Kingsbarns, Fit for King Tiger

The Scotsman
By Mike Aitken

Kingsbarns the most eagerly awaited new Scottish golf course since Loch Lomond, will attract worldwide attention this summer by inviting Tiger Woods, Mark O’Meara and other leading players to enjoy exclusive use of the links in the week before the Open.

Due to open officially on Monday, 17 July, the course in St Andrews, regarded by many as the last great Scottish links, plans to throw open its wide fairways to those golfers who prefer to acclimatize for the Old Course by practicing on a links rather than competing in the Standard Life tournament at Loch Lomond.

In recent years, the top Americans, notably world No.1 Woods and No. 2 David Duval, have prepared for the Open by spending the previous week on the links land of Ireland.

Kingsbarns believes it can aid the preparations of the game’s top players even more by setting up the new layout in St Andrews to match the playing conditions and speed of the Old Course.

“We will be getting in touch with the top players and offering them exclusive use of our course because we think it could be good for them and us,” said David Scott, the Kingsbarns professional.

“The course doesn’t open to the public until the week of the Open, so we’re hoping to let the players have the run of the place the week before.

“Thanks to the expertise of our course superintendent, Walter Woods, we can prepare the course any way they like. But obviously we’re in a good position to provide a set-up similar in speed to the Old Course. We think we can offer a special one-stop destination at the home of golf.”

Quite apart from delivering an ideal practice venue for the forthcoming Open, it is thought many of the game’s best players will want to experience Kingsbarns for themselves. With views of the sea from every hole and six which cross water, word of mouth about the course designed by American Kyle Phillips has been universally favorable.

The new links was the talk of last month’s golf trade show in Florida and has already taken 3,000 advance bookings at 85 pounds a round. Demand to play the layout is currently running 300 per cent ahead of schedule. That figure is expected to rise even higher after the course figures on next month’s cover of the American golf magazine Links.

Partly funded by a 1 million pound loan from the Royal and Ancient, which received the rights to 2,000 rounds at the course in return, the links has already been hailed by Sir Michael Bonallack, captain of the R&A, as a potential championship venue. “Kingsbarns,” he says simply, “is very, very good.”


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