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24 March 2020

Featured course: Kingsbarns Links

Kingsbarns has seen golf played on its Links turf since the late 17th century, with the formation of Kingsbarns Golf Society in 1793. The course was lost in the mid-1850s to Cambo Estate to help with their agricultural usage. In the early 19th century 1893 Open Champion Willie Auchterlonie laid the foundations of a 9-hole links course in Kingsbarns bay, only for the course to be lost as it was mined in the defence efforts of WW2 and was then left as it reverted to rough pasture.

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Almost 80 years later and celebrating its 20th anniversary, world-famous golf Course architect Kyle Philips designed, formed and build the masterpiece that is Kingsbarns Links.

This stunning course offers the golfer so much, from the moment you turn off the road, come down the drive, pass The Driving range & the R & A testing facility (Allan Robertson house) you get this feeling you are somewhere very special.

The clubhouse is small but huge in atmosphere. Made only better by the incredible staff members who work and serve the golfers. No task is to much for this 1st class team.

The great feature that Kingsbarns has is before you have even struck a golf ball you feel relaxed, you know you are about to embark on a great golfing experience.

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The golf course starts with a generous par 4, an almost 60-yard-wide fairway that breaks the golfer in gently. Don’t be fooled by these large fairways though, there is a right and wrong side, this is mainly due to the huge undulating greens that can have some of thee most incredible pin positions. The golfer is asked many questions, one of which is don’t short side yourself, as you are left with interesting approaches.

One feature that runs from the 1st – 18th is the number of opportunities you will have to make birdies or even better eagles! Some of the greens have bowl like features where the ball feeds toward the pin and in some occasions hole outs happen.

In my opinion it has the best 4 par 3 of any golf course in the country, and if played off white tees none of them play over 200 yards. However, if you make four 3s you will be a very happy golfer.

The feature hole of the course is the Par 3 15th
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This 185 yard par 3 over the ever so violent North Sea can play anything from a 7 iron to a driver depending on wind directing and with no real bail out left due to bunkers, rough and trees, you have stand up and play “a proper golf shot” as my last playing partner said to me.
With a 3-tier green that slopes from back to front you can be left with a slippery down hill putt. 2s are rare, 1s and like lottery wins, take a 3 and run to the 16th tee.

The final few holes of Kingsbarns are like a procession of great golf holes after another, with my personal favourite being Hole 17. This simply stunning and demanding par 4 gives you a headache. Why? Well on the tee shot you have a multitude of small and large pot bunkers all at different yardages waiting on that off-line tee shot. Once you have thread the needle off the tee you have an uphill approach to a Huge 40+ yard 3 tier green that seems to want to spit your ball off the green. It’s a great match play hole and it really does make you concentrate. Par will win this hole more than it will ever lose it.

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Kingsbarns is one of those very few courses you would be very happy to play every single day of your life and it would take the smile from your face. There is almost a romance feeling of this course and facility that will make you want come back again and again.

Happy anniversary to Kingsbarns Links here to the next 20 years and beyond.

Eric Walker
The Experience St Andrews.

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