Muirfield---Gullane, Scotland

Rankings as of 5/15/11
-3rd best international course (Golf Digest)
-9th best course in the world (Golf Magazine)
-4th best Classic course in Great Britain and Ireland (Golfweek)

Muirfield, the home of The Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.  Here I was about to tee it up at one of the
most historic and important clubs in the entire world.  To say I was excited would be an understatement.  To say
Muirfield was worth the trip would, again, be an understatement.  If the golf course isn’t perfect…it is damn close!


For starters the routing is world renowned and amazing.  The first nine forms an outer clockwise circle, while the
home nine forms a circle inside the front nine that runs counterclockwise.  Given the courses seaside location, this
routing seems to maximize the winds effect on the playing of golf.  And this adds intrigue and interest to the round.

Another feature that really made an impression on me was how mature everything looked.  Bunkers seemed to not
have been dug or formed, but rather seemed to have always been there.  They had no odd lumps or humps, no
forced placements, rather they seemed ideally and perfectly situated like they’d been there for eons, which,
essentially, they have.

Muirfield 16.JPG

I felt like the round at Muirfield was a perfect examination of one’s game.  Accuracy of tee shots was tested.  
Approach shots were tested.  Strategic thinking, bunker escapes, putting…you name it…it was tested.  Fail in any
one area…and you will have to make up for it at Muirfield.  HOWEVER, you are afforded the opportunity to recover.  
Wayward tee shots are not OB.  You will have the chance to hack it out of the rough.  You will have a chance to
make a miraculous bunker shot.  You will just have to hit an extra-special shot to make up for your previous mistake.

Personally, I found the 8th hole and the 17th hole to be the gems at Muirfield.  8 is a par 4 that has a bit of history
associated with it, trees, and Walter Hagen.  The hole is a 443 yard par 4 that dog legs a bit to the right around a
nest of bunkers.  

Muirfield 8.JPG

Cross bunkers then guard the approach very near the green.  It was the only hole that I can recall the forced an
aerial attack of the green.  

Muirfield 8 IV.JPG

There is a risk/reward element off the tee the involves getting close to that nest of bunkers to have a shorter
approach or staying far out left and leaving yourself a longer approach.  What is neat is that there is this nest of
trees to the right of the bunker nest.  The trees look a bit out of place and, in fact, they are.  When playing the hole
back-in-the-day Walter Hagen hit his tee shot to the right of those bunkers, short cutted the hole, and left himself
and easy pitch and putt for his birdie.  The club responded by planting the trees and stopping this “short cut.”

The 17th is a 506 yard par 5 that dog legs left.  At the dog leg there is a bunch of center line cross bunkers, again
arranged in kind of a nest.  

Muirfield 17.JPG

This introduces another really neat risk/reward; challenges the bunkers to have a shorter approach or steer well
clear and have a longer one.  I was unaware of the nest of bunkers, as only one was visible to me, and I laid up
right into the shorter/hidden one.  

Muirfield 17 II.JPG

And I was left with about 150 to the green from a deep centerline bunker.  The green is almost a Dell type of green
which is surrounded by humps and hills.  

Muirfield 17 III.JPG

Muirfield was originally laid out by Old Tom Morris in 1891 and renovated by Harry Colt in 1923.  It was Colt who
introduced the two loops of nine and placed Muirfield in the upper echelon of great courses.