On the edge of the Firth of Forth, North Berwick is part of the famed East Lothian golf trail, which also includes the likes of Muirfield, Gullane and Kilspindie.
The West Links is memorable, mesmeric – whatever superlative you want to ascribe. The opening trio of holes are breathtaking, hugging the beach on the right, and, though you move very slightly inland through the rest of the front 9, the quality doesn’t dip.
Quarry, the quirky second par 3 surrounded by bunkers, gives you a sense of what is to come after the turn.
The stretch from 12 to 16, culminating at Gate with a green that bends like a U-shape across its midriff, is hard to top anywhere, and the finish in front of the town – very reminiscent of Tom Morris (18th) on the Old Course – is a fitting conclusion.
North Berwick inspires and demands every kind of shot: short pitches, bumps, runs, long putts, shaped drives and irons finding the right sections of fairway and green. It’s a strategic rather than brute force test.