Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Renaissance Club (Part 2)

This short post on Renaissance Club is a follow up post to accompany my full review of the course, which can be found here.

When I first visited Renaissance Club in April of 2012, the clubhouse was still under construction and three new seaside holes were being shaped out of the rolling East Lothian dunes. As you can tell from my full review, I greatly enjoyed the course, but it was not complete. My host for the day prefaced most sentences with, "When everything is finished up..."

My opportunity to revisit the exclusive private club came nearly two years later to the day, and every promise of "just wait till _____ is completed" during my first visit has certainly come true. The attention to detail and the service at the club are excellent. Everything was first-class, from having guests' names printed on labels in the beautiful locker room to a member of staff bringing us delicious hot snacks at the turn.
The clubhouse in April, 2012
Outside of the great Tom Doak designed golf course, the clubhouse at Renaissance Club is the most impressive feature of the club. The building is massive, with a full gym, five-star rooms to spend the night, and one of the better furnished locker rooms that I have visited (see hot tub below). The food was excellent during my visit and the service was impeccable.
The clubhouse in April, 2014
Renaissance Club does not feel like other clubs in Scotland. It is built off the American model of golf club, with a high initiation fee, highly private membership, and incredible facilities. The club is closer to Loch Lomond Golf Club than to any of its East Lothian neighbors. An American, Jerry Sarvadi, headed up the development of Renaissance Club, leasing the land from the Duke of Hamilton on property from the Archerfield Estate. The land for the course lies in a "green belt" conservation area of the coast, and special permission had to be granted for the golf course. The result is a great Doak design set within naturally beautiful Scottish dunes.
Full hot tub in the men's locker room
My camera lens broke a number of days prior to my round at Renaissance Club, so the limited photos that you see below were taken in a misty rain with my phone. I will do my best to describe the three new holes, numbers 9, 10, and 11 in the round. Brilliant photos can be found on the club website, found here.
The 9th hole at Renaissance Club
During my first visit to the club, there were no true seaside holes on the golf course. It was a feature that the owners felt was holding the course back from a higher ranking and the possibility to host the Scottish Open. Tom Doak was brought back in to design three new holes after additional land was acquired for the expansion.
Click on photo to enlarge
Two of the three new holes are par 3s. The 9th hole measures 190+ yards into a beautiful infinity green, while the 11th hole is a downhill 135+ yard par 3 with a great view. Depending on the wind, one of the holes plays into wind, while the other plays downwind. Depending on your luck that day, the one shot holes can be particularly challenging.
Locker labels mark all guest lockers
The 10th hole is the most impressive of the new three. The hole curls along cliffs bordering the Firth of Forth. Massive waves crashing on the beach to the left of the hole provide a nice backdrop for play. The dogleg left design has a great risk/reward aspect. Golfers can cut off as much cliff as they dare to shorten their approach to the green. The fairway runs along a hillside, and those golfers trying to play the tee shot too safe will find their ball stuck on the hill in thick grass.

I hope to be able to play Renaissance Club again on a bright, sunny day with my camera. The round was very enjoyable, and my 73 won me a few pounds from my playing partners. If given the chance to play golf in Scotland, make sure to play the great traditional links courses. However, tacking on a round at a modern course like Renaissance Club isn't half bad!


  1. Great birdies on 7 and 8!

    1. Thanks! 8 was playing downwind, so life was slightly easier. The new holes are very impressive.