2017 was my fourth visit to Kingsbarns and it keeps getting better and better every year. It is a young course with a lot less tradition than the Open Venues, the Final Qualifying ones and a lot of other courses with less lights, but the presence hosting the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship plus a great quality golf course and 6 stars service makes this 18 holes a must play in every trip to Scotland. On our 12 men group, only 5 had not played the course and we were about not to play it but 1 month before the trip we decided to include it and it was a blast for all of us, especially those who had not played it in the past. Again no rain, sun in some moments of the round and wind which not bother made our day a great one to play and enjoy the post round lunch.
I have played it from the back, the second and the third tees and each of them has its highs and lows. This time we made a blend between white and green tees which worked perfect for a group of handicaps between 1 and 14 so we all could play the same tees, our Fourball matches and individual tournament all together not modifying handicaps.
I love the course although I prefer the oldies like Royal Aberdeen, Royal Dornoch and at some point I even like Castle Stuart as it looks more natural. But I have to say Kingsbarns all in one is something to be experienced, you are treated like a King from arrival to departure, every person in the staff is extremely kind and every detail is taken into account, including the nice welcome bag gift with a very nice yardage book, tees, pencils and pitch marker.
Playing a course several times shows you better its strengths and weak points, but also teaches you how to try and play it to score better. There are some holes where the first time you might miss on the wrong side and score might not be that high, but in others you could be inside a disaster: par 5 3rd hole is not tough, but you need to try to use the left side with the tee shot and let the ball come back on her own. Short Par 4 6th is not tough despite having a severe sloped green: your tee shot if going for it does not need to carry almost to the green, it is better a shorter carry and let her roll down the slope. Par 3 8th hole has 2 platforms and if you miss
the one where the pin is, forget the birdie and maybe the par! 11th was some kind of underrated by me the previous visits, it is a monster par 4 and extremely scenic. 12th is one of the best par 5s in the world and some kind of intimidating, but keep it right and par will come easily. Par 3 15th is the other most pictured hole and from the longest tees very tough, just make sure to carry the water and don’t be afraid to go left, bump and run may bring you the 3 you want. 17-18 are 2 great finishing holes, on the first one the tee shot is the clue avoiding the bunkers will in 18th you need not only a well hit driver but a mid to long iron to a very tough and well protected green.
The views from the Club House make it worth to stay long after lunch, there is enough beer (or whisky) to stay until twilight!
Date: June 29, 2017