What's it like to play Scotland's newest golf course, Dumbarnie links?

Opening in May 2020 Dumbarnie links will be Scotland’s newest links course and after having the chance to play 7 Months before its official opening it quite possibly could be one of the best.

Designed by former Ryder cup Player Clive Clark and Covering over 345 acres Dumbarnie Links is in a word a “monster” of a golf course, Measuring from 5350 to 6900 yards it also has a number of (pro) tees to extend the course to over 7600 yards hence the use of the word “Monster,” however don’t let that scare you as the course does not play and feel as long as those numbers.  Dumbarnie has very generous fairways and large undulation greens and boasts stunning views of the Forth Estuary, East Lothian and the East Neuk.

Below is the Drivable par 4, 3rd hole.

Forth Estuary Views

First Impressions of Dumbarnie

First impressions of Dumbarnie is that it’s very special golf course, the first spade was only put in the ground in May 2018, it’s hard to comprehend the amount of work completed to have a golf course that could open tomorrow! Other than a clubhouse, course furniture and signage it’s ready for play.

The Course has a generous flow to it, all tee shots feel like you are hitting down to the fairway and or green which makes them very inviting, the greens are designed to receive the shot its intended, however for large targets missing them can be punishing. There are constant views of the Forth estuary and East Lothian that just take your breath away.

The 2 9s are very well laid out. The front 9 has 2 dramatic par 3’s which are so appealing on the eye and give you the sense that you can attack the pins, the front 9 ends with a Very demanding par 4,

the fairway is generous, but the length of the hole and the undulating green will cause problems for any golfer. The front 9 slowly builds to allow the golfer to play themselves into the round holes 1-4 are not too demanding but you still have to hit the ball into the right spots.

Key features of the Dumbarnie Course

There are 2 key features on Dumbarnie that for me stand out, firstly, the 2 types of bunkering they have opted for. The modern Eco revetted bunkers look incredible and will stand the test of time and the Scottish weather. The other bunkers are these rustic old looking bunkers with the tall Links fescues framing each one.

Dumbarnie Bunkers

The second feature is the almost constant Risk and reward question the golf course asks you. Holes 2/3/5/7/10/11/12/13/15/17 all require a decision to either take a more daring Tee shot or 2nd shot, this feature is one that almost every golfer enjoys as it is the fine line of success and failure.

Dumbarnie links makes the golfers have fun which is a great quality to have and I feel will make the golfer want to play again.

Dumbarnie Views

Above the par 5 13th which meanders between some large sand dunes with some long links grass to catch any inaccurate shots.

Holes 15-18 are set up to create that drama we all love on a golf course with 15 and 17 being birdie chances and 16 and 18 being 2 very demanding holes indeed, there is such a great mixture for all golfers.

Dumbarnie Feature

Above the view from the 200 year old dyke that wanders across the short 17th hole and is a unique feature.

With the clubhouse build started they are forecasting it to be finished sometime in mid-April 2020, the view will be over the 1st/18th holes putting green facing south.

The plan for the clubhouse is to build two half barns connected by a glass atrium, the south facing part of the clubhouse will be complete glass walls offering great views of 1/18 and of the forth estuary.          

There will be a full caddy program in place for golfers and a fully stocked professional shop to obtain some of the stunning apparel and accessories with the (IMO) popular logo.

In Summary                                                                  

It would be unfair to compare Dumbarnie to other new and modern links courses quite so early in its existence, however if you take the Golf course itself and judge on the 18 holes, it’s a very strong challenge to the Likes of KingsbarnsCastle Stuart and Trump international.

It has a mixture of the difficulty of Trump, the grand Views and big skies of Castle Stuart and The beauty and romance of a Kingsbarns.

This course will no doubt be a nice complement to many of the Golf tour  experiences we offer for golfers itching to take on the courses themselves.

Eric Walker
The Experience St Andrews.