Kingsbarns is located south of St. Andrews and rated amongst the best in the world. It has hosted many tour events and will host the women’s open in 2017. Everybody I have met who has played the course has been very enthusiastic so my expectations were high. I arrived at the course an hour before tee time and practiced on the range.
The facilities are good and they a very authentic bunker to practice the challenging links bunkers accustomed to golf in Scotland.
The weather had been changing all the time during the week we where there and even to the Scotts it was unusual and pretty cold for the month of June. Anyway this was luckily not the case the day I played Kingsbarns as it was great day for golf with only 7-8ms wind and no rain.
I hit a driver on the first tee and had 116m to the pin.
I came up short on my approach shot as the wind was a bit stronger than I anticipated. I had a pretty straight forward putt uphill and got an opening par.
2nd hole was playing 165m into the wind and I hit a very poor tee shot to the right of the green where I had to take a drop. I did manage to get up and down for a bogey, which was nice.
3rd hole is a slight dogleg left to right par 5 with a pretty generous fairway. As you can see from the picture the water tide was out when we played, but still gave some great views of the sea and golf course.
I hit a good drive and went for the green in two, but found the green side bunker as you can see from above.
I hit a decent bunker shot, but missed the birdie putt. I would say this hole is a good birdie opportunity and reachable for many players if you hit the fairway.
4th hole is a dogleg left par 4 with 3 well placed bunkers up the right hand side. My tee shot went right of the bunkers which was too bad.
As you can see the green has several undulations. The greens where running very true and a good pace. Good greens are essential to a good course experience and really rewards good putting.
5th is a par 4 dogleg right where you can either play safe short of the bunkers or hit over and leave a shorter second shot. There is more room on the fairway then what you perceive from the tee. I went for the driver and had 80m to the pin. Didnt really hit my second close enough for a realistic birdie, but still a good par.
6th hole is a shot par 4 with a large narrow green protected by bunkers and mounts. Risk/reward hole and it was playing 231m to the pin. I was driving well so decided to go for it.
I carried the green but rolled over into the fringe. I was hoping for a birdie, but hit a bad first putt and had to settle for par.
7th is ranked as the hardest hole on the course. A 385m par 4 where the best aim from the tee is up the right hand side so you avoid the ditch on the left hand side which leaves a difficult shot the green.
I missed my drive left of the fairway, but no too bad of a lie. Hit it into one of the green side bunkers and got a bogey.
8th is a good looking par 3 with different levels on the green. The pin was in the front and requires an accurate shot to get close. My tee shot was very poor and was over the right hand bunker with a difficult chip. I hit a decent flop shot and managed to hole the putt for a really good save.
9th hole has a large fairway, but preferably hit down left hand side to avoid any trouble.
I hit a solid drive and was left with 180m to the green. Came up a little short, but got a birdie anyway. Nice way to finish the front nine which I played in 37 shots.
After a bite to eat from the halfway house it was time for the back nine. I had really enjoyed the first nine holes and was already in love with the course. The 10th is a short par 4 with a narrow landing area if you hit driver. I decided for driver and hit a good one, but I would play more safe from the tee next time as the landing area is quite small.
The 10th green is big and I still manage to miss it even though I only had 90m – bad bad shot which resulted an opening bogey.
11th is quite a nice par 4 and a little tree lined. I hit the left hand bunker from the tee, but hit a good approach shot that came up just short of the green. Made par.
After the first 4 holes I texted one of my Scottish friends to tell him that I really liked the course already and all he texted back was – wait till you get to 12… and not surprisingly it is a beautiful hole. It is rated the best par 5 in Scotland and as I havent played them all it is difficult to judge, but I can say for sure it is a good looking and well designed hole.
I hit a solid drive that went a bit too far right, but was playable from the rough. I had 224m the pin and convinced myself that I did not come to Scotland to lay up. Hit a good 3 wood just short of the green which I converted to a birdie.
13th is a short, but yet tricky little par 3. Well protected by bunkers and basically you just want to be on the green. I didn’t manage and got a bogey.
A really good par that requires a well placed tee shot. I was between driver and 3 wood and even though I had been driving well I mistakenly went for the 3 wood and ended up in the bunker – see below. Lesson learned.
It was a good lie and plenty of room, so no big issue and still got a par.
Definitely the best par 3 on the course and the pin was close to the front with wind against us. A hit an 8 iron and had a good birdie chance that was missed.
A pretty wide fairway with good space up the left hand side.
I went for the green in two, but just rolled off to the right and actually into the water. There is hardly any water hazards on the course, but this one was enough for me to find. I would still go for it again and still had a good par opportunity that I missed.
17th was to me one of the most difficult par 4s. It was playing uphill and into the wind with a lot of bunkers in play from the tee.
My drive was okay even though in the semi rough. I hit a 5 iron to the middle of the green and made par
18th is a blind tee shot up the hill. Not a very long hole and not the best on the course or as a finishing hole.
It is a nice approach shot with water ditch in front and looks over the sea. The green is quite big and even though I hit a poor drive it was still a relatively straight forward hole.
I shot 75 and was very pleased with how I played. The conditions could not have been better and I think it can be a completely different challenge with stronger winds.
The course is just magnificent and high on my list of top courses. I will definately be back again and will look forward to maybe plaing it from the back tees if the conditions are reasonable. A must play course if you are in the area.