At Scotscraig you have to bring your A game right to the first tee. No easy warm-up holes here.
The first hole is a tricky par four, with the green hidden from view on your approach, unless you are a long hitter. The fairway is very hard and bumpy, and you definitely feel like you are on a links course right from the start.
However, is it a links course? Even though the water is very close, you never actually see it from any of the holes. And as you play on, especially on the back nine, the course changes character and starts to resemble a parkland course, with trees lining the fairways. So is it a parkland? Well, there are also some heathland, or maybe moorland, plenty of gorse and heather, so it is very hard to put the course in a particular category. Or maybe categories, as the front and back nine are different enough to fall in different categories.
And this is part of the challenge. You are never quite sure what is coming next. What is certain is that strategy is more important than length. Bunkers are well positioned, and shots to the wrong parts of the slick greens are adequately punished. It is by no means an easy course, and it can with a few exceptions hold its own against many of the more famous neighbors.
The front nine are the better holes in my opinion, with the index 1 fourth hole, a short par four being the best. A very attractive hole, tricky with a well protected, raise small green.
The back nine is more open and flatter, but it has a few nice holes, the par five 14th being my favorite.