Kingsbarns, St Andrews, Fife
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