Lundin is located 10 miles south of St Andrews in an historical area known as the East Neuk of Fife. The course lies between the villages of Lundin Links and Lower Largo. In the centre of Lower Largo stands a statue of Alexander Selkirk, who was born in the village but later left for a life at sea. Following a quarrel with the ship's captain, Selkirk was put ashore on the deserted island of Juan Fernandez where he remained marooned for four years. This was the real Robinson Crusoe, immortalised by Daniel Defoe in his famous novel.
Lundin Golf Club was founded in 1868 and in those days, the 18-hole Tom Morris out-and-back course, now called the Old, was shared with Leven. The Lundin clubhouse is sited at the east edge of the links and the Leven clubhouse at the west end. Play started at each clubhouse.
As golf grew in popularity, the arrangement became untenable and in 1909, the course was divided in half. Each club took nine holes on its side of Mile Dyke and then each acquired new land to the north of the railway line. It was at this point that Lundin needed James Braid's assistance to design the new holes and to incorporate the existing holes into a new layout. Very few modifications have since been made to Braid's 1909 design. Lucky Lundin and Leven Links members still contest an annual competition over the original Old course.
Today's Lundin course has a bit of everything: burns, blind drives, out-of-bounds, a nimiety of bunkers (many of which are deep and punishing), the ever-present wind and truly excellent greens. There are also many memorable holes on this relatively short, 6,394-yard par 71 layout, most notably the 2nd,3rd and 4th, which play close to the beach. There are spectacular views across Largo Bay from the elevated 14th tee. James Braid called this hole "Perfection" and we thoroughly agree – it's a cracking par three.
Lundin's short par four 16th ("Trows") was Leven's original 7th hole. A copy of this hole was incorporated into C.B. Macdonald's National Golf Links of America. The NGLA's 17th, known as "Leven", has become one of the numerous "template" holes that can be seen across several Macdonald/Raynor designs in North America.
Make no mistake, Lundin is a challenging course, which belies its relatively meagre yardage. British Open Final Qualifying is held here when the Open is at St Andrews and the East of Scotland Amateur Championship is also hosted annually at Lundin. There are many fine courses in Fife and this is no exception. There's a delightful spirit around Lundin and the green fees are excellent value too. We thoroughly recommend a visit, which we guarantee you won't forget or regret. Finally, the Lundin Clubhouse is rather good too, in fact, in 2007, it was awarded "Clubhouse of the Year". Click here for the full story.
Wow! This my 11th and last rounds in 6 days in St Andrews back in August during the Centenary of the Eden Tournament, an experience I strongly recommend to all devoted golfers who wish to to something special here … playing for “something” it makes it just even better!
After the morning rainy round at Strathtyrum Course and the prize giving I drove to Lundin which was recommended by Francisco “Paco” Aleman (ESPN’s Main Broadcaster for Latin America) where he played the Open Qualifying back in 1990. It was supposed not to be possible to play as Fridays afternoons are for Members but I just took the chance.
When arrived there was nobody at the ProShop so went to the bar and one of the guys said to me “Just go and play” but when I was about to tee off the Club Pro Ron approached to me from 18th and stopped me. We had a very nice conversation and he agreed to let me walk the course but not play it and my answer was “You are breaking my heart” (it was true, I was flying that night back to Argentina) and suddenly he said “Get your drive and hit it” … it was the perfect farewell of the trip: sunny twilight, little wind and the course almost for me.
It has a similar setting as Nairn with out holes away from the Club and then back with a forest part of 3 holes before heading back to the ocean and to the Club House. There are so many good holes that I would be unfair if not saying this.
All the same there are some to really highlight:
- Short par 4s 6th and 7th, with tricky tee shots are really good.
- Par 3 12th up the hill and breaking from left to right.
- Par 3 14th called “Perfection” is just that facing the ocean with a drop from tee to green of 15-20mts.
- Short 16th reachable but very tough to get in properly on the green.
- 18th very challenging were an OB second shot ruined the round.
The afternoon/night ended with a lonely dinner at the Club House before driving to Glasgow Airport and it completed a fantastic week of golf. This course together with Leven and soon to open Dumbarnie staying at Old Manor can be a great alternative if you don’t find lodging at St Andrews.
And this course gives another lesson about the UK: there are many non famous courses (because of not hosting Pro or TV Events) that you can play for great value, Lundin and Leven (I walked it as well as Dumbarnie) are good examples. Many thanks to Ron Walker for that kind permission of allowing me to play my 11th round in 6 days. I will be back!
The historic Lundin Links has a rich heritage, originally designed by Old Tom Morris and revised by James Braid. The course does have two distinct feels to it. The original linksland holes along the water have greater character than the newer Braid holes which play up the side of the hill. The starting hole provides a stiff challenge at 420 yards with an elevated green. The course’s defining characteristics are: 1) hidden burns that snake throughout the course and catch balls of the unsuspecting golfer; 2) blind shots, especially blind tee shots; 3) small, staid, circular greens. I found the two par five holes to be quite demanding at 555 yards and 499 yards, both playing into the wind. My favorite hole is the short par 4 tenth at 352 yards. The green is set at an angle off to the left of the fairway and really isn’t visible until you reach it, being blocked by a combination of a high mound that sits within a circular bunker and a small hill with gorse on top of it. It creates the perfect defense for a short hole and makes it quite challenging to hit an accurate shot to the green. The most famous hole on the course is the 16th hole, named “Trows”. This hole was the inspiration for Charles Blair Macdonald when he designed the 17th hole at the National Golf Links of America in New York. It is only 311 yards with a burn to carry off the tee and a green situated behind a sand dune. Balls hit left off the tee are thus blind to the green. The finishing hole is a very good one, with a punchbowl style green set in a hollow. Lundin is a pleasant place to play for golfers who are touring around Scotland and staying in nearby St. Andrews. The staff are welcoming and the greens fees are reasonable.
The mouth-watering first fairway that slopes dramatically from left to right is a gorgeous opening hole and sets the tone for the brilliant opening stretch of 4 holes that intimately hug the coastline and bring you to the end of the property. The playing conditions at Lundin were wonderful and notably superior to adjacent courses. The delightful par 3 5th hole takes you inland along the famous wall before a string of short par 4s close out the front nine. This stretch includes a couple of blind tee shots whereby you can’t see the landing area, but the approach shots are straightforward and relatively short.
The holes at Lundin are stacked alongside each other in a compact property, but it is blessed with the 12th, 13th and 14th holes which play on elevated ground and offer beautiful views across the property. While these holes are more tree lined, I thought they were a perfect complement to the true links holes. Let’s not forget the evolution of why these holes exist, so they are the best we could have hoped for away from the coastline.
Holes 5 and 14 are par 3s at the end of the property and are really the only holes that play perpendicular to the water, otherwise all other holes on the course run in parallel. An aerial view of the course will validate this routing observation. Several holes on each nine feel the same, run in the same direction and exist in a string of holes that bring you up or down the property in one big line. With that said, there is plenty of challenge and diversity to conclude that Lundin Golf Club is certainly not a pushover and is spectacular in places.
Along with Elie and Crail, it is just yet another example of how strong the golf is in Fife without stepping foot in St. Andrews.
Split only by a low stone wall from the adjoining Leven Golf Club, Lundin is an excellent hybrid of a course that crosses seamlessly between links and parkland.
The best sequence of holes is probably the opening four-hole stretch that follows the line of the sea, culminating with the superb 4th hole that plays towards a green on the crest of a hill and surrounded by a moat-like water hazard. Whilst it’s a shame that the best holes come early in the round, there’s still some real quality after this point. You’ll need to negotiate perpendicular burns and internal out of bounds, so the key to a successful round is most likely one where these hazards are avoided.
Other than the hybrid characteristics, Lundin also has some other distinctive features such as the doughnut bunker on 10 and the tightly pinched-in green on 18, although the removal of the spectacles bunkers on the 6th that provided this hole with its name and identity feels like a mistake.
The majority of the course plays back and forth along the same orientation as the coastline with only the short holes at 5 and 14 bucking this trend. Stubborn links-seekers may not love the elevated parkland holes on the higher ground, but I found them to be immaculately conditioned whilst bringing a lovely balance and variety to the round, not to mention also providing some breath-taking views across the course to the Firth of Forth. I even found the par five 13th that runs along the top of this elevated section to be one of the course highlights, as it threads its way amongst tall pines to a green situated within a narrow opening. But even if this doesn’t float your boat, fear not as the links holes far outnumber the parkland variety as the routing soon returns to the lower links ground with a drop-shot par three at the 14th.
For a reason unknown to me, Lundin doesn’t have the wide reaching reputation of other courses in the region, but surely this course must be considered as one of the best in Fife. If like most, your main reason for visiting the area is to play golf at St Andrews, I’d highly recommend finding time for a 36-hole outing to visit both Lundin and Elie. This combination not only offers some great links golf, but you’d also get to experience two wonderfully contrasting courses which will undoubtedly create some lively debate amongst your group as to which is the better.
Yet another superb links track that butts up to the slightly bettered Leven course.
Some great holes, a really nice links.
Fabulous links course been around years. Holes follow the land. Would highly recommend anyone playing in the St Andrews area to play this little gem.
My only other comment is it was a little pricy !
I have wanted to play Lundin Golf Club for a number of years, ever since I glimpsed across from neighbouring Leven Links in the summer of 2001.
It took me 14 years to come good on the promise I made to myself back then but now I’m very pleased that I have done so, for this is an extremely appealing links.
The history of the two clubs are closely intertwined and in the early years Lundin and Leven shared 18 holes that ran out and back, from clubhouses at each end of the links, and were wedged between the sea and the railway line. Starting from their respective ends the course inevitably became congested as the popularity of the game increased and the decision was made to split the original layout down the middle and for each course to add nine holes on their side of the newly formed boundary.
The new holes, for both courses, naturally had to be on the inward side of the now abandoned railway line and Lundin certainly got the better deal in this regard because their new holes were created on what was then the original Lundin Ladies golf course and occupy the more interesting terrain.
This all means that the first five holes and the final four holes of the course that we play today are part of the original layout whilst holes six to 14 are the ‘new’ holes. The current yardage is 6,371 and par is 71. There is a clear divide in the style and the quality of the opening and closing holes compared to the newer section but it all comes together quite nicely to produce an interesting and varied links.
I now have the desire to return to Leven because from my hazy recollection Lundin has a lot more character than its next door neighbour but I want to be sure.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
Lundin was the first links played on a golf trip during The Open week and was a pleasure to play the Old Tom Morris/James Braid design. The 6,371 yard par 71 links was in excellent condition and has 13 par fours with a nice mix of challenging long and short holes. Five of the holes were over 420 yards while the other 8 were less than 367 yards. The views along the Firth of Forth are excellent and Lundin was a good selection as the opening course on our trip.
The first 4 holes are all par fours that in classic Scottish tradition go away from the clubhouse along the Firth of Forth. On this day the breeze was in our face and the 420 yard first hole and 455 yard fourth hole were excellent tests. The second and third holes are only 345 and 331 yards but have many well placed bunkers and a burn on the second hole makes club selection on the tee shot critical. The 141 yard par 3 fifth is the last the old holes on the front nine where accuracy is key as the green is protected by 7 bunkers. The 331 yard par 4 sixth starts the stretch of the 9 new holes and goes back toward the clubhouse. This hole played relatively easy as it was downwind but beware of going to the right as it is out of bounds. The par 4 seventh is only 272 yards but club selection on the tee shot is again critical as a ditch protects the front of the green. The 367 yard par 4 eighth has a stream that goes across the fairway about 270-290 yards from the tee and is shorter on the right side of the fairway. The 555 par 5 ninth again goes away from the clubhouse and played long on this day against the breeze.
The 352 yard par 4 tenth runs parallel to the eleventh hole and the fairway ends about 270 yards from the tee. Hitting to the right on the tee shot is better than going to the left as the 11th fairway is to the right. The 464 yard par 4 eleventh is the longest par 4 on the course and played downwind on this day which made the hole play much shorter than the distance. The uphill 149 yard par 3 12th is a picturesque hole that is protected by 7 bunkers. When you get to the green there are fabulous views of the course and the Firth of Forth. The 499 yard par 5 thirteenth is at a high point on the course and again has fabulous views. The second shot must be accurate as large pine trees are on both sides of the fairway. You go downhill at the 177 yard par 3 14th and it plays much shorter than the distance with the green protected by 6 bunkers. The last four holes are the old holes and go back toward the clubhouse. The 420 yard par 4 fifteenth hole is challenging with a blind second shot. The short 311 yard par 4 sixteenth was drivable on this day but keeping the drive a little to the right of the green is ok. The 343 yard par 4 seventeenth is a nice little hole that favors a drive down the right side. The round finishes with the challenging 439 yard par 4 eighteenth hole with a long 44 yard narrow green and out of bounds just to the left of the green.
The Lundin Golf Club was a pleasure to play and would highly recommend it to any golfer that enjoys a classic links. Click below to see a You Tube slideshow of some pictures I took during my visit. Jim Brady
Six, seven and eight are short par fours and are real birdie opportunities. However, they are all well bunkered and a burn is in play with your second shot on the 7th and 8th holes. The 9th is a par five and is easily the longest hole on the course at 555 yards. The front nine does not play long and, provided you are driving straight, is the easier of the two.
The 12th is a par three of only 149 yards but it is up a steep hill making club selection very confusing. The 13th is another unusual hole that is on a plateau above the rest of the course and near the main highway. If you drive left you are in trouble with the fairway sloping that way and if you go right then you are either in thick trees or out of bounds over the roadside fence.
The last four holes, part of the original layout, are all par fours. The 15th and 18th are reasonably long with the 16th and 17th very tight driving holes. Into a strong wind, the burn can be in play on these two holes. The 18th is rated index 1 but I would rate it as the most difficult. The fairway is very narrow with a road on the left. Out of bounds lies just a few yards left of the green. I suspect many a good score has come to ruin here.
This review is an edited extract from Another Journey through the Links, which has been reproduced with David Worley’s kind permission. The author has exclusively rated for us every Scottish course featured in his book. Another Journey through the Links is available for Australian buyers via www.golfbooks.com.au and through Amazon for buyers from other countries.
I nipped through to Lundin this morning to take up the club’s seasonal offer of a round on normal fairways and greens followed by a bowl of soup and a hot roll for all of thirty quid. For a course that’s just been placed at number 73 in a national golf magazine's inaugural Top 100 GB&I Links chart, that represents fantastic value for me.
As ever, Lundin didn’t disappoint in any shape or form. Granted, the opening and closing four holes (which were part of the original course) are a cut above the more inland holes on the other side of the disused railway line (where the Lundin Ladies course used to be).
Nonetheless, I think the amalgamation of links with links-like terrain really works, despite anything the links police… sorry, purists might tell you. Yes, it may be the middle of winter but I’m pleased to report that it’s very much business as normal in the golfing heartlands of Fife.