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
John Moffat
This a great course with breathtaking views and scenery, however, I didn't think Kingsbarns lived up to all the hype and the expectations I'd hoped for. Design wise, Kyle-Phillips makes very good use of the sea views for all the holes, however, if I was being picky about the holes, I'd say I found holes 13, 14 and 18 weak. It was in great condition when I played it, however, for me, it doesn't have the same feel to it as a traditional, rugged, links course. I've read magazine reviews saying the whole course looks and feels like it's over 100 years old, however, I found the exact opposite and felt it looked very modern, manicured and designed to be pleasing on the eye. On the subject of a potential future open venue, I can't see it happening. It's very different to the current courses on the rota and for me Kingsbarns doesn't have that same feeling of a good, old, undulating links course that we have so many of on the current rota. For me, it's not nearly as good a course to the open venues I've played - Turnberry, Carnoustie and Muirfield. That said, let's not get away from the fact though that this is a great course and I will certainly be taking advantage of the Scottish residency rate again sometime soon!!!
August 21, 2007
8 / 10
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Chris Jones
August 22, 2007
Possibly agree about the 14th hole but the 18th has one of the toughest 2nd shots around - cannot call it a weak hole...there will be more 6's and 7's there than 3's and 4's, no doubt.
David Cunningham
With the greatest of respect to the opinion of the previoys reviewer, Kingsbarns is more than capable of presenting the test required for an Open Championship. You can make Carnoustie impopssible (1999) or playable (2007). You could easily do the same with Kingsbarns. The course layout is quite magnificent. The only hole I don't like is the one the previous reviewer praised, the 11th, as I think the green is totally unnatural. 13th is also not a big favourite of mine, but otherwise this is a treat for any golfer, and has enough variety to satisfy golfers at any level. Brilliant course design is evident on almost every hole, and the wonderful little clubhouse and fantastic upstairs locker rooms make this my favourite course in Scotland - and by golly I've played most of them !! Play Kingsbarns, you will never regret it, this course is destined for great things!
July 30, 2007
10 / 10
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cc
September 28, 2007
You've misunderstood me. I don't think the 11th is a good hole, and I agree with you about the green, but when you stand on the tee, at least the hole looks natural, rather than a confection of fake sandhills. Phillips' other course at Dundonald is even worse for this. As for tricking it up to hold an Open, you would have to. People got annoyed about Carnoustie in '99 because the course didn't need to be changed to be tough. Go to Muirfield or Royal Troon during any summer and you would be playing the course as it is set up for the championship. If you need to change a course temporarily for an Open, then the design as it stands, isn't good enough. Kingsbarns is a great place to play golf, but not to test all aspects of a good players game.
colin
Yes, it's a stunning place to play golf, and a lot of fun, and the staff are fantastic, but come on, this is technically far inferior to the likes of Royal Troon, Muirfield or Carnoustie. The wide fairways allow shots to be sprayed, while the bunkering is mostly there to look good rather than impede a nearly good shot. The large sloping greens would be fine in moderation but become tedious after a while, though they are of course, the only defence against good players because the pins can be put in near-impossible spots. There are great holes , given the location that was always going to happen, but otherwise, not a great design. If only any of the afore-mentioned courses had this situation...It is very artificial looking, a Disney-esque parody of links duneland. That said the second shot into 18 is magnificent. Only perhaps there, and on much of the 11th do the 'dunes' look real. Play it, it's spectacular, but it's no championship test
July 17, 2007
6 / 10
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Mark
February 14, 2008
I agree with the term "Disney-esque" - the course is a totally manufactured "links style" and doesn't have the feel of the real links courses - ie the courses down on the St. Andrews links land, Carnoustie, Turnberry etc. Kingbarns is more like the manufactured links courses of the US (Pacific Dunes, Bandon Dunes, Chambers Bay). These courses are very fine tracks, but they don't offer the rare experience of real links golf as it is strictly defined.
dmotcm
Without doubt the best course i have ever played. The whole experience was excellent. Great course and very friendly staff- not snooty at all as you find at many of the better courses. Golf the way it should be. We had lunch in the clubhouse overlooking the 18th which was great. On the first tee the starter gave us a pack including tees, a pencil, a strokesaver, pitch mark repairer and trolley hire was free. Also, complimentary use of the practices range. Sometimes the little things make all the difference.I find it hard to belive there is a better course in Britain. Not a bad hole on the course and stunning vews. The condition of the course was mint. Noteable holes are the par 5 12th and the par 3 15th - stunning.I will definately return. Also the deal for Scottish residence paying a reduced fee of £62 each for a 4 ball is a bargain! Even if i had paid full green fee i would have said it was worth it.
July 03, 2007
10 / 10
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Mark Jeffery
Having recently played Kingsbarns with a friend during a long-weekend in the area playing six of the best courses, I left with very mixed feelings about the venue. From a golf course design perspective Kingsbarns is absolutely fantastic, there's not a single weak hole and the way in which the next hole is only revealed as you step onto the tee is superb. Great use of the coastline means a wonderful edging for a number of the holes and those that are away from the beach are just as impressive and many offer views of the sea. However, the course did not feel like a true 'links' golf course to me, more a great course next to the sea, very much like Old Head if you've had the chance to play there. The fairways don't have the wonderful buried elephant undulations or sandy nature you find at the older links courses like Montrose, and in general it feels much more 'manufactured' than I expected based on all of the previous rave reviews. In my opinion and taking into account that it had been pretty wet over the days prior to our arrival, the course was not in the great condition I expected with many areas showing heavy divot damage (a result of it's success?) and the greens looked very 'mottled', although to be fair they were still firm and impressively quick, they just didn't look very nice! I think you have to play there at least once to experience a great layout, but quite honestly I'd rather play Montrose or Panmure twice for the same money!
June 28, 2007
8 / 10
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David Davis
Played Kingsbarns in March of 2006. A trip in which my playing partner and myself treated ourselves to most of Scotland's best (big name) courses. Kingsbarns was handsdown my favorite of all of them. What a fantastic course. Take away the history of St. Andrew's Old Course and it's simply a cow path in comparison to this gem. If you are headed to Scotland and you miss this course as great as your trip may be you will have to live with the fact that it could of been better...
April 08, 2007
10 / 10
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Alex Westenfield
Played in June 2006- very interesting course with sweeping views of the sea and rolling topography. A difficult course but can be played well with decent shotmaking. Staff welcome was excellent! Definitely worth a go.
February 21, 2007
8 / 10
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Shaun
Here you go, maybe a little bit controversial for the traditionalists but in my opinion this is the best golf course in Scotland bar none.
October 20, 2006
10 / 10
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James Arnold
This course has it all!!! A mix of holes which keeps you thoroughly entertained. From the long par 5 12th which plays into the wind and hugs the North Sea coast as it gradually steers away to your left, to the challenging par 3 15th which is just begging for you to fade a shot into the water (or Pebble Beach depending on the time of day you play the hole). Having played several other well respected courses in the St. Andrews area (the Old Course excluded), I can safely say this is by far one of, if not the best course!! When you stand on the middle of the 18th fairway, having hit a strong up hill drive towards the club house, and look at the shot you have left into the green, you just think golf can’t get any better (nor more challenging) than this!! All in all this is a course with spectacular views, fantastically well kept traditional links fairways and greens that have every turn, break, hill and hollow in them you could ever want to test your putting on!! If you visit the area and don’t play at Kingsbarns you’ve missed out on a gem of a course.
October 18, 2006
10 / 10
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Carl Statham
This is a magical place to play golf. You pay a lot but the overall welcome and package is fantastic. Right from the arrival you are treated as special. The club house is small but welcoming and inside has a real traditional feel. This is all before you start to play this phenomenal golf course. Even the men’s locker rooms are a treat with its leather sofas and views from its bay windows across the course and North Sea. I do however find it strange that people say the course looks like it has been here for ever. To me it feels like a new course, one that has been designed to make the best of the terrain and view. This is no insult, it truly is a wonderful course and to be fair although a tough test of golf there are some holes which in terms of golf are straight forward but in terms of dramatic effect are wonderful. Kyle Phillips should be truly applauded for this new and dramatic addition to Scotland’s golfing history. Playing the course you can see what Kyle was trying to do, he was trying to build a great challenge whilst providing each hole with a different dramatic back drop. You start from the first tee where there is a straight forward left to right drive, then from your second shot the North Sea comes into view and stays in your view and that is the way Kyle has designed it. For example the fourth is a long up hill par four with an infinity green ………. It just seems to hang there in the middle of the North Sea. The holes that hug the coastline provide an even more dramatic golf view. The 14th is really the courses pinnacle with the lateral water hazard north sea to your left and the enormous 75yard long green (it was back left when we played). There can be few rivals in the world for this hole …….. Pebble Beach …….. that course in New Zealand ….. the Old Head maybe. If there is a criticism I think that sometimes the design has not taken the mere mortal into account. I played the 15th signature hole, the par three across the sea, with a wind in my face and the pin on the far right. The green is just 8 paces across with beach and sea front and back. That means I am hitting a green into the breeze 185 yards away and I have to stop the ball on hard green ………… I went left and three putted from 50 yards. The 18th has a similar problem, a great hole with the second shot played over the courses burn onto a green perched right on its banks but about 25ft up. This would be fine if you were playing an 8 iron or less, however the hole is 414yards. That said it is the experience and the beauty that you pay £150 for and it is worth the money. Will it hold an Open? No and I don’t think it should, it is not a classic links just a wonderfully designed coastal golf course. If there was a fifth major, The World Open, then it should come here. Pay the money and enjoy.
September 20, 2006
10 / 10
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