Head to Edzell Golf Course for the Complete Golfing Experience

By Andrew Jessop, Contributor

Edzell is a beautiful parkland golf course situated half way between Aberdeen and Dundee. Should you desire a break from the more traditional Scottish links courses, Edzell provides the perfect excuse. Well manicured, with nature and stunning scenery surrounding the golfer at every juncture, Edzell provides the complete golfing experience.

Constructed in 1898, Edzell opens with a rather benign first hole, a well placed drive avoiding the fairway bunkers will leave only a short approach shot for almost every golfer. Nevertheless, the approach shot is deceptive so take one club more than you think to ensure that you are up. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security by the opener at Edzell for the second is probably the hardest hole on the course. At a demanding 446-yards this par four is normally played into to the prevailing wind with out of bounds lurking all the way down the right hand side of the fairway.

The approach shot requires a long and accurate second which is made even more difficult by the fact that the green is out of site being set down from the height of the fairway. The good golfer should be delighted with par while the average golfer will struggle to get home in two and should content themselves with a five.

While walking down the second fairway look to your left and check out the pin placement at the third, for the tee shot is blind and it is imperative to be on the correct side of the fairway to get a chance at attacking this green. Longer hitters should use an iron off the tee in order to avoid the fairway cross bunkers.

This leaves just a short shot in, but accuracy is at a premium for the third green is two tiered and if the pin is up the back, anything short will leave a tricky two putt, while anything slightly over hit will bounce on through the green. Accordingly, this may be the chance to use the traditional Scottish pitch and run to great effect.

The first and third holes provide some respite from what is a demanding opening stretch at Edzell. This is epitomised by the fifth, another par four in excess of 400 yards with a small green protected by three well placed bunkers. Moreover, the subtle undulations on this green mean that it is notoriously difficult to read especially if the hole is cut in the front half of the green.

The sixth, a 178-yard par three, demands a good long iron. The bunker in front of the green creates a bit of an optical illusion so once again take one more club than you initially think and make sure you' re up for all the trouble on this hole at the front of the green.

The eight hole has been redesigned in the last ten years to make the hole into a dogleg and simultaneously utilise the river as a prominent natural feature at the back of the green. The tee shot demands accuracy for there are two incredibly well placed bunkers on the right hand side of the fairway.

It may be advisable to hit a three wood on this tee to insure that you avoid these traps for it is virtually impossible to get to the green from the sand. The green is very sheltered and can be a real sun trap in summer. However, being a new surface this green is not quite the same quality as the others, give your putt a little extra on this hole to make sure you're up.

The ninth provides a wonderful and dramatic finish to a tough opening half. At 478 yards this par five is definitely reachable in two. A good drive down the left hand side of the fairway can open up the green. Two great shots will reap rewards but anything leaked slightly to the right will end up in the river which encroaches near the green. If in doubt lay up short for at least that leaves you with a good chance of a pitch and a putt for a birdie four.

Akin to the opening nine holes, the back nine at Edzell starts with two demanding par fours punctuated by two birdie chances. The eleventh and thirteenth holes are both well in excess of 400-yards and demand both length and precision to escape with par. While ten and twelve only require short shots in to receptive greens.

Nevertheless, Edzell's back nine doesn't really seem to begin until the fourteenth; a short 155-yard par three to a raised green, which is heavily guarded by four bunkers. It is incredibly difficult to get the club selection right here as the tee is well protected from the wind and judging exactly where the hole has been cut is often difficult. Whatever you do try, keep the ball below the hole for in summer putts from above the hole can be treacherous.

Fifteen and sixteen are cracking par fours that need to be approached with confidence. The fifteenth is played from a raised tee, two good shots will produce a birdie chance but with out of bounds on both sides, anything wayward will be brutally punished.

At sixteen the longer hitters would be well advised to keep the driver in the bag for it is essential to have a full approach shot in order to get the ball to stop on this green. The sixteenth green is raised some thirty feet above the level of the fairway and is protected by two large bunkers at the front which will gather anything on the short side. The shorter hitter would be advised to lay up if in any doubt for the chances of getting out of these bunkers at the first attempt are fairly slim.

Be warned that these two holes can make or break a card for they throw up good birdie chances if played intelligently but any sloppy shot making will cost you dear.

The seventeenth is a par three which at 191-yards again demands an accurate long iron, whatever you do make sure you don't miss this green short and left for saving par from the gully is very difficult. If you achieve par be justifiably proud and begin to relax for the last is a tremendous par five, with beautiful views of the clubhouse and the village of Edzell.

The clubhouse offers tremendous facilities for visitors and the catering is top class, indeed for dinner at the weekends you may be advised to book. If on the look out for a small snack, try the Edzell Tweed shop situated on the main street which offers some great Scottish home baking and tasteful souvenirs. The best place for local accommodation is the Glenesk hotel which overlooks the first tee and enjoys superb leisure facilities.

Edzell is a thoroughly enjoyable test of golf but more significantly the whole atmosphere of the place makes a day here idyllic. With pheasants, squirrels, and sometimes the odd stoat you really feel at one with nature, and the scenery is stunning particularly when the heather or rhododendrons are in full bloom. It offers a relaxing break from the often wind swept Scottish links. Try it, I promise you wont regret it!.

Edzell Golf Club
High Street
Edzell, By Brechin
Phone: 011 44 1356 647 283
Pro Phone: 011 44 1356 648 462

Andrew Jessop, Contributor

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