Archerfield is a magnificent estate situated between Gullane and North Berwick in picturesque East Lothian. With Grade I listed Archerfield House lying at its heart, the land affords magnificent views of Fidra Island and the Fife coastline beyond. With its distinctive lighthouse and whitewashed stonework, it comes as little surprise that Fidra was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's famous book, Treasure Island.
Named after the archers of King Edward I who pitched their tents here during the English invasion of 1298, Archerfield estate has a fascinating story to tell. With names like the Earl of Ruthven, Mary, Queen Of Scots and Winston Churchill littering the pages of
its history, its ancient past can still be seen in the form of a Scottish burial cairn now carefully preserved on the second hole of the Fidra course.
Search a little harder and the remains of an 11th Century village can also be found in nearby Eldbotle Wood. Offering important archaeological finds, it will be preserved in situ as a tangible reminder of Archerfield's magnificent heritage.
Not that its golfing past is any less historic. Situated between the 8th hole at Muirfield and the 9th at North Berwick, it is believed that golf has been played over this land for five centuries or more. What is certain is that inhabitants of Archerfield House and their hardworking staff enjoyed a game of golf here throughout the second half of the 19th century on the original 13-hole course. Indeed, it was such a desirable place to play that local reverend, John Kerr, wrote in 1896 that:
"...No snugger, cosier, more delightful links can be found anywhere... for pure, unalloyed enjoyment of a summers day play give us Archerfield..."
With help from North Berwick professional Ben Sayers, the course was extended to eighteen holes around 1910 and was later described by noted Times golf correspondent Bernard Darwin, "...as the most enchanting short course in the world."
Enjoyed as it was by the elite of Edwardian society including British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, no one could have imagined the uncertain future that lay ahead for Archerfield. Taken over by the British Army shortly after the outbreak of World War II, the estate fell into inexorable decline in the decades that followed. With Archerfield House neglected and forgotten and its "enchanting" links overgrown and unused, its former greatness was little more than a faded memory.
Hidden away like a precious jewel it was brought back to life in relatively recent times. Today, the newly restored Archerfield House looks out on not one, but two superb David J. Russell designed golf courses, the Fidra and the Dirleton.
In keeping with the abundance of majestic flora and fauna, the course designer has worked diligently to achieve a seamless alliance with nature. The result is a golfing experience with timeless appeal. A superb mixture of sandy links and pine forest, historic Archerfield has truly been reborn.