A quirky (mostly) links (also mostly) that has a number of outstanding seaside holes and may be the only course in the world with a real submarine periscope in the starter's hut. The routing is downright weird: the first three holes form a mini-loop behind the clubhouse, then the player is taken out to the sea, back inland, back out again, then a turn along the coastline, back inland, back out to the sea and then finally back inland to the clubhouse. The "culprit" appears to be a very narrow strip of land in the middle of the course, which was the result of some legal squabbling centuries ago.
One advantage of such a criss-crossing layout is, however, that the golfer never plays with (or against!) the same wind for long. That helps to add variety, which the course otherwise lacks insofar as it has 16 par 4s and two par 3s. But thanks to the wind a number of par 4s will play like par 5s and some even like par 3s. With respect to the hole designs there appear to be two types: the brutal "championship hole" and the quirky "risk/reward hole".
As a whole, the site is rather flat and there are no dunes or other natural landforms separating the holes. But smaller-scale undulations within fairways and greens are common and there is the occasional hillock to drive over. It's fun and games, no doubt about that, and the views over the stretch of seaside holes are fantastic. Perhaps the course lacks the coherency that a traditional out and back routing provides, especially when dunes or gorse create an air of intimacy. Also, the longer holes do not have as many strategic merits, there is really no other way than to whack the ball as far as possible. On the other hand Elie is wide enough for some serious whacking, even in the wind, so in a way everything ties together. Naturally, this high class course has quality greens and everything else expected of a links in the Kingdom of Fife. A good complement to neighboring Lundin and Leven, yet different enough to stand out in most any company.