Whitekirk Golf Club emerged on the Scottish golfing scene in the mid 1990s when Yorkshire farmer George Tuer decided to turn the more hilly and rugged areas of his East Lothian land into a top notch golf course. For the relatively modest outlay of just over ₤1 million, he engaged architect Cameron Sinclair to build an 18-hole inland layout that would become a welcome alternative to the many links courses that run along the East coast between nearby Aberlady and Dunbar.
Whitekirk Golf and County Club is no stuffy private member club, instead it is a pay-and-play golf facility with a health and fitness centre attached that attracts many non-golfers as well as those who pursue the wee white ball. It is an affordable leisure centre which, if the weather is unkind, can often have as many people enjoying themselves in the dining room and the bar as out on the course.
From its generally elevated position, Whitekirk enjoys commanding views of the surrounding area, affording views of Bass Rock, Berwick Law, Tantallon Castle and, further afield Edinburgh, across the Firth of Forth, the Kingdom of Fife coastline.
The course is not overly long at just over 6,500 yards and seven of its par fours measure less than 400 yards in length. However, its configuration has to be examined more closely to see that the outward nine measure a shade over 3,000 yards (with a par of 35) but the inward half, with a punishing set of three par fives between the 12th and 15th holes, has a total yardage of just under 3,500 yards for a par of 37, which makes for a very demanding back nine.
Whitekirk really is a tough cookie with many changes of elevation, gorse just off many fairways, water in play at several holes and relatively small – some wickedly undulating – USGA standard greens. Whitekirk has held several “Tartan Tour” events for Scottish club professionals and it is easy to see why as it provides a stern test for the most accomplished golfers. Not that this should deter the average handicap player from playing here as it is a really challenging, but enjoyable experience. Just hope that the wind is not up too much when you visit or you may need an extra sleeve of balls in your bag!