Kingsbarns Golf Links in Fife, Scotland, has been voted the number one modern golf course in Great Britain and Ireland by influential American Magazine Golf Week.
The Kyle Phillips-designed links on the coast of Fife near St Andrews beat Scottish rivals Castle Stuart in Inverness and Loch Lomond near Glasgow, ranked second and third respectively.
Kingsbarns has been talked about as the only modern course with the potential to be included on The Open Championship rota and it has earned lavish praise since it opened in 2000.
In 2011, Golf Digest Magazine inAmerica ranked Kingsbarns as No. 12 in its Top 50 Links in Great Britain & Ireland.
This is the latest praise in a long line of great rankings for the Fife links including:
- GOLF Magazine, USA – The Top 100 Courses in the World – Ranked No.54
- GOLF Magazine, USA – The 50 Greatest Courses of the last 50 Years – Ranked No.11 in the world and No.1 in Europe
- Golf Digest, USA – Top 100 Best Courses outside the United States- Ranked No.18
- Golf Monthly,UK -UK and Ireland Top 100 Courses – Ranked No.11
- Golf World,UK – Top 100 Courses You Must Play – Ranked No.5
- Golf World,UK – Top 100 Courses in the World – Ranked No. 34 and ranked No. 15 in Europe
Here’s Global Golfer’s short guide to Kingsbarns Golf Links:
If the purest notion of Links golf is playing within sight and sound of the sea and striking irons from crisp sandy turf, then Kingsbarns Golf Links is as pure as forged Japanese steel.
American architect Kyle Phillips created this sensational new links golf development in 2000, just five-miles from St Andrews, the spiritual Home of Golf.
Perched on the north sea coast, waves crashing against rocky shoreline is a feature on every hole where the sea is always in view.
At 7126-yards from the Championship tees, you might consider this a test of muscle, however, it was designed more to challenge decision making and intellect.
The 337-yard 6th hole is a perfect example.
You cannot merely open the shoulders. The tee-shot must carry bunkers to a raised plateau that affords an approach which will feed to the hole along the green’s contours.
Anything off-line and those contours deflect the ball away from the pin.
The 15th, a 212-yard short hole is Kingsbarns’ crowning glory.
A spectacular ocean-hole, the tee is shielded from the wind by a wood, while the ball must carry 200-yards across rocks and surf to find the sanctuary of the green.
Surely, a future Open venue.
Every winter Kingsbarns Golf Links joins with The Old Course St Andrews and Carnoustie to host the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship where the world’s top professionals pair up with amateurs from the worlds of entertainment, sports and celebrities and compete for a unique prize.
Where to play on the Fife Coast
The Fife Coast is a special place for golf and golfers have a wide array of choice to suit all budgets and abilities.
Crail Golf Links near Anstruther is the home of the Crail Golfing Society and has two courses.
The shorter and older is known as “Balcomie Links” and is the 7th oldest golf course in the world.
It was laid out by Old Tom Morris, and features several tee shots over inlets of the North Sea and holes running parallel to the ocean and the rocky coastline.
The greens can also be extremely fast and staying below the hole is a must.
The Craighead links at Crail is a much bigger test and a championship golf course designed by Gil Hanse, the golf architect who was recently awarded the contract to build the Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 when golf becomes an Olympic Sport.
Another modern golf resort is the Fairmont St Andrews Bay on the cliff tops overlooking St Andrews Town. ItsTorrance and Kittocks courses are well designed and feature great North Sea views.
A perfect end to your golfing day is to try the world famous fish and chips down by the harbour at The Anstruther Fish Bar, Scotland’s number one fish and chip shop.
For a fuller guide to playing in Fife, read our feature Kingdom of Heaven: Golf in Fife.