Crail Golfing Society - Balcomie Links Course

4.3372647059 4.3 stars from 5 (13)
  • Holes: 18
  • Par: 69
  • Length: 5861 yards
  • Layout

  • Crail Golfing Society, Balcomie Clubhouse, Crail, Fife, KY10 3XN
  • +44 (0) 1333 450686, +44 (0) 1333 450960
  • +44 (0) 1333 450416
  • crailgolfingsociety.co.uk

Year built: 1895
Architect(s): Old Tom Morris (1895)
Style: Links
Golf Season: Year round

Rentals/Services

Carts: Yes - £40
Pull-carts: Yes
Clubs: Yes
Caddies: Yes

Practice/Instruction

Pitching/chipping area: Yes
Putting green: Yes
Teaching pro: Yes

Policies

Walking allowed: Yes

Tees | Layout | Full Scorecard

Tee Par Length Rating Slope
White 69 5861 yards N/A N/A
Yellow 67 5402 yards N/A N/A
Red (W) 72 5207 yards N/A N/A

Crail Golf Society boasts two traditional links courses. The club, which was founded in 1786, is the seventh oldest golf club in the world. The golf courses share stunning coastal views and a rich history. The master of golf himself, Tom Morris, laid out the Balcomie Links, the older of the two courses. Morris was not content with just a traditional links layout, he utilized to full advantage the dramatic seaside landscape. The golf course features several tricky shots over rocky bays and long par 3s that play to greens perched atop steep cliffs. The course has a memorable opening hole that plays from on top of a cliff down to an inviting fairway. This leads to a pitch over a bunker and a turf wall to a blind green that is flanked on both sides by bunkers as well as a burn.

Rating Snapshot

GA Rating Index 4.3 stars from 5
Off-Course Amenities: 4.0 stars from 5
Value: 4.5 stars from 5
Pace of Play: 4.6 stars from 5
Staff Friendliness: 4.5 stars from 5
Course Layout: 4.1 stars from 5
Course Conditions: 4.3 stars from 5
Rating Breakdown 13 Reviews
5 stars:
6
4 stars:
6
3 stars:
0
2 stars:
1
1 stars:
0

recommend this course

11 out of 12 reviews


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Reviewer Photos

Reviews


Overall Rating
Recommended
Handicap
Age
Type of Golfer
Gender

yagoml's avatar
Age:  35-44
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  0-4

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 05/10/2018
First time playing Walked Windy weather

Reviewed on


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Excellent

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Moderate


I recommend this course



phhiltonhead's avatar
Age:  65+
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  10-14

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 09/07/2017
First time playing Walked Perfect weather

Reviewed on


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Excellent

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Extremely Challenging


I recommend this course


"Best Links Course"


phhiltonhead's avatar
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  10-14

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 09/05/2017
Previously played Walked Perfect weather Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

If you want to play an historic course more interesting than St Andrews and a true links course, Balcomie is he place. Ever time I come to Scotland it is on my list and has not changed over the 25 years since I first played it.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Excellent

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Average

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


Commented on 12/21/2017

Thank you for your kind comment and we look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.


"Curious as to why so much hype."


Earlsferry's avatar
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  0-4

2 2.0 stars from 5 Played on 08/23/2017
First time playing Walked Cold weather

Reviewed on

Having lived for over twenty years within just a few miles of Crail but having never played Balcomie (never felt the desire to be honest as I always believed it to be over-hyped) I succumbed to playing with two friends earlier this month; to be fair we had played all other (proper) Fife courses and despite my protestations I was dragged along to Crail. Weather was breezy and chilly. Crail Golfing Society make a big fuss about their course and a whole historical bit about being one of the oldest clubs although the actual course (as opposed to the 'club') was opened in 1895 so the course (which is what really matters after all) isn't as old as a great many courses. Sure the views are great but I come for the challenge of the course and in this respect I was left as disappointed as I had expected. My wife (with a handicap of +1) had warned me of a likely disappointment such as she had a few years earlier with her shock at such a generous ladies' par of 70 for such a short track. I digress. The front nine can all be seen from the first tee so it is not only a short track but a cramped one with too many simple par 3s and a strange finishing stretch set inland and accessed after a long walk away from the shore. The course would be less used by visitors were it not for being close to St Andrews; I guess Crail makes the most of what it has but it's not bucket-list material and were it located anywhere but close to the Home of Golf then it would struggle to sell tee-times. Overall, it's fine for a short walk for higher handicap players but it's not for the purest nor for the accomplished player: I came away still shaking my head at the over-hyping of Crail.


Pace of Play: Average

Course Layout: Fair

Course Conditions: Average

Staff Friendliness: Average

Value for the Money: Fair

Off-Course Amenities: Fair

Course Difficulty:  Fairly Easy


I don't recommend this course


"Some gorgeous views!"


MDLopez77's avatar
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  0-4

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 06/19/2017
First time playing

Reviewed on

This course took us all by surprise. Others have said dont let the yardage fool you and they would be correct. It gets pretty windy so you really have to keep it low and play for position. Most of the holes were quite unique and along the water and hills....though there are a few boring holes that run up and down from each other. Good thing there is that makes the effective fairway like 150 yards wide :D The greens rolled great and were of moderate speed (id say a 9 -10). Fairways were typical links. Overall a very fun course!


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Good

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Good


I recommend this course


"12 handicap 3 over playing here"


t1705812853's avatar
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a week

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 06/12/2017
First time playing

Reviewed on

Basically a gem, don't be fooled by the yardage was blowing a hoolie 3 up/down to play shots 60/70 left/right of greens to approach lightening greens like links golf should be. Coulped with stunning views value for money you won't beat it, friendly staff beautiful modern club house epic views at the 19th hole, add to your list if playing up here you won't be disappointed!


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Good

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Good

Value for the Money: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent


I recommend this course


"Great Links Course"


picayune1's avatar
Age:  55-64
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  10-14

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 10/09/2016
First time playing Walked Perfect weather

Reviewed on

One of those hidden gems, save yourself 200 GBP and play here instead of Kingsbarns. Classic out and in links, been around forever, great sea views, friendly staff. This place is what links golf is really all about. A pleasant stroll with generous fairways, some quirky holes (#13!). Time well spent at Crail Balcomie


Pace of Play: Good

Course Layout: Good

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Good

Course Difficulty:  Moderate


I recommend this course


"Beautiful Old Golf Course"


Colin468's avatar
Age:  35-44
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 09/09/2016
Previously played Walked Played 18 holes Good weather

Reviewed on

Our 2nd time playing this old track, and 2nd day in a row at Crail Golfing Society. This course has beautiful views of the sea and different parts of the course due to the elevation changes. Not a very long course but it plays every inch and feels like a longer course. Wind off the water is always a factor, and can cause you a lot of problems. I think this is a must play for any golf trip and the course offers a deal if you play both the Balcomie and Craighead courses. They are worth the money!


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Good

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Good

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Good

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course



"Another Hidden gem"


18thhole's avatar
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  10-14

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 08/27/2015
First time playing Paired up at course Walked Played 18 holes Excellent weather

Reviewed on

Great course if you want to get away from the big boys (St. Andrews, Kingsbarns etc.) and pay half the price. Very playable, an easy walk with great views. A true links with dog legs left and right, uphill and downhill shots, strong par 3's. Very friendly staff. Does have some shared fairways so keep an eye out for oncoming golfers. Well worth the drive down from St. Andrews (10 minutes). Highly recommended.


Pace of Play: Good

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Quality of food & beverage: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Good

Course Difficulty:  Fairly Easy


I recommend this course


"Great course to start trip on"


Lefty6563's avatar
Age:  45-54
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  0-4

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 04/01/2015
First time playing Played with a group Walked Played 18 holes Fair weather

Reviewed on

A wonderful historic golf course. A great place to begin a trip, as the course doesn't beat you up.<br/> The staff was great, from the pro shop, to the caddies, to the bar.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Conditions: Average

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Quality of food & beverage: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Moderate


I recommend this course


"Incredible"


boneowens's avatar
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  10-14

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 09/15/2013
First time playing Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

My favorite round of my trip. The course, caddy, and staff were great. Even the weather somewhat cooperated. The course itself was challenging, but fun. The views were great, just a beautiful location for a golf course. Could not recommend this course high enough.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Average

Value for the Money: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Extremely Challenging


I recommend this course


"Very pleasant experience. Good course, relatively easy"


jer1953's avatar
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  5-9

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 8/14/2013
First time playing Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

Booking arrangements were very efficient. My wife and I were put with two brothers (Ralph and Joe), who were real gentlemen and excellent company. Staff were very friendly. I (handicap 8) found the course fairly easy. My wife (handicap 31) thoroughly enjoyed the course. Great views along the coast, very well presented.


Pace of Play: Good

Course Conditions: Average

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Average

Course Difficulty:  Extremely Easy


"Pure Scottish historical links course"


golflady007's avatar
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  5-9

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 5/12/2013
Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

It is a pure, historical links course, one of the oldest in Scotland. Many parallel running holes and sometimes a little difficult to figure out which flag to play to. Nevertheless a worthwhile experience.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Conditions: Average

Staff Friendliness: Average

Value for the Money: Average

Course Difficulty:  Moderate


I recommend this course



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