Top notch links golf
A couple of years back the greens were a little patchy, but they have been right on the button so far this year. It's not a course with hundreds of bunkers, but the ones of the 1st, 9th, 11th and 17th have a habit of gathering my wayward shots in.
A number of fairway bunkers are deep rivetted beasts and will need you to play sideways or just lob it out on to the short stuff.
Many of the greenside bunkers have just been re-faced this year and are more ferocious than ever as a result.
My favourite hole has to be the 11th.
It's a pretty open 540yd, par 5 (from the whites). From the tee you look straight out into the Firth of Forth and across to Fife. The fairway is downhill all the way into the green and is brodered on one-side by OB (and the neighbouring Kilspindie course) and the other side is protected by a couple of juicy bunkers just around driving distance. The second shot offers a choice. If you've hit a Frenchy-length drive you might fancy a crack at the green, which is protected by OB left and long and a water hazard to the front.
That water hazard winds it's way down the right side of the fairway (from about 150 yards out), then across the front of the green and back up the left hand side of the fairway (to about 100 yards out).
A second option would be to lay up short, and a third is to use a sliver of fairway that sits the other side of the water hazard and off to the right of the green.
It's always been option 2 for me.
From just short of the water hazard it's a wedge into the green, which is guarded by a bunker to the left, the (aforementioned) OB beyond, and wide left, and uneven ground (lumps and bumps) to the right.
The green itself it usually pretty quick (it's a bit exposed down this corner of the course so the wind may play havoc with any/all of your regulation 3 into the green and generally sucks all the moisture out of the green itself) and pin positions vary between the 3 levels of the green.
If the green staff are feeling particularly vindictive the back left position (top level, behind the bunker, within a few paces of OB on two sides and right next to a latrine!) has been known to be employed.
If the wind's up, and I've come off with a par, I wander to the next tee with a definite spring in my step.
It's not a course that needs you to be a big hitter. If the wind is with you at some holes, it's against you, or across you, at others. If you get a calm day she can be a bit of a pussycat, assuming you can stay out of the bunkers and out of, what is fast becoming, punitive rough (as far as I can understand they are experimenting with growing it up for Seniors Open Qualifying this year).
If you're out in a hoolie though, low and penetrating will see you through.
What I am pleased to say that it is not is a course that requires driver, wedge at all the par-4s. You need to plot your way around and take fairway camber, hazards and wind conditions into account.
In terms of things to watch out for it's a water hazard (generally just a bit boggy) off to the left of the 7th fairway and another (this time filled with the stuff fish pee in) between the 12th and 13th fairways. Neither are visible from the tees, so probably best to invest in a Strokesaver.
Gordon, the starter, is a real class act and is extremely welcoming.
The clubhouse is modern (the course only opened up for membership in 2001), although they did have a problem with a leak in the gents changing room earlier this year, and well appointed (nice bar area with big windows over looking the coast, good showering facilities, a sauna, restaurant area etc.).
Oh ... and something that is not instantly obvious, if you want to watch anything on the TV, it's upstairs, along with some comfy leather sofas.