Swanston Golf Club is home to one 18-hole golf course, a 9-hole short-course, a driving range, practice facilities and a FootGolf course. All boast a tranquil and beautiful setting and views of the Pentland Hills or the South side of Edinburgh.
The Swanston Course at Swanston Golf Club
Swanston Golf Course was the brainchild of a lady called Miss Carswell back in the 1920’s. She took out a lease on the land and set about laying out the course with Herbert More, Swanston’s first greenkeeper.
The original 9-hole layout was opened in 1928 as a ladies-only course but due to a demand from the lady members’ partners it was soon opened up to men and extended to 18 holes. Like most Scottish golf courses built in the boom years between 1880 and 1930, Swanston was built on the only land available in those days (i.e. not prime agricultural land, as this was too valuable in farming).
By 2005 the course was in need of major investment to bring it up to a higher standard and ensure its prosperity for another 80 years. In 2006 work began on seven new holes which opened for play in March 2009; six of them on the neighbouring lower ground (previously agricultural fields) not available to Miss Carswell during the 1920’s. Some improvements have been made to the 11 original holes without losing their character and yet more improvements are planned for the future. In May 2009 the new holes were officially opened by Gavin Hastings OBE, David McLetchie (MSP Edinburgh, Pentlands), Douglas Connon (SGU Chairman), Ethel Jack (SLGA President) and Lynne Kenny (Ladies European Tour Player).
The Templar Course
When planning the improvements to the 18-hole layout, a decision was made to secure the long-term future of Swanston Golf Club by providing facilities that would encourage new golfers of all ages to both try golf and encourage their progress through to being full members in the future.
To achieve this goal it was felt that one 18-hole course was not enough. A separate course is essential to enable learners of the game to play without feeling the pressure of the more experienced golfer pushing from behind.
On the 4th Wednesday of each month, April to October, the Templar Course is played as a 6-hole ‘competition’ layout where 3 pairs of the par-3’s are joined together to make 3 par-4’s. This is then played three times to make a par 63 18-hole golf course. This is a great way for learners of the game to test themselves, achieve a handicap and progress towards playing on a full-size course. In 2011 we started using the 6-hole layout on Friday afternoons to enable juniors to play a Stableford format for handicap.
Like all good Disney movies there’s plenty that will entertain the kids, but also something in it for the adults. The greens, for example, are small but are made to a full USGA (sand based) specification and should therefore be a joy to putt on for golfers of all abilities and in all weather.
80 yard 4th hole over corner of pond and the 12ft square Huxley Premier tees have been designed to enable a consistent ball strike without the mess that grass tees would become given the clubs used for short holes.
A round on the ‘Templar’ course takes less than an hour and is also great fun – whether you’re 8 or 80 years old, a scratch golfer or yet to get your first handicap.