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: 101
TaylorMade
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.
James Clark
Where do i start i played the course on August 9th and had been looking forward to it for weeks but it has to be my biggest disapointment in golf. While the design of the course is superb with only the 14th a letting it down the condition was terrible a previous review notes that they are losing the battle with the local grasses on the greens well that battle is well lost they were terrible!!! I played 5 other courses in the area and this was easily in the worst condition. The fairways were also bare and some of the bunkering is abit over the top typically american. Overall For £160 as the previous review says i felt more than a little short changed!!
August 10, 2008
4 / 10
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ian mcfadyen
August 23, 2008
also played this course on the 9th august 2008, the condition of the course in my opinion was excellent considering, the weather conditions and also the amount of rainfall this area in fife had been subjected to during the august month, as for the fairways being bare ! this is totally untrue, they were infact very lush similar to the parkland course we played the day before, we put this down to the amount of rain .on any links course in the past you would expect tight bare lies.the local grasses have infiltrated the greens but the ball ran smooth and true in my opinion.we very much enjoyed our day and will be back
pratty
February 14, 2009
i understand what your saying about the condition of the course but what you have to remember ,this is a very new course,just enjoy a great layout of wich will be a classic course in many years to come, and lets face it ,the welcone you get at kingsbarns is second to none
cc
February 15, 2009
Kingsbarns is hardly "very new" at nine years old, and while parts are maturing nicely, when I last played there in late 2007, I felt the condition, though not bad, was neither as good as it had been, nor what you would expect of such an expensive course
Shaun
Kingsbarns was my favourite golf course in Scotland and played it for the third time in late May 2008. Whilst I enjoyed my round the condition of the course was only OK, the greens were bumpy as seemingly losing the battle against the native grass seeds and the fairways seemed very thin and patchy, lastly this is the busiest I have ever seen the course. Kingsbarns is a great course but I left the clubhouse feeling somewhat short changed.
July 27, 2008
6 / 10
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CA
The Good Points: 1. Excellent welcome (and welcome pack on the 1st tee) 2. You really can see the sea from every hole 3. It is fairly open so high handicappers won't struggle as much as on some other championship courses 4. A very good test of golfThe Bad Points: 1. The price 2. The club house - those pictures make it look like a theme pub; 3. the huge greens place a massive amount of emphasis on your putting.Overall - very good but perhaps not quite the summer time green free.
July 21, 2008
8 / 10
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Robert Gardner
Kingsbarns Played 12 May 2008 “Kingsbarns” is a very enjoyable golfing experience and the course is certainly worth a visit. From the moment we arrived until the moment we left, we were treated royally by every member of the staff we came into contact with. This made for a very memorable day. We played the first few holes in a dull, cool morning; then the sun came out and a moderate breeze blew up making playing conditions ideal. The setting of the course, the gorse in full bloom and the sparkling sea, which was in view from all but a couple of holes, did everything they possible could to seduce us. Tees, fairways, bunkers and greens were beautifully prepared and maintained. Although the aesthetics of the latter were spoiled by extensive invasions of poanna grass, they were nevertheless very true to putt on. The course is beautifully laid out with the most memorable holes in my mind being the 12th and 15th. Well placed bunkers and undulating greens add a degree of difficulty to a course that in many other respects lacks the muscle, bite and character of a true links. The fairways are very generous, the rough, should you find any, is light and there are no real carries to the fairways from the medal tees of the kind I associate with a “championship” links course. As a golfing test and experience Kingsbarns is not a links to be considered in the same elite category as Royal Birkdale, Lytham & St Annes, Portrush, Co Down, Turnberry, Troon, Ballybunion, Porthcawl and a dozen other courses I could mention in the UK and Ireland. It’s a resort style course with the softness, concessions and flattery that implies. If it’s links golf, then it’s the decaffeinated dolphin friendly kind! If that’s what you really want then Kingsbarns delivers it with considerable style. If you want to play a new expression of true links golf, drive to the other side of Scotland and play Dundonald Links, an even younger course by the same architect as Kingsbarns, Kyle Phillips, or visit the European Club south of Dublin, Ireland. Both are comfortably ahead of Kingsbarns from a golfing perspective. As an overall experience Kingsbarns deserves to be very highly rated but from a pure golf point of view, while it would certainly be in my personal top 50, I don’t think it would make it into my top 25. I’ll go back and play Kingsbarns again in a few year’s time – perhaps I’ll change my mind then.
May 13, 2008
8 / 10
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W
You can't dismiss this course because of a lack of history. It is a magnificent construction and is truly memorable with, perhaps, the long 12th being the most memorable (the green is 72 yards deep). Throw in the good clubhouse, friendly staff, good food and what's not to like? I'll be back.
April 15, 2008
8 / 10
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Martin
I have to disagree with the previous reviewer. Kingsbarns is a fantastic golf course. For me, it did not feel contrived or over-manufactured but fits naturally into it's surroundings. I would say that all bar two (1st and 8th) are fine holes, with a number of truly memorable ones (12th, 15th and 18th in particular). It is expensive no doubt, but a great golfing experience.
April 14, 2008
10 / 10
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kcbritton
We made the trip in June of 2007. If you are in the area, make the effort to play the course...once. I truly enjoyed the day, but it felt like American golf in Scotland. While the scenery is great, I truly recall only two holes...the par 5 12th and par 3 15th. Beyond that, they all seem to run together. In contrast, I can recall every hole at Troon and North Berwick. So, play it once and move on. It was probably the most over-rated ( and over-priced) courses I have played in a long time. I am afraid with the soon to be completed Castle Stuart and Trump's announced course, my countrymen (or their influence) will ruin what is great about golf in Scotland.
March 29, 2008
6 / 10
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