Our Top 10 Links of Fife
The Kingdom of Fife is affectionately called the Home of Golf to honor its ties to the origins of the game. The area’s North Sea shoreline is littered with some of the world’s oldest golf clubs and, in fact, you can fill just about any length itinerary with courses that have been around for more than 100 years. However, recent modern developments have elevated the area to new heights. Here are our favorite Fife links:
1. St. Andrews’ Old Course
As a 30-time Open Championship host and universally considered the Home of Golf, the Old Course in St. Andrews needs no introduction. Champions like Nicklaus and Woods have strolled across the hallowed Swilcan Bridge en-route to victory, meaning the course will forever be etched in history.
Just down the road from St. Andrews, Kingbarns sits on a site seemingly made for golf. The tilted lay of the land opens up views across the North Sea from just about every hole and you would never know it just opened in 2000 given how seamlessly the routing fits the landscape. Already host to a Women’s British Open and the annual Alfred Dunhill Links, the legend of Kingsbarns will surely continue to grow.
Elie Links, home to the Golf House Club, has a history that dates back to the 18th century (if not earlier!), making it one of the world’s oldest golf clubs. Despite an unusual and monotonous scorecard with sixteen par 4s and two par 3s, the course is exciting, with coastal views from below seaside cliffs and a most unusual start at the blind first, where an old submarine periscope is used to ensure the fairway is clear.
4. St. Andrews’ Castle Course
The newest of the seven courses owned and operated by the Links Trust, the Castle Course is also the most scenic. The clifftop views from high above the St. Andrews town center standout, but so to do the green complexes, which are unlike any you have ever putted on, guaranteed.
5. St. Andrews’ New Course
Although newer than the neighboring Old Course, the title of New Course is deceiving since Tom Morris opened the course in 1895. A favorite of the locals, the course is narrower and more well-defined than the adjacent Old and probably a tougher test.
Lundin is quite literally a tale of two nines: A railway line dissects nine original holes along the Forth of Firth which date to 1868, from nine parkland-esque holes which were added when the club split from neighboring Leven Links in 1909. The resulting layout offers great variety and championship qualities, as evidenced by the club regularly playing host to Final Open Qualifying.
7. Crail’s Balcomie Course
Crail is one of the world’s oldest golf clubs and its Balcomie Course has aged like fine wine. The par 69 seaside layout measures less than 6,000 yards but with ever-present winds, the Old Tom Morris design is no walkover.
An epitome of a traditional Scottish golfing links, little has changed at Leven since 1909 when a split from neighboring Lundin Golf Club forced a course redesign. The original holes nearest Largo Bay standout and especially the iconic 18th, which plays across the intimidating Scoonie Burn in the shadow of the club’s historic clubhouse.
9. St. Andrews’ Jubilee Course
The Jubilee Course shares a strip of links land with the neighboring New and Old Courses, and actually sits closest to St. Andrews Bay among the three. The narrow fairways and relatively small greens (at least compared to its neighbors) provide a stern test that might be the toughest in town.
Honestly the newest addition to the Fife golfing landscape (having just opened in 2020!) should probably be a little higher on this list but we will let it earn its ranking in time. Dumbarnie’s distinctly modern design is a great complement to the collection of historic, classical courses that dot the nearby landscape. The excitement of persistent risk-reward decisions and the stunning views across the Firth of Forth to East Lothian will leave golfers wanting more.