Nice layout with good greens with upside for plane spotters!
Summary: Round £35. Par 69. Value (out of 5) – 3.5
Turnhouse golf course was laid out with 9 holes in 1897, and extended to 18 holes a few years later. The original course designer is not known, but James Braid carried out a redesign in 1928, characteristically focused on the use of bunkers.
The course sits on Lennie Hill, very close to Edinburgh airport and easily accessed by road. There are good views of the Pentland Hills to the south and to the Fife Ochill Hills to the north. For a parkland course designed in the 19th century it unusually has two 9 hole loops, starting at the clubhouse.
Turnhouse has a classic parkland feel and there is a good mix of some generous and some tighter fairways. I thoroughly recommend the excellent online course planner available on the club website, especially as there are several blind tee and second shots. A good example is the long 4th hole which has a nasty blind bunker on the right hand side of the fairway at about 430 yards awaiting a well struck second shot – bear in mind out of bounds is tight along the left of this hole.
The planner might also help gauge driving distance on some of the tighter holes, with the formidable 13th tee shot being actually easier that it looks, with only a hybrid or fairway wood being needed at the tee, with a larger landing area being available than at first sight.
The greens were surprisingly well drained and quiet fast – I putted off the 9th green where the pin had been placed on the right – beware! Overall the course was in good condition, with only the tees perhaps in need of some effort.
I had a most mercurial round. I only hit 3 greens in regulation and birdied all 3 of them! (4th, 6th and 11th) – my stableford had three 4 pointers but no 3 pointers!
There is an interesting quote on the club web site about the hazards in the development of parkland courses around the turn of the 20th century, and worth sharing:
“In those early days, golf courses were shaped by natural terrain and while links courses had sand bunkers, inland courses relied on gorse, whin and dry stone walls for hazards. At Turnhouse there is a record of turf dykes about three feet high being built forty or fifty yards from the tee across some fairways and in January 1908 an instruction was issued to remove steps over the walls and have gaps made in their place.”
Turnhouse was a most pleasant surprise and one of the lessor known Edinburgh courses well worth a visit.
Course Type: Parkland
Par 69 (2 par 5s, 11 par 4s, 5 par 3s)
Distance (yellow): 5926
Moly’s Gross score: 91.