Steve Pike Anywhere: Dumbarnie Links in Scotland

Dumbarnie Links in Fife, Scotland is set to open May 16, and it might just have to be added to your Scottish golf bucket list according to New England dot Golf's globe-trotting travel writer Steve Pike.

FIFE, Scotland – Tee time reservations are now available for starting times beginning May 16, 2020, at the highly-anticipated Dumbarnie Links, a new true “links’’ golf course located here on Scotland’s East Coast in the Kingdom of Fife on the historic north shore of the Firth of Forth.

“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. “Favorable 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.”

Clive Clark – Dumbarnie Links golf course designer who was born and raised in England – created the golf course on 345 acres along 1.5 miles of shoreline on the Balcarres Estate, owned and occupied by Anthony Lindsay, Lord Balniel. The 5,000-acre Balcarres Estate has been in his family for more than 400 years.

The back of the site sits 80 feet above sea level and slopes down to the coast. The elevation change opens up views spanning across the Firth of Forth to Muirfield, North Berwick and Edinburgh. A series of 500 coastal dunes located along the beach add to the links-style ambience without obstructing the ocean views.

“Most links courses, if you think of the old traditional courses where they play The Open Championship, tend to be along the beach behind the sand hills,’’ said Clark, a former Ryder Cup player who has designed more than 35 courses in the U.S. and Europe. “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.”

Golf Course Architect Clive Clark has earned several awards while designing 30 courses in Europe and the United States, including Belgrade Lakes in Belgrade, Maine.

The routing is a departure from traditional links courses. That is, instead of the traditional out-and-back layout, Dumbarnie Links is a mix of two big loops with elevated tees facing into the Firth of Forth. The bunkering, however, does follow convention with 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 incorporated a host of risk-reward elements into the design of the par-72, 6,898-yard (Black tees) golf course. For example, the drivable par-4 17th hole offers an aggressive play at the green guarded by pot bunkers and a short forced carry over a 200-year-old stone wall.

The par-4, 5th hole gives golfers the option of cutting off 50 to 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, and we’ve had perfect conditions for an outstanding project so far. The Golf Gods have been smiling on Dumbarnie Links, and we couldn’t be happier with the results.”

Hotel lodging is available throughout the St Andrews area, including The Old Course Hotel, Rusacks and The Fairmont, St. Andrews. There are also specialty old manors and other accommodations sprinkled throughout the local area, such as the Old Manor Hotel, Kilconquhar Castle Resort and rental cottages in the nearby fishing villages of St. Monans and Elie.

Steve “Spike” Pike is a lifelong journalist whose career includes covering Major League Baseball, the NFL and college basketball. For the past 26 years, Spike has been one of the more respected voices in the golf and travel industries, working for such publications as Golfweek, Golf World and Golf Digest for The New York Times Magazine Group. In 1998, Spike helped launch the web site for the PGA of America. As a freelance travel and golf writer, Spike’s travels have taken him around the world. He has played golf from Pebble Beach to St. Andrews, walked the Great Wall of China, climbed an active volcano in the Canary Islands, been on safari in South Africa and dived with sharks off Guadalupe, Baja California. He lives in Delray Beach, Fla, and can be reached at

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