Image by Iain Lowe,
permission from, and images supplied by Audrey Hogg, Kingsbarns Golf Course
To view some of Iain’s work [CLICK]

Kingsbarns is testimony to something that shouldn’t really have happened, but it did. Golfing purists can be a demanding constituency and the declaration to purpose build a ‘new’ links course invited the doubters. When you consider that not only was this the intent, but that the chosen location was just eight miles from St Andrews, the task was ambitious. This course had better be good!

In truth, records of golf being played at Kingsbarns go back centuries, so those responsible for the project had picked themselves a good prospect, but when it opened in 2000 it met with universal approval. They had indeed ‘pulled it off’. The course has wasted little time in establishing itself as a firm favourite, widely acknowledged for providing a true examination of different golfing skills, and laid out in a superb setting; a masterpiece in a perfect frame.


Founded 2000
Yardage Championship course white tees 7181 yds
Par 72
Golf Digest World Ranking 50th
Handicap Restrictions No handicap restrictions apply



The Course itself

Through design as much as by nature, the course has three tiers and is laid out in such a way as to bring the wide open expanses of the sea into the players eye line at nearly every hole. The sometimes savage North Sea was used by Vikings of yore, but today it plays an active part in at least four of the holes. It borrows from Royal Dornoch in some of its lay-out and possibly even takes a bit from Turnberry too in the way that it brings tee-shots ‘over the ocean’ into play, most notably the 15th. This really is a breath-taking combination of the traditional and the contemporary.

The excavation work uncovered a burn, (‘the Cambo’) which was quickly accommodated into the design. Although it stops short of using the ‘double-greens’ of St Andrews many of the putting surfaces seamlessly fuse together in close proximity of each other and so echo something of the Old Course about it without looking pastiche.

The terrain is what you expect from a links course with dramatic sand dunes, rolling fairways, and long undulating greens. The architects were clearly conscious that one of the most damaging things that a links course can be described as was ‘easy’. They didn’t take any chances with Kingsbarns!

Kingsbarns was equally embraced into the Alfred Dunhill links Challenge in early October. Initially, players taking part in often cited the new addition to the Fife scene as the most demanding of the three. Given that the other two are St Andrews and Carnoustie this is no small accolade. In recent years however, that title has definitely swung back to Carnoustie, as Kingsbarns has surrendered a couple of consecutive course records, and came uncomfortably close to suffering the indignity of being taken for a 59 (no one wants to have that badge of dishonour carved into their history!)

You might equally be surprised to learn that despite possessing no heritage of great significance when compared to its neighbours, Kingsbarns is often invoked as the course that people most enjoyed playing once they take the time to reflect on everything. It frequently tops polls amongst American visitors, and did so again in 2013



Buggy hire, Trolleys, Caddies and Clubs

Driving Range Available Yes
Rental Carts Available Yes but very limited
Rental Trolleys Yes
Caddies Yes – gratuity at own discretion
Rental Clubs Available Yes
Pro Shop Yes


When playing Scotland you are very much in the heartland of the sports traditions. In a lot of cases this won’t extend to 20th century inventions such as buggies/ carts. You are invited to take a step-back into history to a large extent and play a round in the manner more akin to how the game was originally conceived. This is quite normal for the top courses. Kingsbarns is one of the more accommodating courses in this regard but carts, will need booking in advance as the practise isn’t always encouraged and the supply isn’t plentiful

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