Kings Park lies under the escarpment on which Stirling Castle sits and it’s been a sporting venue for Scottish Kings and Queens for more than eight hundred years. Hunting was the royal sport of choice for much of that time but golfing activity was actually recorded in 1505 involving the monarch King James IV.
Stirling Golf Club was founded in 1869 and the club’s original course was a rather elementary 7-hole affair that lasted for just over a decade until Old Tom Morris established a 9-hole layout. Willie Fernie expanded this course to a full eighteen holes in 1904, which Sir Henry Cotton then redesigned in the mid-1960s.
Beginning and ending with a testing par five, the modern day course is a parkland delight. Holes to note include the back-to-back short par fours at the 2nd and 3rd, the par five 5th and par four 17th – which share the same double green – and the left doglegged, uphill 15th (“Cotton’s Fancy”), rated the toughest hole on the back nine.
We are celebrating our 150th (sesquincentenial) year, the course has recently completed a 5 year improvement plan in conjuction with Howard Swan Designs.
Many bunkers have been removed and new ones introduced offering many changes since you played in 2015.
Would love to have you back to play again. You can contact me in twitter on @kercharoo99 I'll be your host.
Thanks for the review
The course occupies an historic site in the former hunting grounds of Stirling Castle and it’s a very busy place where you’ll come across as many non-golfers as you will people swinging a golf club. Indeed, the main notice inside the scorecard reads, in red ink for emphasis, “BEWARE OF WALKERS ON THE COURSE”. Having others striding out along the fairways gives golf a pretty relaxed feel here and it’s good to play the game alongside ramblers, power walkers and others out exercising their dogs in a very natural environment.
The course leads you gently up and around the large mound that faces the clubhouse, returning you four hours later to your starting position. Several holes (such as the 2nd, 9th, 13th and 18th) are played from elevated tee positions where you can let rip with the driver whilst others require more guile, especially at the four sand protected par three holes.
The opening three holes play up, down then back up the hill before things settle down with a gradual sideways climb to the top of the estate at the 9th, where the views across to the castle and beyond to the Ochil hills are simply stunning. This hole is probably the best on the front nine, sweeping right and downhill over rumpled terrain to a terrific green that slopes markedly from back to front, allowing plummeting downhill approach shots to hold the putting surface.
Starting at the 11th, the next four holes on the lower slopes are all solid – even if the par three 14th feels as if it’s been squeezed in somewhat as something of an oversight! The celebrated 15th perplexed me a little as I think the right hand side of the uphill split fairway is redundant but this transitional hole takes the routing conveniently back up the hill in preparation for the final downhill charge on the home hole.
The 2nd, 8th and 10th have all been upgraded recently, with new bunkers and mounding installed around the greens, and I understand this is part of an ongoing refurbishment programme that will eventually see every hole renovated.