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The New Dumbarnie Links in Fife Has Opened

Dumbarnie Mark Alexander

The new Dumbarnie Links course (Photo by Kevin Murray) at Lower Largo on the south coast of Fife in Scotland opened in May.

It is quite rare to see new links courses open in Scotland. Access to suitable land is limited, the costs associated with development are large and the competition is fierce.

But at the end of May, Scotland’s newest links addition opened on the Scottish east coast, less than half an hour south of the home of golf in St Andrews.

Dumbarnie Links became Scotland’s 85th true links course when it opened May 29 in a nature reserve just off the coast of Forth of Fife. It is a design masterpiece created by California-based British golf architect and former BBC golf commentator, Clive Clark.

The 1973 Ryder Cup player has put his name to nearly 50 golf courses in the US and Europe. Among the most famous we find greats like Woburn in England and La Quinta and Indian Wells in California.

The video below is from the May 29 opening , where with the renowned golf writer and former Golf Monthly editor, Malcolm Campbell, hitting the first official shot on Dumbarnie Links.

Elevated tees

The Dumbarnie course differs from other links courses in that it is spread over 345 acres of sandy linksland, an area that is three to four times larger than usual in golf. The terrain also let Clark build high-lying teas up to 60 feet above the fairway.

The terrain slopes down to the shoreline in two clearly defined levels, tied tightly together. Elevated areas offer views of Leven Bay and over the 10-mile wide Firth of Forth and of Muirfield, North Berwick and Edinburgh. The course offers sea views on at least 14 of the holes. There is a total of 500 coastal dunes along the shoreline, that in most cases do not obstruct the ocean views.

“If the wind is favourable, and you play from the appropriate tees, there are three short par fours that could be driveable if you are prepared to risk what this ‘tiger line’ has in store for you. People love drivable par fours. The high handicap golfer says, ‘I can make a par here, or I can make a birdie.’ The lower handicapper might say, ‘I can drive the green and have a putt for a two on a par four.’ It creates excitement,” said Clark in an interview with Golf Course Architecture. And continued:

“In general, the course can play from about 5,100 yards, up to the back tees where you can get about 6,900 yards. But then, I put in another dozen tees, which are really for golf professionals or scratch golfers. So, if Dustin Johnson turns up with his mates: ‘here you go, here’s a golf course at 7,600 yards.’ And it’s fairly breezy there, and the fairways run quite a bit. That’s typical of links with fine fescue grasses and a firm sand base, so there’s golf for everybody.”

Read more: Dumbarnie Links

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