First golf impressions are influenced by the weather and how well you play. The skies over Gifford were an unbelievable blue and the scoring surprisingly good. Consequently I consider Gifford to be a spectacular golf course. A parkland layout surrounded to the northwest by Blawearie Wood and in the lee of the Lammermuir Hills, it is well presented with large, immaculate greens. The Speedy Burn runs across the course and comes into play at the second, seventh, eighth and ninth holes. The small but tidy clubhouse could feature in George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces. At not far short of 6000 yards off the yellows with just three par 3s (6000+ off the whites) good distance off the tee will help post a reasonable score.
A nine-hole course, there is some variety on the back nine: the first is a par three whereas the tenth tee is at the edge of the car park – this being some 200-yards distant from the clubhouse where the first tee is positioned; the fourteenth par 3 is significantly shorter and easier than front nine fifth; the eighteenth tee is set back some distance in a small copse and turns the front nine par 4 ninth into a par 5. The narrow perspective from this last tee presents a challenging finish.
Had Covid not interfered with travel plans in 2020, it is almost certain that this course would have featured in the sequel – Golf in the Wild – Going Home. If asked what has been the greatest influence on writing the sequel, I would have to respond ‘Events, my dear boy, events‘ (H. Macmillan). As I head for Anstruther with my long time golfing buddy (Ian the L Plates – see book #1), I feel certain the same will apply.