North Berwick – The West Links

Situated in the heart of the coastal town of North Berwick lies the historic North Berwick West Links course. As you make your way round this remarkable course you will not be disappointed by the incredible views stretching out to the North Sea. The origin of course dates back to 1832 with Old Tom Morris having a large influence on its design. 

In this blog post, we share some of the spectacular course history and highlights of this amazing golf course on the Old Tom Morris Trail, as well as some of our favourite places to eat, shop and visit in the quaint town of North Berwick…

North Berwick The West Links
AddressNorth Berwick Golf Club,Beach Road,North Berwick,East Lothian,EH39 4BB,Scotland
Location 24 miles East of Edinburgh
Style Links
Length6420 yards
Championships hostedPGA Seniors, Seniors Amateur, The Womens Amateur, Girls Amateur, Vagilano Trophy
Scottish Ranking 6th
UK Ranking13th

Course design

The North Berwick West Links course is the epitome of a traditional links course, located on the edge of the Firth of Forth with spectacular views of the famous Bass Rock. It is a renowned gem amongst the Scottish links courses with every considered change over the years adding to its state of excellence. 

During your round you will find multiple unique challenges such as navigating the historic walls that dissect the middle of fairways as well as protecting the 15th green. The two tiered 16th green is separated by a v-shaped valley that requires pin point accuracy or the highest level of sort game touch. Golfers are constantly faced with unique challenges that can only be found on the historic North Berwick West Links. 

Golf courses across the world have tried to replicate the layout and design of several holes on this magnificent course – despite none of them being able to achieve the same greatness as the original.

Course history

In 1832 the North Berwick Golf Club was formed which would later be the starting point leading to the expansion of the West Links course which we now see today. Originally only six holes were built on the frequently described “common land”, years later a seventh hole was then added.

Moving beyond the infamous March Dyke stone wall, the course was extended west in 1868 courtesy of John Nisbet-Hamiliton. Almost a decade later, further discussion amongst the Nisbet-Hamilton family led to the course extending all the way to the Eli Burn. In 1895, there was a final push to extend the course west as a handful of holes were less than 200 yards. 

In 1932, additional land was leased, extending the course once again under the construction of Ben Sayer Jr and C.K Hutchinson. This was one of the last major changes to be made on the course. 

Regional History

North Berwick benefits from a beautiful seaside location, situated on the south side of the Firth of Forth where it meets the North Sea. This wonderful coastal location means that most of North Berwick’s history lies around its harbour. 

It has been noted that a harbour of some sorts has been located in North Berwick from at least the 1100s and for 500 years acted as a ferry crossing to Earlsferry. This was popular with the pilgrims to St. Andrews as it conveniently shortened their trip. 

The town began to flourish during the later part of the 1800s mostly because of its two sandy bays; North Berwick Bay and Misley Bay. Along the back of both bays you will be able to find a plethora of Victorian villas as a result of its popularity. 

Local hospitality and retail

Where to stay

If you are looking for accommodation with beautiful views of the nearby area, then Marine North Berwick is a strong contender. Boasting alluring views of the Firth of Forth and Bass Rock, this hotel offers its guests the opportunity to have a luxurious stay coupled with fabulous views onto the West Links Golf Course.

The Nether Abbey Hotel is perfectly situated in the heart of North Berwick, offering comfortable, modern accommodation and food of the highest quality. The North Berwick Golf Lodge Bed & Breakfast. Located on the Town’s Dirleton Avenue it is only a few minutes walk from the beach and Town Centre making it the ideal base when exploring the town’s many attractions. 

Where to eat

After a long day on the course there is no better way to celebrate than by indulging in some delicious food and drink. North Berwick has plenty of restaurants that are full to the brim with the very best British and Scottish produce including The Lawn, The Herringbone and The Grange

Osteria is an charming family run italian restaurant which has been located in North Berwick since 2006. The restaurant focuses on using local Scottish suppliers to help create their unique Italian style dishes with a Scottish twist. 

If you can, make sure you head out to Drift – a stunning cliff edge cafe with sweeping views of the Firth of Forth coast and the Bass Rock. Great coffee and scones! 

Where to shop

From big named brands to small local businesses, there are lots of distilleries and breweries in the nearby area of North Berwick. From one of the oldest independent breweries in Scotland, Belhaven Brewery, to upcoming eco-distillery, North Berwick Gin Distillery – you are never short of a tipple

Why not bring the beautiful coastal views into your home by taking a browse through the extensive selection of artwork at Green and Blues studio, designed and created by well-known and upcoming artists. If you fancy taking a DIY approach to your artwork, Rock & Bird is a fantastic family run art supply shop located on North Berwicks thriving high street. 

Iconic landmarks

The National Museum of Flight is located only a short drive away from the North Berwick coastline and is certainly worth a visit! Explore a range of world-class aircrafts from throughout history including Scotland’s supersonic concorde. There are plenty of hands-on interactive activities for all the family to enjoy. 

To learn more about the beautiful wildlife that plagues Scotland’s coastline, the Scottish Seabird Centre offers the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with the local wildlife on their seasonal boat trips. If you prefer keeping your feet on the land, then they also offer the opportunity to control their interactive live cameras. 

You can’t travel to Scotland without paying a visit to one of its many historical castles! Tantallon Castle was one of the last great castles to be built in Scotland and was erected by William Douglas in the mid-1300s. Its spectacular exterior made its claim to fame in the critically acclaimed film, Under the Skin. 

The best photo spots 

  • North Berwick Harbour
  • Law Formation
  • Tantallon Castle
  • Lodge Grounds
  • Bass Rock

Our top tips for playing this course

  • Get there early for a few practice putts! 
  • Great views of the Bass Rock
  • Watch out for the walls

 Watch Stephen Proctor’s North Berwick Dispatch here

Ready to follow in Tom's footsteps?
Plan Your Trip