Kings­barns, St An­drews, Fife

Golf World (UK) - - PLAY -

When spo­ken of in the same breath as St An­drews’ Old and Carnoustie’s Cham­pi­onship course, any other lay­out in the land would have un­der­stand­able feel­ings of in­fe­ri­or­ity. And yet when the de­ci­sion was made to launch the Al­fred Dun­hill Links Cham­pi­onship in 2001, the de­ci­sion to in­clude Kings­barns as one third of this holy trin­ity was a no-brainer, de­spite it hav­ing only opened for busi­ness the pre­vi­ous year.

This is the only Scot­tish course to be built on linksland in more than 70 years, but that doesn’t mean golf is new to Kings­barns. Its golf­ing his­tory dates back to the eighth decade of the 18th cen­tury. Around about the same time the con­sti­tu­tion of the United States was be­ing drafted, the Mer­chants and Lairds of Kings­barns were form­ing the Kings­barns Golf­ing So­ci­ety. Since 1793, golf has been played here, over some of the most spec­tac­u­lar land on the planet.

A land-grab­bing lo­cal farmer and the out­break of the Sec­ond World War brought an end to their fun, un­til Kyle Phillips reimag­ined the links at the dawn of the 21st Cen­tury. The rest is mod­ern his­tory.

In cre­at­ing this holy tri­umvi­rate for the Al­fred Dun­hill Links, ge­og­ra­phy un­doubt­edly played a part. Kings­barns lies seven miles from St An­drews and 30 from Carnoustie, mak­ing travel between the three no is­sue for the fid­gety celebri­ties and pros. But qual­ity was also a key fac­tor, and Kings­barns has no weak link.

Ranked 6th in our most re­cent Top 100 list of Great Bri­tain and Ire­land, Kings­barns, we noted, is “one of the finest mod­ern-day de­signs in the world.”

It’s easy to see why. The ter­rain is God-given for golf, the rip­pling fair­ways full of humps and hol­lows and with al­most ev­ery hole boast­ing a view of the North Sea. As we said: “It takes you on a won­der­ful jour­ney along a glo­ri­ous stretch of coast­line.”

It’s no stretch to sug­gest it is the jour­ney of a life­time.

Green fee: £268. The Al­fred Dun­hill Links Cham­pi­onship, Oct 4-7. www.kings­barns.com

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