Dalmahoy, Double Delight

Just seven miles to the south of Edinburgh city centre, the two courses at Dalmahoy Golf & Country Club are a welcome escape from the city, found Richard Bath.

Virtually everyone I know who has played golf at Dalmahoy has said the same thing: it’s not just long, but really long. They mean the East Course, rather than the smaller West Course. The East is the Championship course designed by James Braid, which is a 7,334 yard monster off the Championship tees, where even the three par-3s average 200 yards. Off the normal tees, however, it’s a more manageable 6,684 yards, although that wasn’t actually our main takeaway from playing at this famous old par-73 parkland course.

Being relatively long off the tee, the distance wasn’t really a huge issue, and thankfully both the East and West are fairly forgiving, although the smaller 5,168 West course is certainly a good deal tighter than its big brother (even if this lovely par-68 course does have the par 5 is the longest hole on either course). Our main issue was just how busy the course was, with an influx of Americans and golfers from south of the border swelling the usual local contingent. I’m reliably informed that it’s normally far quieter, but we certainly did our fair share of standing on the tee waiting to drive.

That, however, gave us a lot of time to have a look around at two courses that were in excellent nick. The Championship course – which is where the European Ladies won their first Solheim Cup, and where Seve, Sam Torrance and Nick Faldo played in the Scottish Seniors Open – was particularly testing, but both are well constructed tests of both high and low handicappers.

It’s also worth mentioning that there’s a great driving range and practice area where you can happily while away an hour before going out to swing in earnest.


The hotel and conference centre is built around a grand old house which was built for the powerful Dalrymple family and set in 1,000 acres of Capability Brown style grounds, but which in 1990 underwent a radical transformation and is now a large sprawling warren of a place with 215 rooms and suites. The core of the hotel is still the old house, which became a hotel in 1927, but retains some nice period features and an olde worlde vibe as you arrive.

The rooms themselves are good, spacious and comfortable, with ours looking out over the East Course. There are several categories of rooms: classic, deluxe, superior, family, Manor House rooms in the original house, and suites. The one issue can be the walk – the hotel corridors are so long in places that it can take a while to get back to your room.

There’s also an excellent spa and leisure club that is open from 6am to 10pm and which contains an indoor heated swimming pool, well-equipped gym, sauna, steam room and outdoor floodlit tennis courts, and which offers yoga, fitness classes and a jogging trail.


In a hotel of this size there are always options when it comes to the food and drink. The prime eating option is the signature restaurant, The Pentland, which is in the same area used for breakfast and where you can find a really decent range of options, with everything from salmon fillets, weiner schnitzel and duck breast to vegetarian options like puy lentil bolognaise or roasted vegetables with hummus. The bistro is the other main venue, and serves a really good selection of comfort food staples like steak frites, Thai green curry, burgers, fish and chips, and pizza and pasta.

When it comes to drink, the cocktail bar and James Braid Bar are where it’s happening. When we visited, the bars were incredibly cosmopolitan, with people from all over the world congregating and noisly enjoying themselves. For those quieter moments, the Douglas Room (named after the house’s former owners) is a more contemplative space.

Dalmahoy Golf and Country Club, Kirknewton, Edinburgh, EH27 8EB.

0131 333 1845;

Golf pricing on East course is £75 weekday and £100 weekend per round

Room rates vary, with standard room rates from £150 and suites from £250 per night.

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Plus, don’t miss the July issue of Scottish Field magazine.