Leven Links - Fife - Scotland

Leven Links Golf Course,
The Promenade,
Leven,
Fife,
KY8 4HS,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1333 421390


Leven Links is located just off the promenade, about 10 miles south of St Andrews. Two clubs play over the course, the Leven Golfing Society and Leven Thistle Golf Club. Keeping watch over them is the Leven Links Committee. The course was originally laid down in 1846 as a nine-hole layout, so the Leven Golfing Society is one of the world's oldest golf clubs. In 1870, the Standard Life Assurance Co. gifted the club a medal, which is still annually contested. This competition is now thought to be the world's longest running amateur stroke play championship.

Old Tom Morris was called in on 4th August 1865 to advise on the re-positioning and addition of new bunkers. Again in 1868, Old Tom was brought back again to extend the course from nine to eighteen holes, and to mark this occasion, an inaugural match was staged, which was won by Young Tom Morris. The status quo remained until 1909.

"Leven, a truly charming course, has, alas! ceased to exist in its old form," wrote Bernard Darwin in his 1910 book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles. “Nine of the old holes now belong to a new and reconstituted Leven, and the other nine belong to Lundin Golf Club. It is a sad pity, but the difficulty of two starting places made it in these crowded times inevitable.”

Today's Leven hasn't changed much since the division occurred in 1909. The course measures a modest 6,551 yards from the medal tees against a par of 71, but the wind often laughs in the face of the yardage figures. The best were tested at Leven in July 2005 when the course was used for Qualifying for the Open which returned to the Old course at St Andrews.

Leven is blessed with some fine holes and the first four run parallel with the delightful Largo Bay. But our favourites are the closing two par fours. A decent drive down the left of the 17th fairway will leave a short iron to the green. If you hit your drive down the right, you'll be faced with a tricky blind approach shot.

Bringing the round to an end is a truly memorable closing hole, measuring 455 yards. The wind will dictate the level of difficulty in terms of the length of approach shot. But whether it's an approach with a wedge, or with a long iron, it's certainly a nerve-jangling shot. A wide burn, called "Scoonie" (also the name of the hole) coils its way like a serpent around the front of the green, which seems to be supported in mid air by a myriad of railway sleepers. The green is positioned magnificently underneath the historic turreted Leven Golfing Society clubhouse. What a great finale.

There are many fine courses to play in the Kingdom of Fife, but no trip to this fabled part of Scotland would be complete without a round over historic Leven Links, host to Open Qualifying on numerous occasions, most recently in 2005.

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Description: Leven Links Golf Course measures a modest 6,551 yards from the medal tees against a par of 71, but the wind often laughs in the face of the yardage figures. Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Reviews: 25
TaylorMade
David
It just goes to show that you need to play a course more than once to appreciate it. The first time a played here was in the summer and the fairways were hard and bouncing. I even had an eagle at the 4th (348 yard par 4) by driving the blind green and tapping in my 2 footer!!! The course is undulating but the over all ground is flat: it looks a bit like waht Johnny Miller described as an elephants graveyard. The first time i played there was little rough and you could spray it about a bit. Second time i played it was far more lush and the rough had been allowed to grow. This made it a very different prospect and a real tough test. For me it is not as good as neighbouring Lundin but all my playing partners would not agree. In short both are good courses and a round at each is the order of the day.
November 11, 2005
6 / 10
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Hugh
Leven was a bit of a letdown at first. The weather had closed in and the course seemed a bit scrubby and tired in comparison to Lundin. In places it was showing signs of wear, and the ground staff were out doing maintenance. The opening few holes are quite short, and you find yourself next to a seaside-parking strip then a long row of portable holiday homes. Not a particularly inspirational setting. As the round went on, though, the course started to grow on me. For one thing, it is a stern challenge. There are some very long holes, especially on the back nine, with several 460+ par fours on end. The 460 yard 18th, with it's dominating burn, is a tough prospect, and I'm afraid I came off second best. I had to retrieve a sliced 3-iron from the bowling club adjoining! The facilities in the clubhouse are a little run down but the drinks were remarkably cheap, and the staff relaxed and friendly. I left feeling quite pleased with how the day had unfolded at Leven.
May 13, 2005
6 / 10
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Richard Egan
March 11, 2012
I was born and brought up at this course!, my gran and grandad were the stewards for Leven Thistle GC for 20 yrs. I cut my teeth on this course and it is majestic! More quirks than the Bible! When you've played 72 holes on a summers day you'll understand.
Jim McCann

I played in the Leven Thistle Open in 2003. Like at Elie, there is more than one club with playing rights over the course. and Leven Thistle (like Earlsferry Thistle at Elie) are the 'poor relations' who do not occupy the big, old fashioned, rather crusty-looking clubhouse overlooking the 18th green.

Instead, they have more of a working mens social club just round the corner (or along the 18th fairway at Elie) and you'll have great craic in here after your round with the locals who are only too willing to talk golf, especially with someone who has travelled a way to play.

The course itself is relatively short but definitely tight – on that Open day, our three ball took over SIX hours to complete our round – much of that time being held up, or us holding up others, looking for lost balls.

It has a cracking 18th across the burn (like Carnoustie) and it's certainly in the 'tough track to play' bracket. Compare and contrast to the Lundin Links course across the Mile Dyke that separates the courses and you'll have a brilliant day's golf in The Kingdom.

Jim McCann

January 22, 2005
8 / 10
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Hugh
It's always a joy to play Leven..not the longest course but when the wind blows it's tough enough for me. This classic links course must have one of the best finishes in seaside golf - I can't think of a better closing hole. For a course so old I think it has stood the test of time, even with modern technolgy this is no pushover. And a word about the condition...Leven was most beautifully prepared when we played it during the summer. Play it alongside Lundin, what a pair of cracking courses.
December 02, 2004
8 / 10
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David Richards
The thing that strikes you about golf in Scotland is that the clubs appreciate the history of the game. Leven is no exception and this course is amongst the best kept I have ever had the pleasure of playing. Links land is notoriously difficult to present but Leven is not only pleasing on the eye but also affords you genuine respect. By this I mean the course allows you to play your game with no premeditated nasty surprises; that said it is ready and waiting to catch you out. The 18th is a stunning finishing hole, a fitting end to a delightful course.
May 18, 2004
6 / 10
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Barry
August 24, 2009
Loved it!. Played it after Lundin on the same day and preferred it. Shot a Gross 82 for 7 under my handicap so I may be biased!