but it has plenty of more subtle movement and gradual elevational change.

Niall 

BCrosby

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC 1-4
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2018, 11:44:58 AM »
Well done Sean. Looking forward to the next installment.


Have you come across any evidence of Benjamin Hall-Blyth's involvement in the various (and confusing) course iterations?


Bob

Thomas Dai

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC 1-4
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2018, 01:47:45 PM »
Like others I've driven more than a few times on the road that crosses the course and have always been impressed with what is visible through the car windscreen so nice to have the opportunity to learn more. Looking forward to the rest of the tour. As an aside, there's something rather attractive about white clubhouses with expansive windows and red roofs.
atb

Jeff Schley

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC 1-4
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2018, 03:19:25 PM »
Wow Sean that collection of fairway bunkers on #1 look like old WWII bombed out gun turrets from the Atlantic Wall.
"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice your gifts."
- Steve Prefontaine

John Crowley

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC 1-4
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2018, 06:35:16 PM »
SO pleased to see this, not least as I have been waxing lyrical about the understated charm of Luffness to Ran (and others) for several years now. The first time I went there, in 1997, we enjoyed it so much we played 50 holes (in March), then 36 at Muirfield the next day before driving back to Cambridge that same evening. Those were the days! I have been back at intervals since, with another outing booked for September, and have always had a really lovely time at a quiet and thoroughly congenial place for a game of golf, nicely in contrast with the general business of golf in this part of East Lothian. Looking forward to the rest of Sean's tour, and I do hope he agrees with me...
Second that. I first played It I the early 90ís. Some of the best putting surfaces in Scotland. A joy to roll the ball and know that it will be true.

Sean_A

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC 1-4 New
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2018, 06:28:29 AM »
Bob

No mention of your man Hall-Blyth, but his name is on a course map for Kilspindie.

Niall

I think we are on the same page.  Its the camera that tells me the story and an awful lot of holes are hard to shoot because there is so little elevation change.  The changes tend to come in spurts.  Makes for a good walk!

Luffness New Tour Cont

The 5th tee provides a second convenient starting point which gives Luffness a superb split of 4 & 14.  I think an uneven split is far better than 9 & 9 for a private club. If stuck, one can even try to tee off on 13!  Perhaps the best non-par 3 on the club side of the A198, the 5th moves gently uphill and left.  There are bunkers protecting the turn, but in truth the rough is more than enough of a deterrent.  I will say that on hard ground it doesn't take much of a hook to hit the road on the approach...gulp.


We cross the road for the short 6th.  This hole apparently replaced the famous Quarry hole...maybe the club should rethink this!  The hole is fine, but in no way special. The 7th, however, is very good as the land is used well and yet in a relatively gentle manner.  Playing uphill from tee to green, the putting surface is fairly narrow and will reward a straight drive.


The 8th takes us straight back down the hill.  A well placed swale must be negotiated to gauge the rollout for the approach.


The 9th fairway suddenly drops about halfway to the green.  It is very easy to wing a drive down the middle and it ends up left never to be seen it again.  For some reason the 10th really appeals to me.  A flat hole with all in view, its 195 (white tees) yards can play deceptively long.


More to follow.

Ciao
 
 
« Last Edit: May 08, 2021, 01:46:18 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

Sean_A

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC 1-10 New
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2018, 05:43:19 AM »
A tough hole for being a relatively short par 4; the blind drive 11th is a bit unsettling. A very short two-shotter follows, but with the wind whipping up and a bevy of bunkers to contend with, the 12th is no push-over.  In fact, with a northerly wind much of the back nine played quite difficult. Below is a photo of the 12th green from the right rough. Three bunkers look as if they are hard on the green, but they are set back some 25 yards...in readiness for a downwind tee shot.


Turning back downwind, the 13th is 65 yards longer than the 12th and it played at least 25 yards shorter.  There is evidence dotted about the course of filled in bunkers.   


The course finishes with a series of back and forth holes at angles not quite presented previously.  The best feature of Luffness is the routing makes excellent use of the wind. The lone par 5 on the back nine, #14, slides a bit left and predictably plays through a mess of bunkers.  Most of the tees are quite close to the previous greens.  It is easy to see how a hook might brain folks trying to play the 15th.  As such, this is one of the few holes with serious man-made features in the form of mounds separating the green from the 15th tee. 


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: March 01, 2019, 04:58:50 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

jim_lewis

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC 1-14
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2018, 10:33:51 AM »
It has been 25 years since I played Luffness New, and I have been encouraging friends to try and play it ever since. When I played it,Luffness New had some of the best putting surfaces I have ever seen....right up there with Royal Melbourne, Oakmont, and Augusta.


I was traveling around Scotland with my foursome. After playing nearly all of the "famous" courses, we stumbled across Luffness New which none of us had ever heard of. We sent our best negotiator in to ask if we could be allowed to play. After about 30 minutes, he came back out and announced that we could play. He said, "the secretary said no 20 times, but on the 21st he said yes". It turned out to be the most unanticipated treat of our entire trip. After the round we were invited into their "dirty bar" where we enjoyed several pints and the hospitality of the members.
"Crusty"  Jim
Freelance Curmudgeon

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC 1-14
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2018, 03:55:06 PM »
It has been 25 years since I played Luffness New, and I have been encouraging friends to try and play it ever since. When I played it,Luffness New had some of the best putting surfaces I have ever seen....right up there with Royal Melbourne, Oakmont, and Augusta.


I was traveling around Scotland with my foursome. After playing nearly all of the "famous" courses, we stumbled across Luffness New which none of us had ever heard of. We sent our best negotiator in to ask if we could be allowed to play. After about 30 minutes, he came back out and announced that we could play. He said, "the secretary said no 20 times, but on the 21st he said yes". It turned out to be the most unanticipated treat of our entire trip. After the round we were invited into their "dirty bar" where we enjoyed several pints and the hospitality of the members.



Jim,


Luffness New would have normally required a written request to play 25 years ago as did quite a few similar clubs. However, if you wrote you would always get an invite.

Sean_A

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC 1-14 New
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2018, 05:10:00 AM »
Luffness certainly has an air of refinement...I am not convinced the course quite lives up to all that.

Luffness New Tour Cont

The cut lines leading to the fairways betray Luffness somewhat...it makes many of the holes look very similar.  Mind you, the bunker scheme doesn't help matters. Another short par 4, however, 15 plays over lovely rumpled terrain. 


It seems to me that it is often the case where the same type of hole is presented, but with a different wind direction.  For sure, Luffness could use more man made variation to make up for what the terrain lacks.


The 16th is a short hole which played straight down wind on the day.  Its difficult to hold the green, but doable.


We now run home with two holes beating back into the breeze.  I was taken by the 17th because of the green. The fallaway on the right and the blind sloping ground beyond the bunkers gives the hole some pizzaz.






Much longer than 17, the home hole is formidable. The tee shot legs left between sentinel bunkers. There was talk about narrow fairways, but I thought they were decent width given their flatish nature.  For sure, a few extra yards would have been welcome as more balls were lost at Luffness than the other two courses played on this trip, by quite some margin. 


The green is cradled by major earthworks, I suspect to protect the A198 and provide a bit of privacy to finish a game. There is a good false front which encourages running play, especially with a back stop providing security.


The final few holes are a good finish to Luffness and a fine course it is.  I enjoyed seeing the course as I have tried for 20 years to get there, but it never worked out until now.  In retrospect, I think it is better to don the jacket and tie for a luncheon feast prior to playing as Luffness is one of those all-encompassing clubs which demands a bit of time and effort.  However, the course is well off the mark of a top echelon Scottish course.  Luffness is pleasurable, easy walking, challenging enough, good routing, but the man-made elements of the course don't add enough variety to the package. And this despite some very good greens which were a bit slow (undertandably given the lack of rain), but otherwise in fine nick.   2018

Ciao
« Last Edit: December 29, 2019, 07:09:30 PM 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

David McIntosh

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2018, 03:48:26 PM »
Sean,

Nice tour and thanks for posting. Did Luffness score on the Arble scale?

Itís too bad you skipped lunch, even for Bruntsfield Links, as itís a fine addition to a day of golf at Luffness.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 03:50:54 PM by David McIntosh »

Mark Pearce

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2018, 04:28:04 PM »
Sean,

Nice tour and thanks for posting. Did Luffness score on the Arble scale?

Itís too bad you skipped lunch, even for Bruntsfield Links, as itís a fine addition to a day of golf at Luffness.
The quality of the food is as good as I have had at a British golf club.
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

Sean_A

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC New
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2018, 04:15:47 AM »
Sean,

Nice tour and thanks for posting. Did Luffness score on the Arble scale?

Itís too bad you skipped lunch, even for Bruntsfield Links, as itís a fine addition to a day of golf at Luffness.

David

No stars for Luffness, but I think its a good trip filler if we concede that North Berwick, Muirfield and few others are the top draws.  What I think is special about Luffness is the entire package.  In this way it is sort of a mini Muirfield, but for golfers on some sort of budget....even so £95 is a bit steep. Luffness is roughly comparable in quality to Dunbar, Gullane 1 and Kilspindie...good course...I would think a solid Doak 6. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: June 05, 2022, 05:11:45 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

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2018, 11:35:30 AM »
I thought this was a simply wonderful track and would love to play round after round there. It may lack famous holes with stunning back drops but every shot was interesting and there was enough there to let me know tomorrows round will offer a whole host of different shots. Real golf in the best sense of the word.
 
I can see why its not high on the list for tourists but they overlook a subtle charmer at their peril.  I liked the scale and the pace and preferred it to e.g.  Gullane 1.
I will never turn down the chance of another round there. I strongly doubt if multiple plays would reveal it to be quite a notch below the very best, I suspect the exact opposite.  Easily a Doak 6 and a return with the wind in the other direction could see that score quickly revised upwards.


PS thanks again for taking the time to do the tour.
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

Thomas Dai

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2018, 12:44:44 PM »
Thanks for the photo-tour and the comments. Sounds like somewhere I might rather like.
Atb

Mark Pearce

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2018, 07:11:56 PM »
I can see why its not high on the list for tourists but they overlook a subtle charmer at their peril.  I liked the scale and the pace and preferred it to e.g.  Gullane 1.
I will never turn down the chance of another round there. I strongly doubt if multiple plays would reveal it to be quite a notch below the very best, I suspect the exact opposite.  Easily a Doak 6 and a return with the wind in the other direction could see that score quickly revised upwards.
I enjoyed Luffness far more than Gullane 1.  A far superior course in my book.
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

Sean_A

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2018, 05:07:50 AM »
I can see why its not high on the list for tourists but they overlook a subtle charmer at their peril.  I liked the scale and the pace and preferred it to e.g.  Gullane 1.
I will never turn down the chance of another round there. I strongly doubt if multiple plays would reveal it to be quite a notch below the very best, I suspect the exact opposite.  Easily a Doak 6 and a return with the wind in the other direction could see that score quickly revised upwards.
I enjoyed Luffness far more than Gullane 1.  A far superior course in my book.

You don't think several holes are much of a muchness...same issue with Gullane really.  I am sure that if a good archie were let loose on both properties that something better could be had. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 14, 2018, 08:52:16 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

Niall C

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2018, 07:51:15 AM »
Sean

Tom Simpson provided the club with a report and I've been meaning to track it down to see what he proposed and whether the club followed through. I don't know Simpsons work well enough to guess one way or the other whether they did.

Niall

Mark Pearce

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2018, 05:23:34 PM »
You don't think several holes are much of a muchness...same issue with Gullane really.  I am sure that if a good archie were let loose on both properties that something better could be had. 
That certainly wasn't the impression I came away with after a couple of rounds.  I think the rhythm of the round is great, the first handful offer different challenges and get the round going really well.  Then there's a string of good, solid, golf.  It may be possible to improve but, in my book, it's far more interesting than Gullane 1 (I should say that I think Gullane 1 is horribly overrated).
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

MCirba

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC
« Reply #23 on: July 15, 2018, 09:43:30 AM »
Wonderful tour, Sean... I hope to make it there someday.


Although if it's that much better than my beloved Gullane #1 as Mark contends, perhaps my heart couldn't take it!  :)
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Sean_A

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Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC
« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2018, 03:33:04 AM »
Mark

I like the front nine quite a bit, especially the holes on the club side of the road as they have the best greens.  The back nine is a bit uninspired and this impression isn't helped by the back and forth holes from the 14th.  A better bunker scheme and more features like the mounding on 14 and 18 would help individualize these holes.  Still, if invited, I would be happy to return.

Mike...cheers. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 17, 2018, 04:05:00 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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