Balbirnie Park - Fife - Scotland

Balbirnie Park Golf Club,
Balbirnie Park,
KY7 6NR,

  • +44 (0) 1592 612095

  • John Donnelly

  • Fraser Middleton

  • Craig Donnelly

Visit for a golf holiday at Balbirnie Park

Markinch Golf Club was formed in 1905 and their 9-hole course was located on land to the north of Markinch village. Sadly, the course never recovered from extensive army manoeuvres during the Second World War and the club folded in 1947.

Golfing interest in the area revived in the late 1970s with members playing several times a year at various clubs throughout Fife. Fortuitously, Glenrothes Development Corporation purchased the nearby Balbirnie Estate and undertook the construction of an 18-hole golf course within the property which they subsequently leased to Markinch Golf Club.

The first nine holes were ready for play in 1983 and the second nine holes were completed the following year when the club was reformed as Balbirnie Park Golf Club.

The Georgian mansion house at the centre of the 400-acre estate – commissioned by the Balfour family, designed by John Nisbet in 1777 and extended by Robert Crichton in 1815 – has been converted to a luxury, 30-bed hotel and operates independently to the golf club.

Balbirnie’s rolling parkland is a little hilly in places but never unduly so. The layout suits those who hit long and straight off the tee whilst punishing errant drivers who can find themselves playing from punishing rough or from behind leafy trees.

The back nine starts and ends with a par five and the 496-yard 18th – “Back Burn” – is a very fine closing hole. It takes two stout strokes – both blind to the hole – to lay-up before a heavily protected putting surface in front of the clubhouse. The shot to the pin then has to negotiate bunkers on the right, a large tree on the left and a burn that runs along the front of the green. A five on the scorecard here is a very satisfying end to a round at bonny Balbirnie Park.

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Reviews for Balbirnie Park

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Description: Balbirnie Park Golf Club is a true test of golf and the course is set within beautiful wooded parkland with fine panoramic views. Rating: 2.8 out of 6 Reviews: 4

I played it last year as part of the SGU academy winter series and it was unfortunately very wet (October) and not in great condition. Like many parkland courses in Scotland it's not that great to play during the period October to March due to wet underfoot conditions. The course website describes it as 'Fife's finest parkland' but no matter that there are more links courses than inland ones in Fife I still find the 'finest' claim hard to believe. The layout is nothing great although the 12th hole is a reasonable challenge and the downhill 18th is tricky with a stream in front of the green and OOB a few yards behind it but tackled as a 3-shotter it's not that difficult to come off with a par 5. The course could do with some warm-up practice facilities but there's probably not enough space to accommodate and instead there's a couple of nets set on a slope with worn out mats; could do better. I really couldn't give it more than two or three for a rating. If Fife parkland is what people want then Pitfirrane at Dunfermline is a better option in my opinion.
2 / 6
Balbirnie Park
November 22, 2015

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After my previous review (less than complimentary) I felt I owed Balbirnie Park a return visit. While I will never be a fan of tree-lined parkland layouts, I was too severe in my earlier view. There is plenty to enjoy here and an especially fine hole at the 12th with a tree in the centre of the fairway - always a feature I like. None of the par 3s will linger long in the memory but the 18th certainly will. A long downhill par 5 with a river in front of the green, it poses a real threat to any scorecard. ( It is also, incidentally, remarkably similar to the 17th at nearby Kirkcaldy Balwearie).
3 / 6
Balbirnie Park
September 01, 2015

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The epitome of dull parkland golf. Balbirnie Park may be well-presented but there is a distinct lack of imagination and challenge in the layout. Far too many tee shots are blind and there is little that remains in the memory.
2 / 6
Balbirnie Park
September 21, 2009

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July 13, 2011
This person clearly has no golfing ability or mind. If he was ever to return he should open his eyes rather than keep them closed on every shot!!!
Balbirnie Park is laid out superbly and you wouldn’t know its a relative youngster. With plenty of variation and a number of tight drives, especially at 12 and 13, and some fairly open holes it is full of interest. Approach shots into well protected greens call for careful course management and the single shot holes, most notably the 7th are good too. With a superb par 5 downhill finishing hole to a green that is guarded at the front by a burn, this course will tick most boxes except that it’s not a links course. But with a great clubhouse behind the closing green it almost seems irrelevant that the sea is nowhere to be seen!
4 / 6
Balbirnie Park
November 14, 2006

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