Dunbar Golf Club

Dunbar Golf Club was founded in 1856 and offers stunning coastal scenery, challenging shots, and a welcoming clubhouse. Playing this course allows you to follow in the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest golfers.

In this blog post, we share the course’s unique history which had rightfully earned itself a spot on the Old Tom Morris Trail, as well as the incredible range of hospitality and retail options that the town of Dunbar has to offer…

Course Overview

Dunbar Golf Club
AddressDunbar Golf Club,East Links,Dunbar,East Lothian,EH42 1LL,Scotland
Location 0.5 mile East of Dunbar
Style Links
LengthApprox 6,500 yards
Championships HostedBoys Amateur, Girls Amateur, Jacques Leglise Trophy, Scottish Amateur, The Womens Amateur, Womens Home Internationals
Scottish Ranking39th

Course design

It will put any avid golfer to the test with its trial of accuracy and judgement. Throughout the course, you will not find much rough because the holes do not cover a huge area of land. It’s not all plain sailing, though – you must watch out for rogue balls that may end up over the wall or in the ocean.

Many of the best holes on the course run alongside the rugged coastline, with breathtaking views stretching out to the North Sea to Bass Rock. The 4th hole is really where you can begin to see Dunbar turn into a classic links course with the views opening up and the introduction of a strong wind.

Course history

There are around 400 years of documented golf being played at Dunbar, with very few locations matching this. One of the oldest games recorded at Dubar Golfing Society was in 1794 and was played on the Western Side of the town. 

On the East side of the town lies the East links course which is home to Dunbar Golf Club which was established in 1856 and originally contained only fifteen holes which were later extended to eighteen in 1894 by Old Tom Morris. In 1923, Ben Sayers and James Braid were drafted in to advise on the layout of the bunkers and ended up introducing sixty-one new bunkers to the course. 

Over the years the course has attracted some of history’s greatest golf players including Harry Vardon and Willie Park – to name only a few. 

Regional history

Dunbar is located on the North Sea coast of East Lothian, approximately 30 miles east of the capital. The town has a rich history and is home to it’s very own Castle which was built in 856 and played an important role in the English invasion. The castle was destroyed in 1568 due to its association with Mary Queen of Scots who fled there from Edinburgh after the murder of David Rizzio. 

One of the most prominent landmarks in the town is the Dunbar Parish Church which was built in 1821 and was beautifully restored during the 1990s after the building caught fire a few years earlier.

The town also hosts three harbours with Victoria Harbour being the largest. From the harbour you can spot the remaining ruins of Dunbar Castle, boasting its elevated position over the town. The harbour was once well known as a major herring and whaling port, but now is home to one of the largest lifeboat stations in the area. 

Local hospitality and retail

Where to stay

Looking for a stay that’s fit for royalty? Dalhousie Castle contains over 700 years of rich Scottish history. Once recognised as the historic seat of the Ramsay clan, the castle has had an esteemed guest list including Oliver Cromwell, Queen Victoria and Sir Walter Scott. Similarly, the Greywalls Hotel provides a luxurious stay steeped in local history. 

The Marine North Berwick hotel boasts a beautiful coastal location with incredible views of the Firth of Forth and Bass Rock. Each room is elegantly decorated, using warm woods and pops of blue to pay homage to the ancient Scottish Linksland. 

For those who desire a more homely and personal feel, there are a number of welcoming guesthouses and B&Bs in the local area including North Berwick Golf Lodge. Alternatively, for those who want the privacy and seclusion of self catering, Whitekirk Hill has a range of spectacular luxury lodges. 

Where to eat

There are plenty of small local pubs in Dunbar which offer the finest local dishes including The Brig & Barrel. If pub grub isn’t quite your thing then there are lots of other restaurants to choose from such as Hectors Artisan Pizza and Pine Marten. In addition, the nearby town of North Berwick has a wealth of dining options, some of the most popular including Osteria, The Lawn and The Herringbone

If you are simply looking for a warming cup of coffee or a fresh brew, there are numerous cafes dotted around the town including Jaybirds Larder which is a 5-star cafe situated in a unique outdoor setting offering a wonderful range of breakfast, lunch and hot drink options. 

Where to shop

Established in 1719, Belhaven Brewery is the oldest working brewery in Scotland and is situated amongst the barley fields of East Lothian. The brewery is home to a wonderful shop which offers visitors an amazing selection of beers,branded merchandise and local handmade gifts. Nearby, Winton Brewery also offers an excellent selection of craft beers available to purchase in single cans or gift boxes. 

If you are interested in finding yourself a bargain, Buttercup Studio sells a wonderful range of vintage and secondhand pieces including Scottish pottery and antique books. Additionally, Green Cat Records is a second-hand independent record shop which contains a wide selection of music from a range of decades. 

The Coast Gallery Dunbar is another amazing local business found on Dunbar High Street which showcases the talented work of British artists, from traditional to abstract pieces. 

Iconic landmarks

Situated within the John Muir Country Park, Belhaven Beach is a grand stretch of sandy shore extending for approximately one mile, all the way from the mouth of the River Tyne to the south of Dunbar in the village of Belhaven. With incredible views towards the Forth Estuary, this beach is perfect for long walks, picnics or even a spot of surfing!

The birthplace of the famous naturalist, John Muir, can be found in the town centre of Dunbar. John Muir gathered his fame as a fantastic writer, explorer and environmentalist, he became well known for leading expeditions to America helping to discover many national parks along the way such as Sequoia and Yosemite. 

The best photo spots

  • Dunbar Castle
  • Belhaven Beach
  • Victoria Harbour
  • John Muirs Birthplace
  • John Muirs Alpacas
  • Belhaven Brewery

Our top tips for playing this course

  • Miss left and not right for the course 
  • Marvell at how such a fabulous course can be on such a small piece of land 

Watch Stephen Proctor’s Dunbar Dispatch here

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