GM Contributing Editor Rob Smith reviews the excellent Renaissance Club

Renaissance Club Review

My first trip of 2015 involved the long drive up to Scotland in order to visit one of the two Golf Monthly Top 100 Courses that I had not yet played. Entering the upper echelons in 2012, the Renaissance Club had risen to number 83 in the 2015/16 rankings, and I knew I was in for a treat.

Arriving after dark on a cold, January evening, it was clear from the offset that this is a special place as my golfing chum and I were greeted by name and shown to our excellent accommodation on the first floor of the stylish clubhouse.

View over the course from upstairs in the clubhouse

View over the course from upstairs in the clubhouse

Next morning, the view from my bedroom window was one that would whet the appetite of any golf enthusiast, and a tasty breakfast was the perfect start before we met up with our playing companion, teaching professional at Renaissance, Ross Dixon.

It was then out onto the course where Ross explained its short history, and how the original opening has been replaced by some exciting new holes on land close to the shore, overlooking the firth.

Stretching to a whopping 7,303 yards from the back tees, we took into account the cold winter weather and our own limitations and played from the yellows – more than test enough.

Bordered by Muirfield to the west and Archerfield to the east, what a treat this Tom Doak design is!

The first few holes ease you into the round, with the dogleg fourth being my favourite of the opening handful, but the course really kicks into life once you reach the seventh and head out towards the shore.

The eighth is SI one and an absolute classic, leading you out to a green by one of the old drystone walls that permeate the course and are a real feature. Gnarled trees and pot bunkers make for a unique setting before you reach halfway courtesy of a lovely par three with a horizon green; next stop Fife.

The infinity green at the ninth

The infinity green at the ninth

I was actually more than pleased to make bogey from the bunker short and right which it had taken me a 3-wood to reach.

The tenth hole hugs the clifftop

The tenth hole hugs the clifftop

The new tenth is another gem – totally memorable, hugging the cliff where anything left is history.

The eleventh green with the ninth beyond the wall

The eleventh green with the ninth beyond the wall

The short eleventh is also lovely, back down to the wall that separates it from the ninth. Here, Ross knocked his tee shot stiff. I did not!

The closing holes are all strong, and it is clear to see why the course has made such an impact in a relatively short space of time and why various stars of the European Tour visit it regularly for practice.

The Renaissance Club is undoubtedly a very special place, and its course is justifiably rated very highly by all those lucky enough to play it.