A welcome addition to the quality offering already available in Fife.

Dumbarnie Links

Dumbarnie Links Golf Club

Dumbarnie Links Golf Club

Date Reviewed
July 21, 2022
Reviewed by Ed Battye
After a couple of false starts earlier this year it was fabulous to finally get to see Dumbarnie Links. It is easy to see why it proves to be a big hit with many golfers and has debuted so high in all the rankings.

The course has some stunning vistas, loads of options, risk-rewards aplenty, varied green sites, excellent bunkering and is a case in point that a good golf course doesn't have to beat you up.

I had originally been due to play here in May, and then June, but on both occasions my visit was delayed because Dumbarnie had some problems with grass growth on their greens following an unusually cold and dry Spring. They took the brave decision to close the course for several weeks so they could give the putting surfaces time to recover for the main season. When I played in mid-July they were not the best greens I'd ever putted on but they were acceptable and will hopefully continue to improve over the coming months and years to a standard that a course of this ilk deserves (and with its hefty green-fee actually requires).

The venue opened for play in 2020 and is situated just along the coast from Lundin Golf Club but before you reach Elie. It's a perfect location - not just visually but also in terms of attracting golfers heading to Fife and also East Lothian - it was designed by former Ryder Cupper Clive Clark.

Comparisons will naturally be made to nearby Kingsbarns and there are similarities but Dumbarnie does more than enough to create its own identity.

The bunkering is excellent, bold and varied - but most importantly they are all strategically sound. The low lying dunes allow for an appreciation of the vast size of the property (345 acres in total and part of the Balcarres Estate) and the routing is very good in that it takes us down to the coast a couple of times each nine. The best routings toy with a golfer and Dumbarnie is a case in point.

The way that the course tilts towards the sea in two layers provides some dramatic views, elevated drives and there is plenty of width here too but what is particularly noticeable is the number of options the golfer has when playing several of the holes. Quite often there are a couple of different routes you can take or risk-reward shots you are faced with; heroic carries, driveable par-fours and superior lines. This is something which is sadly lacking on a number of modern course so bravo to Clark for spicing things up a bit in this regard.

As you might expect from a 21st Century course it can be stretched to well in excess of 7,000 yards from the Gold tees (an eye-watering 7,620 to be exact) but even then the slope rating is a modest 135. From either the Blacks, Blues or Whites the layout will be even more playable at 6,940, 6,421 and 5,901 yards respectively. And in truth if ever there was a course where you might want to move up a set of tees this is it because of the fun nature of the layout - allow yourself some birdie chances.

There is an undeniable feel-good factor about playing at Dumbarnie - maybe it is the dram of Whisky you are greeted with on the fist tee? It will undoubtedly appeal to international visitors but this is ultimately a place for all and thanks to the design it is indeed a course for all.

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