Tee time reservations are now available for Dumbarnie Links, a new links course located on the east coast of Scotland that is scheduled to open in May next year.
Designed by Clive Clark, Dumbarnie Links occupies are 345-acre site along 1.5 miles of shoreline on the Balcarres Estate, which is located nine miles south east of St Andrews, in East Neuk. The 5,000-acre estate is owned and occupied by Anthony Lindsay, Lord Balniel, and has been in his family for more than 400 years.
The rear part of the course sits 80 feet above sea level and slopes down to the coast, with the elevation change opening up views across the Firth of Forth to Muirfield, North Berwick and Edinburgh.
Dumbarnie Links will not have a membership, and will operate as a pay-and-play venue with green fees set between $200-$300 (£150-£230), according to the season.
“Dumbarnie Links is a high-end public golf course exclusively for daily fee play, and we’re thrilled to announce to the public that the tee sheet is now open,” said Luke Beardmore, senior vice president of agronomy and construction for OB Sports Golf Management, the management firm for Dumbarnie Links. “Favourable weather during construction and grow-in contributed to spectacular conditions. It’s absolutely stunning. We’re looking forward to introducing it to the golf world.”
Speaking about the design opportunities presented by the course’s unique location, Clark said: “Most links courses tend to be along the beach behind the sand hills. They generally don’t have views of water – maybe only two or three holes. We have 14 unobstructed views of water, and water can be seen from all 18 holes.”
Clark incorporated several elevated tees into the design that play down the escarpment towards the ocean. And on the coast, he placed tees up on a ridge serving elevated greens so close to the water that golfers could “literally toss a golf ball into the water.”
Among its true links characteristics, Dumbarnie Links is located along a coastal strip of land; built on sandy soil, with only a few trees near the clubhouse site; firm and fast fescue playing surfaces; and traditional sod-stacked pot bunkers.
The routing is a departure from the traditional out-and-back links layout, with Dumbarnie Links offering a mix of two big loops. The bunkering, however, does follow convention, with a half-and-half mixture of traditional sod-stacked pot bunkers along with what Clark describes as ‘natural bunkers surrounded by tall fescue grasses waving in the wind’.
Clark incorporated a host of risk-reward elements into the design of the par-72, 6,898-yard course (which can be stretched to 7,612 yards for professional events, and plays to 5,885 yards off the yellows). The drivable par-4 17th offers an aggressive play at the green guarded by pot bunkers and a short forced carry over a 200-year-old stone wall. For the less adventurous, there is a generous fairway to the left of the wall, but taking that route turns the hole into drive and a full wedge or short iron.
The par-4 5th gives golfers the option of cutting off 50-60 yards by playing left to a 25-yard-wide fairway surrounded by difficult terrain, or playing to a fairway to the right that is 50 yards wide, leaving a significantly longer approach.
“We know it’s more of a marathon than a sprint, but we also can’t help but crack a smile at what’s going on here,” said Clark. “We have on board an amazing staff of world-class greenkeepers – headed by Grahame Taylor, former supervisor from The Old Course, St Andrews – supervising and executing the grow-in, and we’ve had perfect conditions for an outstanding project so far. The golfing gods have been smiling on Dumbarnie Links, and we couldn’t be happier with the results.”
Other facilities at the course will include a 6,100-square foot clubhouse, featuring restaurant, bar, pro shop and changing rooms. The building combines two aesthetically ‘old’ barns with a more contemporary section in the middle that faces the golf course and the Firth of Forth. There are no plans to offer accommodation on site.
Bookings are now being offered for tee times from May 16, 2020. For details, visit www.dumbarnielinks.com.