The team at Drumoig think they have one of the best turns in Scottish golf, and while this is a bold claim, there’s no doubt that you’ll get value for money here.
The golf course at Drumoig is just one part of a state-of-the-art Golf Centre just 20 minutes from the Home of Golf. There’s a hotel on site, as well as a floodlit driving range and bays fitted with TrackMan, so there’s no doubt that facilities off the course are top notch.
When it comes to the course itself, Drumoig doesn’t garner the same reputation as its neighbours in St Andrews, but if you take it as a separate entity, it’s a very enjoyable place to play. It’s very much an inland course, and it commands 250 acres of land, so it’s certainly not crammed in.
The opening tee shot is actually one of the best on the course. An elevated tee allows you to open up the shoulders towards a fairway with margin for error on both sides, particularly to the right. Once you get to your ball though, you’ll see where Drumoig’s challenge lies. It’s an elevated green that will spit out any ball that comes up short. Precision with approach shots is essential here.
The next few holes offer decent birdie chances, particularly the par-5 third and fifth, with the latter having the backdrop of a disused quarry as something of a backboard. Don’t be fooled from the fairway though, anything over the back here is unlikely to be helped by the rocks through the green. While it might not offer you any assistance in getting up-and-down, it is certainly a dramatic backdrop.
The course winds its way through the trees before reaching the ninth hole, the most photographed on the golf course. It’s for good reason too, a sliver of fairway runs between two lochs, and an aggressive tee shot between them will need accuracy and good fortune in equal measure. The prudent play though is a shorter club shy of the water, which will leave you another long iron over the penalty area to a pretty small green. A seriously tough hole that has gobbled up plenty golf balls in its time.
The next is a drivable par-4 under the right conditions, and goes back across the same loch as the ninth. Again, water comes into play, but you’ve a little bit more margin for error here, and taking driver can definitely pay-off with a birdie or better. Still though, an errant one to the left is going to require a reload.
The 11th features more water, but this time it needs carried to reach the green on the par-three. If you’ve been losing balls to the aqua on the last two holes, you’ll be glad to know there’s a bail-out to the right here, but a decent shot should find dry land.
From here, the course makes its way back towards the clubhouse, and the three par-5s on the back-nine all offer great scoring chances. Although the 12th plays uphill, if you can get your tee shot working from right-to-left, then you’re going to have a good chance at getting home in two here. Another rock face comes into play on the short par-4 13th, but much like the fifth, if you reach this with your approach then you’ll be well off the mark.
The closing hole at Drumoig is one that certainly splits opinion. It’s difficult to be critical of this hole, as clearly the lie of the land and nearby buildings mean it needs to be routed a certain way. It’s not a long hole, but if you don’t find the fairway off the tee you can get in a bit of bother, with water and bushes very much in play. It’s no gentle finisher and, like the rest of the course, will certainly keep you on your toes.
If you go out of your way to play Drumoig, chances are it will be because of the famous holes around the turn. They are undeniably scenic, and the ninth in particular offers a tough test.
If you’re playing here with a scorecard in your hand though, you’ll probably play these holes with added caution, and you’ll take a club short enough to avoid the water. Nevertheless, it’s the best, most memorable, stretch on the course.
For this reason, the first eight holes feel like a preview before the main event, and you’ll probably not have too many strong feelings about them. There’s nothing wrong with them, but you’ll get the impression they are routed to guide you to the ninth tee. Again, thanks to the quality of this stretch, that’s no bad thing.
Drumoig is undoubtedly a victim of its location in the country. Being a short drive from St Andrews means that anyone playing here will hold the course to these standards, and this is unfair. If you were to take Drumoig into any other region in Scotland, it would be one of the best regarded courses in the area.
No surprises here, the ninth is the only option. A bold tee shot will require deadly accuracy, or you’ll be dropping a ball beside the wet stuff. If you lay-up off the tee, you’ll need a carry all the way to the green with your approach or you’ll be having a Tin Cup moment.
The hole is over 430 yards from the back tees, so it’s a proper test, not just a gimmick. You need two of your best swings to hit a green that is tiny for a hole so long.
Did you know?
Drumoig Golf Centre is home to the Syme family, including DP World Tour player Connor Syme. Connor’s dad, Stuart, is the head pro at the on-site pro shop.
And another thing...
Drumoig was once the base of Scottish Golf, which is now along the road at The Duke’s. There was certainly plenty investment here and the facilities are still top notch. You’ll find a floodlit driving range, TrackMan, you name it, it’s probably there.
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