Phillips’s 1st Solo Project Neighbors St Andrews

Golf Course News International
By Mark Leslie

KINGSBARNS, Scotland – How many golf course architects do their first solo design on true links land…in Scotland …7 miles from the Old Course at St. Andrews ? Number Kyle Phillips among them, if there be more.

Phillips , who started his own company in July after 16 years as a lead designer for Robert Trent Jones, Jr., begins construction in October on Kingsbarns Golf Links here, on a site that hugs the rugged Scottish coast “I feel humble and very fortunate,” said Phillips , whose only other design in the United Kingdom was the highly ranked 27-hole Wisley Golf Club outside London in 1991. “You have to admit, St. Andrews is the Mecca for us golf junkies. To be able to do something on the sea this close to the Old Course is a phenomenal opportunity and an incredible experience. It’s pure golf, and open to the public.”

“When I first saw the property, I wondered how the guys at Pebble Beach felt when they first walked on the site.”

Kingsbarns Golf Links is one of the world’s oldest golf Clubs around, having started in 1815. But after World War II, its nine-hole course fell into disrepair and little is recognizable today outside remnants of some bunkers.

Giving the club new life is American Mark Parsinen, developer of Granite Bay (California) Golf Club. And Walter Woods, retired after many years as head green keeper of the Old Course, is a consultant.

Sitting on 180 acres that run in a linear shape along the ocean, the new track will boast ocean views from every hole and five greens on the water, either at sea level or atop 20-foot cliffs.

It will measure 5,610 to 7,175 yards when it opens. That may be in 1999, but the grand opening is planned for July 2000 to coincide with the British Open at St. Andrews.

Phillips described the Kingsbarns Golf Links design as “modern links as opposed to the older links courses, which were designed primarily for medal play.

“We’re trying to maintain the elements of links-style golf but think more about stroke play.”

Phillips likened the design to remodeling an old home and having “functional obsolescence.”

“We still have short walks between a green and the next tee, because it’s part of the walking game,” he said. “In the old days, tees were on the greens. We will have a little more space there. There will be fewer hidden bunkers. The greens will be 8,000 to 10,000 square feet, which is large but not on the scale of the Old Course, where the average is 20,000 square feet. Fescues will be predominant.”

Another modernism will be a practice facility, with chipping area and driving range.


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