Kingsbarns Golf Links
Opened in 2000, Kingsbarns Golf Course is one of the newer golf courses in Scotland but it has quickly garnered a large following. Despite being in the company of some of the finest links in the world, the course has managed to distinguish itself as one of Scotland's must-play golf courses. The 7,227-yards layout runs longer than other traditional links courses, but it has a challenging yet inviting design that lacks the severity that can sometimes make Carnoustie a disappointment. The course was blended so seamlessly into the landscape that it's hard to believe that over 300,000 yards of earth were moved in order to create the bunkers, dunes, and perfectly rumpled fairways. Kingsbarns' large greens have some contours but overall, the undulations throughout the course are gentler than they appear. It finishes dramatically with an uphill par 4 that provides the only forced carry approach shot on the golf course.
|Championship Ladies/Blue||72||6088 yards||69.9||130|
|Black M: 75.6/141||418||200||518||425||426||338||461||168||558||3512||394||481||606||148||384||212||569||474||444||3712||7224|
|White M: 73.4/138||405||190||511||409||399||320||438||154||536||3362||380||455||566||135||366||185||547||432||414||3480||6842|
|Green M: 71.1/132||380||165||477||389||370||301||431||132||500||3145||366||399||538||123||336||151||507||408||383||3211||6356|
|Blue M: 69.9/130 W: 72.3/129||380||165||419||389||370||301||431||132||460||3047||366||324||538||123||339||151||486||334||383||3044||6091|
|Red W: 70.7/126||295||136||419||299||294||241||364||113||460||2621||308||324||442||113||308||110||377||334||320||2636||5257|
Links or no links?
While some may not claim Kingsbarns as a true links, it’s a weak argument. It is one of the finest additions to Scottish links in recent years.
Kingsbarns is home to dramatic sea views on every hole. Wide open fairways roll over undulating ridges and hollows into expansive greens. The seamless melding of flat farmland and Old World links contours hit the mark. The generous fairways and greens are further complicated by less areas of serious trouble compared to other links courses in the area. This creates ample opportunity to play with the same ball for the duration of the round, especially if you hire a caddie, or in our case, a forecaddie.
Kyle Phillips did an excellent job of taking advantage of the scenic property by designing holes along the cliff edges with expansive vistas across the sea, as well as interior holes with plenty of intrigue. I was told that he wanted this track to be playable no matter the conditions, which is why he designed the course to not be too penal with wayward shots.
There simply isn’t a bad hole on the property. Plenty of creativity and variety is incorporated into the design from the first hole to the last. Of particular note is the collection of par 3s. They are all great standalone holes, but I feel like they built in intensity to culminate at the 15th.
Along with Castle Stuart, Kingsbarns was the best conditioned course I played on my trip.
Most Overhyped Course on Earth
Beautiful scenery yes but the course is at its best a contrived resort effort. Balls roll back toward fairways and miraculously on to greens. On a number of holes, wide expanses of open space await slicers who think they’ve lost a ball right.
On this day, we played 12 holes in 3.5 hours and walked off. Starter was more concerned with my request to play whites than he was with the ladies in front of us playing the men’s tees. They couldn’t hit it a lick. Lost holes to the group in front and were never approached by a course representative. We passed the ranger on the walk in he never blinked an eye at us. I guess people walk off on $350 rounds there all the time? For that price per round, you would expect a more pleasant experience. Unfortunately, the truth is that Kingsbarns exploits its location to charge an extortionate amount to wealthy clientele from St. Andrews. People line up like sheep to play this pedestrian track set on a marvelous piece of coast. They get people on they get people off. That’s what they do. On this trip the pace of play was appalling and the course conditions were just so so for mid summer. Divots everywhere and thinning greens. Go see for yourself - not a chance it’s worth the 268 GBP per round.
Great day at Kingsbarns
What a course! Very expensive but well worth it. Friendly helpful staff, pretty good caddies, great walking course. Course seems much more mature than it's age. Tough but fair layout. Fairly difficult to lose a ball. 12 is one of the nicest holes I have played and I have played roughly 25% of the world 100.
A "must play!"
A short drive from St. Andrews and you will find yourself on one of the most picturesque courses you will ever play. While it was early in the golf season my wife and I walked the course and on virtually every hole stopped to take a photograph. While it was windy we found the fairways generous and using the course guide we were able to navigate the course with little difficulty. All of the staff from the starter, ground keeping and wait staff were incredibly friendly and the service was first rate.
An American Resort on Scottish Links
Why did Kingsbarns remind me of an upscale American resort? First of all, the green fee is about $360, add in caddie and you're in $450 territory (about the same as Pinehurst #2 and Whistling Straits#. Secondly, this place has it all: a full range with short game practice area #very uncommon in Scotland#, Immaculate Conditioning, since it is a resort and not a club you can choose your tees and Service-orientated everything that is second to none. They even try to get corporate golf outings, how American is that? Yet, this is really a Daily Fee experience; there isn't any lodging on site. Considering that for $360 you can get a three day ticket at St. Andrews which is good for everything except the Old Course, you can figure out the Value part.
The reason why this might still be a great value is the course. It is immaculate and quite a lay-out. The fairways are generous but you need to hit the correct side of the fairway for your approach. The signature 12th hole is gorgeous as is the 15th, but many of the views are sublime and those holes will remind you of great American seaside courses. There is a proper mix of length and direction in the par 3s and 4s and 5s. The drivable par 4s are great and the par 5s will give big hitters something to think about if going for it in two. Overall, a world class course with well contoured greens which are also quite large.
Once again, off the course, everything is first class and on par with the best resorts in America. Scottish clubs are not known to be service-oriented, but along with Castle Stuart, Kingsbarns has a staff that is second to none in the country. If that is important to you, then by all means the money will be deemed to be well spent by you. As long as you are dropping the money, a second round is 1/2 the price of the first. If you are spending multiple days in the St. Andrews' area, this is the second best course #after the Old#. It will just be a matter of economics to decide if it is worth it. My favorite Scottish courses are the older ones #Dornoch, North Berwick, Cruden Bay, etc#, but nobody can deny that Kingsbarns is an excellent course. I am just not sure if I want to travel multiple time zones to pay more for an American Experience on a links course.
The hip new kid on the block in Fife
I haven't played the Old course at St. Andrews yet, but I've walked parts of it. It's easy to see why some golfers love Kingsbarns more. The sheer visual overload runs on a continuous loop. Once golfers encounter a view of the North Sea they believe to be the best, they turn a corner or climb to a new tee box and find a better one. The generous fairways make the modern links seem easier than it is. The second shots are exacting and will eventually take a toll on the scorecard. This is a St. Andrews must-do.
A great course
It is hard to believe Kingsbarns is a modern course. It has the look and feel of one much older. The course is a treat to play with great conditions, fun challenges, and tremendous views. The staff is top notch and a pint in the locker room overlooking the 18th green is a must.
This course was very expensive to play ($400.00 USD), but if you get the chance to play you will enjoy every stroke. They also give you a 50% discount on your next round if you choose to play again within the next 7 days. it's just up the road about 15miles from St. Andrews Old Course.
Great links in a spectacular setting
Ranked 50 in the World, #6 in Scotland
Kingsbarns should be familiar to those who are fans of Golf Channel’s coverage of The European Tour. It is one of three courses (St. Andrews Old Course and Carnoustie) that have been host to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship since it began in 2001. It’s a mere 12-minute drive from the town-center of St. Andrews.
The stunning golf links at Kingsbarns weren’t built until 2000, but once you’ve seen and played them, you’d swear they’ve been there since the Kingsbarns Golfing Society was formed in 1793. Even more amazing — virtually all of this property was shaped and planted by man. It looks like a perfect Scottish Links course that was shaped by nature and sheep hundreds of years’ ago. Kudos to developer Mark Parsinen, who saw some amazing potential when he first glimpsed at this land; and then realized it with the help of golf course architect Kyle Phillips. Parsinen wanted to create the perfect Scottish Golf experience. He succeeded.
Kingsbarns is one of the most beautiful courses you can ever play. Holes 2, 3, 12,15, 16 and 17 are laid out right along the shores of the North Sea and the Firth of Tay. The sea is visible from every hole and the wind it produces is felt on every shot.
The entire property is immaculate, from the modern driving-range to the brass flagsticks on the practice putting green. The Pro Shop offers some beautiful clothes. The restaurant and bar provides a perfect spot to unwind and debrief after your round. My ravenous partners swear the nachos were the best they’ve ever had. Nachos in Scotland!
The course was pristine — in as good a condition as any P.G.A. Tour course I’ve visited. The caddies were fabulous. And then there’s Kingsbarns’s Chief Executive, Alan Hogg. He seems to be everywhere to make sure everything is perfect for his guests. Alan was last seen with eight cell-phones at his feet as he took group pictures of two foursomes who just had to have the picture on each and every phone. There were smiles all around.
You will love playing this course. It is welcoming to all skill levels. Wide enough and approachable for the high handicapper from the forward tees. From the tips, it’s all the course any scratch golfer can handle. You are required to think through every shot; and there are so many options on every shot — from your tee-ball to a green-side pitch. It’s firm and fast with humps and hollows and heather and gorse.
The greeting in the Kingsbarns course guide reads: “In addition to enjoying our Worldwide Top 100 ranked course, we hope lifelong memories of our comfortable, friendly and attentive service complete your ‘Kingsbarns Experience’.”
Ahhh. What an experience it was.
Whoa baby, this is a good one
This is a one-of-a-kind round in Scotland. A modern links, it's an entirely different type of links compared to the courses in the town of St. Andrews. Every hole is a postcard -- and it's tough! Yikes, you have to earn your pars here if you're a mid-handicapper like me. Come early and hit balls on the range (yes, a range!) and stay for lunch and drinks in the marvelous clubhouse. This is a day to remember in Scotland.
A distant past yields new modern challenge near St. Andrews
Located six miles outside of St Andrews, Kingsbarns is (one of the few) and finest links courses built in the last twenty-five years. Crafted by Kyle Phillips on the site of an ancient course dating back to the late 1700’s that had been lost to the sands of time, Phillips brilliantly set the course into the natural slope and contours of the land, creating a feel that this course has been here as long as the one that pre-dated it. Discovered ancient stone-lined burn and their own surreptitious 18th hole bridge (this one near the green), linking a distant past with a modern-day challenge.
Play it! Nuff said.
Many venture to Scotland just to play the famous Open rota courses ... but by all means include Kingsbarns because it is better layout, is better conditioned, has better service and is a more memorable round than most of the Open courses! Like Royal Dornoch in the far north, Kingsbarns has not hosted an Open Championship, but it easily could, and most visitors rank it in their top 3 courses (like Dornoch) of those played in Scotland!