New links course opens for play in Scotland

  • Dumbarnie
    Mark Alexander

    The new Dumbarnie Links course, designed by Clive Clark, has opened for play

  • Dumbarnie
    Mark Alexander

    A view of the fourteenth and third holes

  • Dumbarnie
    Mark Alexander

    The par-three sixth, with a view of the Firth of Forth as a backdrop

  • Dumbarnie
    Mark Alexander

    Greens are relatively flat but have subtle breaks

  • Dumbarnie
    Mark Alexander

    The bunkering is a half-and-half mixture of traditional pot bunkers along with “natural bunkers surrounded by tall fescue grasses”

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

The new Dumbarnie Links course at Lower Largo on the south coast of Fife in Scotland opened for play on 29 May, following easing of lockdown measures in Scotland that signalled the country’s return to golf.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Head of Golf David Scott said: “We were ready on 16 May but obviously Covid-19 came in and put a spanner in the works. Here we are on 29 May, thrilled to be getting open with a full tee sheet.”

Designed by golf course architect and former Ryder Cup player Clive Clark, the course is built upon land that is part of the Balcarres Estate. It features unobstructed views over the Firth of Forth and towards Muirfield, North Berwick and Edinburgh.

The Dumbarnie project began when Clark’s friend and golf journalist Malcolm Campbell told him about a site of “pure links” near St. Andrews. With his interest piqued given that a new links is a “rare animal”, Clark met with Lord Balneal – the owner of the land – and after discussions with him, Balneal leased the site for the construction of a golf course.

Read more: GCA visited Dumbarnie Links in 2018, when construction was in progress.

In Perry Golf’s ‘Greenside Chat’ podcast, Clark highlights the risk-reward short par fours as some of his favourites, as well as the front nine’s short holes. He says: “The two par threes on the front nine that point right out to this panoramic view of the Firth of Forth. Those holes are visually very attractive.

“Some of the holes, like five, are slightly inland but there’s two fairways,” said Clark. “If you go to the right fairway, there’s a great nest of bunkers right in the middle. The right-hand fairway is 50 yards wide, but it is a big sweeping dogleg. If you go the shortcut down the left, you have not got 50 yards anymore, you have 25, and that’s between sets of bunkers on either side.”

Read more: Clive Clark spoke to GCA about his design in depth earlier this year.

The bunkering is a half-and-half mixture of traditional sod-stacked pot bunkers along with what Clark described as “natural bunkers surrounded by tall fescue grasses waving in the wind.”

Clark has worked alongside Scottish architect Paul Kimber, who handled project management; a crew from Ecobunker led by Llewelyn Matthews; and the Landscapes Unlimited team, who handled construction.