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
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Gary Hilgers
Simply a joy to golf! Played in August of 2006. Picturesque on every hole. The caddie I had was extremely helpful. We let them play a couple shots on the back nine par 3 that played over the ocean. My caddie helped me knock probably 6 stokes off of what would have otherwise shot. I play to an 8 handicap and my first 18, I got a bit of the yips on the first 18. Ended the 2nd 18 (and my final round of the trip) with a round of 78. VERY pleased. Sure, it cost me $400 for the day, but it was a wonderful, wonderful day of golf!
January 02, 2008
10 / 10
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redman ferguson
Just played this course for the first but not last time.Fom start to finish this was an unforgettable experience,the staff could not have been more helpful or friendly.Every hole was a visual delight,every fairway a joy and every green true.In my opinion this course ranks above the old course and muirfield both of which I have had the pleasure to play recently.It may not have the history or the tradition of these courses but to say it doesn't compare smacks of golf snobbery.
November 01, 2007
10 / 10
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John McPheson
Played it Aug 07 and was blown away. Always had Turnberry and Pacific Dunes as my top but Kingsbarns has worked its way into that catagory.
September 04, 2007
10 / 10
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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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