Kingsbarns - Fife - Scotland

Kingsbarns Golf Links,
Kingsbarns,
St Andrews,
Fife,
KY16 8QD,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1334 460860

  • Golf Club Website

  • 7 miles SE of St Andrews

  • Course closed Dec-Mar – contact in advance


According to golf historian Bobby Burnet, golf at Kingsbarns dates back to 1793. A nine-hole golf course once played over part of the current layout. The “nine-holer” was commandeered by the military at the outbreak of the Second World War because they felt that the beach at Kingsbarns was an invasion risk. The golf course disappeared until American architect Kyle Phillips came along at the close of the 20th century.

Phillips studied various courses, including Royal Dornoch, to ensure that the end design would look natural. The earthmovers then rumbled in and shifted hundreds of thousands of tonnes of earth to create the moonscape that is now Kingsbarns.

The course opened in July 2000 to rapturous applause and the layout appears so natural that you would think that it had been there for years.

One of the many delights of Kingsbarns Golf Links is that you can see the North Sea from virtually every part of the course. What’s more, it has its own burn (the Cambo), which was uncovered during all that earth moving. The terrain is perfect for golf, rippling fairways, humps and hollows.

“As a piece of construction work, Kingsbarns is one of the best projects I’ve ever seen,” commented Tom Doak in The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses . “It started out as a flat field above a small bowl of linksland, but I wouldn’t have believed that if I hadn’t seen it for myself, because the reshaping and grassing of the landscape was so well done.

The routing of the holes takes excellent advantage of the 2 km of sea frontage, though more for views than as a hazard, because the golf had to defer to the coastal walking paths. For me, the 4th and 5th holes on the upper deck may be the best of the bunch, using the edge of the plateau in their strategy and the sea beyond to intimidate. The overlap of fairways between the 6th and 7th holes and the incoming 16th and 17th is brilliant in blurring the edges of the work and helping to make the course feel more natural.”

Situated just six miles from St Andrews, Kingsbarns is an important addition to the ancient links courses in this area. It's one of only a few true links courses to be built recently along Scotland’s coastline, so it is just as well that this course is a cracker and deserves its status as one of the greatest links courses in the world.

Kingsbarns co-hosts the annual Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on the European Tour, together with the Old Course at St Andrews and the Championship course at Carnoustie. The tournament is played as a four-day pro-am, with each team comprising one amateur and one professional. A 54-hole cut is made after teams have played each of the three venues, with the leading professional players and teams advancing to the final round at St Andrews.

The club also hosted the Ricoh Women’s British Open (now named the AIG Women’s Open) in 2017, when South Korea’s In-Kyung Kim won the event with an 18 under par four round total of 270, beating her nearest rival Jodi Ewart Shadoff by two strokes.

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Reviews for Kingsbarns

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Description: One of the many delights of Kingsbarns Golf Links is that you can see the North Sea from virtually every part of the course. Rating: 8.8 out of 10 Reviews: 98
TaylorMade
Graham Taylor
Good course, very well designed with some lovely holes. Give it a few more years and it will be great - the problem at the moment is that some of it looks a bit manufactured and I am a lover of natural golf. Fun to play with some holes a real challenge.
September 07, 2009
6 / 10
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Derek
September 08, 2009
I too love natural golf but confess to always being a bit surprised at the criticism that Kingsbarns is very manufactured. I think the wee par three downhill (8th?)is a bit silly and there's a couple of later greens (possibly 10 and 11) that are very, very steeply banked but apart from that i don't really get the "manufactured" sense that others complain of. Shame the greens seem to be sufferring as Kingsbarns is a wonderful place, i think.
jonathan
We played Kingsbarns on the 15th May 2009, as part of a three day trip to St.Andrews.The views are stunning and there are many well designed and constructed holes. However the condition of the greens totally spoilt the enjoyment of the day. They are obviously diseased at the moment and have little grass covering and numerous bare patches.I would suggest that any perspective visitors check the condition before booking.
May 17, 2009
4 / 10
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S McEwen
May 27, 2009
The greens have been treated for weed grasses such as poa annua and the ercovery time has taken longer than hoped. Cold east winds during the early part of May knocked them back but with the warmer weather arriving now there is an expectancy that conditions shall improve very soon.
alan ritchie
played this twice now, last time on a glorious summer day and although coming on the losing side i have to say its between this and turnberry for my number 1.every hole makes you think and positioning off the tee can make a huge difference. you can see how much thought has been put into the construction of each hole. the views are sublime and its difficult to pick a favourite hole because they are all magnificent! have to note however that after walking round castle stuart kingsbarns may soon be surpassed by that jewel!
February 17, 2009
10 / 10
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Jim McCann
February 18, 2009
Having been fortunate enough to play a preview round in the Autumn of 2008, I can only agree that Mark Parsinen's new Castle Stuart course might well be capable of the unthinkable - putting Kingsbarns in the shade!!!
RichardW
for shotmaking this is an excellent course, due to the length they have naturally incorporated into the hole designs. the disappointment was the greens. only about 3-4 are links style. the designers didn't have the courage to make subtle undulating greens, and instead went for dramatic slopes based it seems on some kind of quadrant formula for different pin positions. such greens make it an effective "augusta-on-sea", but not the great links it had/has the potential to be. playing a round of golf here was enjoyable, fair enough. but rating it as high as 6th - SIXTH! - is utterly absurd. there are SO MANY amazing courses (links and inland) better than this. i would also reverse the nines. the 18th is a very weak finishing hole with a one-dimensional approach shot, but the ninth is one of the strongest holes on the course.
December 10, 2008
6 / 10
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Jim McCann
December 12, 2008
I really cannot believe that anyone could call the 18th at Kingsbarns "one dimensional" as I think it's one of the best closing holes in all of Scottish golf!!! How can all that trouble in front of and below the green be disregarded so casually?
cc
December 13, 2008
I think what he means, Jim, is that you HAVE to go for the carry at the 18th, there is no lay-up alternative, and I know many people who don't like the hole because of this. Ironically I feel that the 18th is a great finishing hole, but otherwise I agree that this is very overrated course from a purely golfing perspective. Great location though.
david russell
May 18, 2013
Why oh why can't everyone just cut the crap and ask themselves a very simple question. What is actually wrong with any one of these golf holes? They all- every one of them look stunning from the tee and only get better as you walk through them. It is a truly inspired golf course and should be judged on its merits, which are plenty. The topography is amazing and I don't care a damn if it's man made. The welcome is friendly, normal and you're custom is valued which is a helluva lot more than I can say for many of our more 'traditional' establishments. It's high time some people just got over themselves and a few hire bags sitting outside the clubhouse!
Alex Westenfield
Played in Aug. 2008. Incredible views most everywhere, especially where there are broad views on the north part of the course, it seems to stretch forever! Especially in the wind, you can create some interesting shots and use the contours of the land. Excellent clubhouse food and welcoming experience.
December 05, 2008
10 / 10
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Scott
Kingsbarns is a wonderful golf course. I played here on a cold, wet and very windy day in October and absolutely loved it. The course will test all aspects of your game with accurate shots off the tee being a must for opening up the narrow green entrances. The putting surfaces are huge (and fast), so you will need to bring your ‘A’ game with the putter to score well.This course is all about the Sea views and, for me; the standout holes are among those which hug the shoreline. The 3rd is a fairly short par 5 but is superbly protected by a huge riveted bunker to the front right of the green. The 12th is simply magnificent. A brute of a par five with the beach sucking your ball towards it all the way down the left hand side, and once on the green you may still be faced with a 70 yard putt! The 15th is an exceptional par three, with that treacherous carry over beach and rocks not for the faint hearted. The 16th and 17th , as well as having the crashing waves fighting for your attention on the right, have a scattering of devilishly positioned bunkers all the way down the fairways ready to punish the less thoughtful of tee shots or approaches.The condition of the course, although not absolutely perfect, was good for the time of year (and especially considering the weather experienced here over the whole season) so no complaints from me on that front.I was particularly impressed with the friendliness of the staff and quality of service provided in the cosy clubhouse. All in all a brilliant experience and, considering the reduced green fee for Scottish residents, not too hard on the pocket either.
November 06, 2008
10 / 10
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Petter Claesson
Played Kingsbarns for the 2nd time this last week and I must say that it is probably among the top 3 courses I have played if not THE best. It is just brilliant and there are no bad holes. We also had caddies this time which we did not have the first time. And they were also just brilliant. I might upset some people but in my mind Kingsbarns is the best course in the St Andrews area.
October 16, 2008
10 / 10
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Steve Clark
Interesting to see some of the opinions coming in from some people.The term manufactured seems to come up quite often. But you know what? I have played loads of courses which follow the natural terrain and gernerally they are boring, bland and not worth playing!I think this is a majestic course, and I rate it as my number 1. Hole 12 is one of my favourites anywhere, a huge par five which curves around the bay, fantastic views! All the par 3s are good too, and they avoid the problem that many new courses have where you get long par 3s where your average player has to hit a three wood to reach the green.
September 16, 2008
10 / 10
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Moreski
September 18, 2008
You can get a bull-dozer and a shed load of top soil and manufacture any golf course, pretty much anywhere (ie Dubai) but surely there is something spectacular/beautiful about a designer's ability to utilise the natural terrain. Have you been to Royal County Down for example. Boring??? I also quite like the different challenge offered by a long par 3. It's one of the few times in a round of golf where your tee shot with a 3 wood or even driver requires absolute accuracy in order to have a chance of scoring which is a completely different scenario to trying to find the fairway/miss the bunkers.
Michal
One of the most beautiful courses in the world. In my view in terms of scenic beauty it even beats Turnberry. Ok, some people are whining that it's not "true links". So what? Even if it's true, I really don't care. The fact is that it's one of the greatest courses in the world "real links" or not. If it really bothers you that much imagine that you're in the US, play this gem, and if you're bothered by its supposed "unnatural looks" go to Carnoustie (which by the way is also a great course, albeit for different reasons) on the next day to play some "true links".
September 10, 2008
10 / 10
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gary tee
I played the course in early august and if this is the 15th best course in the world i'm tiger woods the design is good if you like american design but this is not proper links golf! there will never be an open here! It also seemed to be overplayed i saw a group of muppets play down 18 and they had 15-20 shots no joke they let anybody on! $$$$$ Having played the old course and murifield this is not in the same breath , i also played elie and lundin the same wkend and the condition of both courses was far better! Kingsbarns does look special from afar and the service from the staff is also special but the condition lets it down! The Greens need digging up and starting again it was a lottery!
September 01, 2008
4 / 10
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Jim Rooney
May 13, 2014
I hate to break it to you but Kingsbarns isn't alone in letting anyone play the course. Turnberry, Carnoustie, St. Andrew's, etc are all happy to take your money no questions asked.