Kingsbarns Golf Links Names Best New International Course

Golf Digest
By Ron Whitten

Six miles south of Scotland’s Old Course at St. Andrews, along gentle coves of the North Sea, carved into hillsides that cant like a massive, curved amphitheater, is the new Kingsbarns Golf Links – so splendiferous in its concept and execution that we felt compelled to declare it our first-ever Best New International Course.

Nature provided its framework, but designer Kyle Phillips (a former Robert Trent Jones Jr. associate) and a construction crew reshaped nondescript slopes to create an uncanny faux-linksland of rumpled fairways and wind-swept dunes. Phillips and co-owner Mark Parsinen conceived its near flawless 7,110-yard routing. Five holes touch the shoreline, with the par-3 15th on a peninsula. Other holes run atop balcony-like shelves, 75 feet above the beach. The sea is visible from every hole.

The twists and turns of Kingsbarns’ holes offer enticing gambles and occasional mysteries. Its greens, merged into the surrounding topography of humps and hollows, beckon bump-and-run shots. Pot bunkers, wind and the exhilarating salt-air scenery are all distractions. Kingsbarns is a rare American-designed course in Great Britain that doesn’t look American.

Unveiled to the public last summer, Scotland’s newest links is open April through November. Whatever it takes, get there. Kingsbarns is worth a king’s ransom to play.


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