First tee

Dum­barnie is just round the Fife coast from St An­drews and is due to open in 2020

Today's Golfer (UK) - - CONTENTS -

In­clud­ing a look at the brand new links course be­ing built in Scot­land.

Anew £11 mil­lion links course just around the coast from the Home of Golf is near­ing com­ple­tion as it prepares for its pub­lic un­veil­ing in sum­mer 2020.

The spec­tac­u­lar Dum­barnie Links, part of the 5,000-acre Bal­car­res Es­tate on Fife’s south­ern coast­line, has been five years in the mak­ing, and is a dream come true for its de­signer, for­mer Ry­der Cup player Clive Clark.

He told TG: “How many ar­chi­tects get an op­por­tu­nity to de­sign a gen­uine links course on the water? Very few. If you count the out­stand­ing links in the world, you’re prob­a­bly look­ing at around 40.

“I’m very ex­cited. Though I al­ways felt this course was go­ing to turn out re­ally well, it has ex­ceeded my ex­pec­ta­tions. It’s on 340 acres of gen­uine links land – you can get two golf cour­ses com­fort­ably on that!”

Like many Scot­tish links, Dum­barnie is sur­rounded by spec­tac­u­lar views, which stretch for 10 miles and over­look

the Firth of Forth south to­wards Muir­field. It also helps that the course is split be­tween two lev­els and con­nected by an es­carp­ment.

“The top level is about 100ft above sea level, while the larger coastal plains are fairly flat next to the dunes,” ex­plains Clark. “Be­cause of the high ground on sev­eral holes, you play from el­e­vated tees with a drop of 5060ft to fair­ways be­low, point­ing right out into the Firth. Not many links have that as­pect.

“It’s just a gor­geous site and the dunes that we’ve built make ev­ery hole pretty much in­di­vid­ual so that when you do play them, you don’t see many other holes, if any.”

Dum­barnie will be open to all com­ers, ad­mit­tedly for a “high-end daily fee” sim­i­lar to nearby Kings­barns. It may also, one day, stage big tour­na­ments.

Clark added: “I’ve put in 13 pro­fes­sional tees mak­ing it 7,600 yards in case Dustin Johnson brings a four­ball down. It gives us flex­i­bil­ity.”

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