Golf House Club - Elie, better known as Elie Golf Club, is one of my favorite courses in Fife. Elie exemplifies the best aspects of a traditional Scottish club. The course is short and features strong inland and seaside holes (without a single par 5). The club has a great historical background, having been James Braid's home course. As with many of the great traditional Scottish links, the course is very quirky. Blind tee shots abound, the most prominent of which is on the first hole, where an old submarine periscope is used to ensure that the fairway is clear. The experience is very unique, and opinions on the course land on both ends of the spectrum. If you didn't like Elie, you either went into the round with the wrong expectations, or you don't know what Scottish links are really about.
Hole #1 - 420 yards - "Stacks"
Hole #2 - 284 yards - "High Hole"
Hole #3 - 214 yards - "Wickets"
This is a great par 3. Approach shots can vary from long to mid irons on this hole, depending on the wind and firmness of the turf. During my latest round, the ground was fairly soft (frost had finally begun melting off) and I struck a hard 4-iron. Everything short and right will kick down and left onto the green. At the height of summer it is difficult to hold balls on the hard green.
Hole # 5 - 365 yards - "Doctor"
After a straightforward tee shot, the fifth hole picks up pace from 75 yards into the green. Large slopes and some deep bunkers guard the sloping green, so distance control is paramount with this approach shot. The hole is said to have been named "Doctor" after the large number of medics who played at the club during its founding.
Hole #6 - 316 yards - "Quarries"
Hole #7 - 252 yards - "Peggy's"
Hole #8 - 382 yards - "Neuk"
Hole #9 - 440 yards - "Martin's Bay"
The ninth has another blind tee shot. The view from the hilltop is stunning and similar to the view at the sixth. A large ledge sits directly in front of the green, putting a premium on distance control.
The tenth hole has another blind tee shot... did you see that coming? I told you it was quirky. The view from the top of the hill is even more impressive than those earlier in the round. On a clear day you can see right across the water to East Lothian, with Berwick Law and the Bass Rock in clear view. This hole is short, and a very accurate drive can find the green.
The next three holes all hug the beautiful beach.
Hole #11 - 131 yards - "Sea Hole"
Hole #12 - 466 yards - "Bents"
Hole #13 - 380 yards - "Croupie"
Hole #14 - 414 yards - "Suckielea"
The fourteenth begins a string of difficult finishing holes. No match is safe coming into this final stretch at Elie. The thick grass and OB on the left side of this hole make golfers naturally err to the right, which has a grouping of deep fairway bunkers. An accurate drive is followed by an uphill approach to the large green.
Hole #18 - 359 yards - "Home"
The best way to play this final hole is a 3-wood to the 100 yard marker and then a wedge to the pin. I drove my final tee shot into the bunkers 50-60 yards in front of the green and was left with a difficult sand shot. A sloping fairway and large green allow for a challenging course setup.