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Central Park, New York
The Rocky Mountaineer
Johanna Beach, Australia
Hluhluwe Reserve, KwaZulu Natal
Tecina GC, on La Gomera island
Portuguese cakes, bought by weight
Kingsbarns’ entrance and clubhouse
Killeen Castle, just outside Dublin
Slieve Donard hotel, N Ireland
Nefyn GC, North Wales
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OVER recent years, the rhetorical question had been annoyingly posed to me as often as I miss putts from inside four feet: “So, you've played golf in Scotland. Then I guess you must have played Kingsbarns.”
My testiness sprang from the fact that my subsequent revelation that I had not was met with the tacit implication that I must therefore be a complete idiot. “But you have to play it,” I was told on each and every occasion. “It is one of the greatest golfing experiences in the world.”
Happily, I am now able to answer in the affirmative when the subject of this glorious Scottish links course is raised and dish out my own mixture of disdain and sympathy for those who have not revelled in its excellence. It is difficult to comprehend that it was opened just eight years ago such is the established nature of its tees, fairways and greens – even harder to assimilate that it is man-
Some 300,000 cubic metres of earth were nudged into place along one and a half miles of Fife shoreline under the guidance of course architect Kyle Phillips and owner/developer Mark Parsinen with the intention of sculpting terrain that looks as if Mother Nature was its creator. The result is both effective and stunning, a course bordered by rugged North Sea coastline where the beauty of its surroundings will captivate and absorb the golfer between shots as much as will the technique required to play each and every stroke.
Kingsbarns' stated philosophy is that the game of golf is to be played on the ground as much as in the air and the imaginative player has the chance to play the chip-
Just a little older than Kingsbarns is The Duke's Course which was opened in 1995 and this heathland layout provides an alternative form of golf for visitors to the St Andrews area.
It has been extensively remodelled by Kohler Co, owners of the Old Course Hotel which overlooks the famous 17th Road Hole at St Andrews, with the intention of providing its guests with guaranteed tee times on a championship course since the Old Course finds itself oversubscribed daily. The Duke's – stage of the fifth International Pairs world final this autumn – is less than 10 minutes' drive from St Andrews and many of the holes offer spectacular views over both the historic university town and the Fife coastline.
Given time it seems destined to mature into a course to rival nearby Ladybank, which has the advantage of being almost 130 years old and deserves its status as one of the finest heathland courses in Scotland.
It has a lineage of visitors that extends from its original designer, Old Tom Morris, all the way through Seve Ballesteros and Jack Nicklaus in 1983 to the current crop of hopefuls who face the course's challenges when it stages regional qualifying for the Open.
While my golf game is as far removed from the above-
My accommodation at the Macdonalds Rusacks Hotel overlooked the 18th green at St Andrews and surely the next-
Just along the road is the Best Western Scores Hotel, from which can be seen the Old Course, the R&A clubhouse and the British Golf Museum.
Both Rusacks and Scores offer modern-
& The Duke’s,
Published: November 29, 2008
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The Duke’s picture
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