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.

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Write a review

Reviews for Kingsbarns

Average Reviewers Score:
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: 101
TaylorMade
erik
Played the Old Course and then here. This course eats the Old course for breakfast. This course if a great course if your going on a trip to Scotland/St Andrews area. Nice layout, reminds me of Chambers Bay but better. Great back nine and well worth it.....better then Portrush
October 14, 2009
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
Craig Jobson
June 15, 2010
Eats the Old Course for breakfast !!! I dont think so, How can you compare the two anyway ? they are totally different. One designed by nature over hundreds of years One designed (manufactured) to look like something it will never be, its not even on links land. You could put Kingsbarns anywhere in the world and it would just be another golf course, ok its not bad, but it will never be the Old Course.
Jim Rooney
June 30, 2010
I have to agree. St. Andrews is little better than a municipal course and if it wasn't for its history wouldn't be allowed anywhere near the Open roster. Sure, it's a great thrill to stand on the same fairways as many of the game's greats but as a course I wouldn't have it in my top 50.
Tom Kelly
August 30, 2010
Jim what are you on about???!!! The Old Course is little better than a municpal and wouldn't be allowed anywhere near the open rota?? If it is so bad, how come Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Nick Faldo, Peter Thomson, Alister Mackenzie, Tom Doak etc etc etc all rank it as the best course in the world?? Plus this year conditon wise it was the best open venue ever, Els described the greens as probably the best hes ever putted on, as did Poulter and quite a few others....little better than a municpal hey??
Jim Rooney
May 13, 2014
Nicklaus, Woods and Faldo may have described it as the best course in the world at one time or another but they have also said the same thing about Augusta National (and one or two others, I suspect). In fact, Nicklaus has often been quoted as saying Muirfield was the best he'd played which, presumably, had something to do with him naming his own course Muirfield Village. Comparing St. Andrew's to a municipal course was, perhaps, a little unfair but I stand by my opinion that were it not for the fact it is the 'home of golf' it would never be chosen as an Open venue. Almost everyone I know who has played it was disappointed by it.
Ross Cameron
Kingsbarns is a very good golf course, although i do not think it is as good as many of the others in the st andrews area. Kingsbarns is though a very challenging golf course with many fantastic holes like the par 5 12th and the par 3 15th. The 18th is a fantastic finishing hole, this course is very scenic but there are one or two weaker holes on the front nine.
October 13, 2009
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

David
I first posted about Kingsbarns on here 3 or 4 years ago. I loved it. I have played a lot of top courses in Britain and Europe and Kingsbarns was in my opinion right up there. The course IS manufactured as we know but it certainly doesn't LOOK like it. It follows a beautiful flow which seems entirely natural and each hole is memorable but follows from the one before. There are not many courses where you can recall each and every hole weeks after playing.What I loved most about it was that players of any level could enjoy it from top pro to 22 handicaper. The big championship courses are often no fun for high handicapers with big carries and a punishing lack of bail out options. But Kingsbarns has an option for all players on nearly every hole. I play off 9 and loved it but my group all felt the same despite a range from a short hitting 18 to a 6. The only thing i felt was less than perfect about the course was the greens. They were bare and inferior to the other courses in Scotland. I asumed it was because the course was new but the recent posts seem to show its still a problem and may be down to grass choice, soil and climate?
October 12, 2009
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
cc
October 13, 2009
Sorry, but as someone who has played on links courses all his life, and who sees established and shifting dune systems on a daily basis, I feel the course certainly does look manufactured. Don't get me wrong, decent effort and all that, looks natural in photographs, but undeniably the work of man. I believe it's possible to build an artificial course that looks natural, but this isn't it. At least not to my eyes. Should it annoy me? probably not, but it does every time. In saying that the maturing of the whins is helping.
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
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
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
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
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
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
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
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
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
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

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
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

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
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful