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Behind the 13th at Renaissance: The story of Fidra Island
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Behind the 13th at Renaissance: The story of Fidra Island

Story behind the shot: Behind the 13th hole lies the much photographed Fidra Island, a RSPB nature reserve that holds famous ties to Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his novel ‘Treasure Island’.

Renaissance 13

“If it comes to a swinging, swing all, say I.”

Fidra Island may well be infinitely more likely to see the swings of golfers than it ever will a mutiny on the Hispaniola or a search for Captain Flint’s treasure, but the backdrop to the 13th hole at Renaissance Club still holds a special slice of Scottish history.

The Island, which lies just a few hundred meters from the beach at Yellowcraig and can be seen off the coast of the signature par-four, is rumoured to have been the inspiration for the shape of Robert Louis Stevenson’s famed ‘Treasure Island’, seen on the map that has been featured inside the book’s pages since it was first published in 1883. Fidra Island is also described in his novel Catriona.

Fidra Island Renaissance

Stevenson used to visit the beaches in this area as a child, and his father Thomas (and cousin David) were responsible for the building the lighthouse situated on the small, rocky, island in 1885. The lighthouse has been automated since 1970, and the Island home to a large colony of puffins – which can be viewed from a webcam at the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick.

The hole itself, which is this year’s 13th hole (last year’s fourth and the original 10th), runs along the East Lothian coastline, and is one of the most iconic at Renaissance Club.

It’s a relatively short but dramatic par four with a fairway and green that both slope towards the water, and features multiple teeing options that at its most forward position can entice players to take on the green. It was the sixth easiest hole in 2019, but with stronger winds forecasted and rough awaiting anything too far left, this hole is likely to be a tougher prospect.

Changing the hole to the 13th this year was part of a large rerouting of the course designed to feature the most dramatic holes on the back nine.

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