Top 20 Things to do in and around Fife for Golfers

If there is one thing that Scotland is famous for, it has to be golf. Just as Africa is often termed ‘The Cradle of Civilisation’, Scotland can rightly lay claim to the vaunted title of ‘The Home of Golf’.

golf ball

The game as we recognise it today was first played in Scotland as far back as the 15th century. As any seasoned golfer knows, it is a game that gets under the skin and can almost take over a life. James II went so far as to ban the game in 1457, as it was so enjoyable that the archery skills of soldiers and nobles alike took a severe turn for the worse.

The first golf course in the world and the first codified rules of Golf also hail from Scotland, making it a holy pilgrimage for golfers the world around.

In the article we will look at the golfing heritage peppered around the East Neuk, providing enough for even the biggest golf-heads to be getting along with.

Crail Golf Club

crail golf courseBoasting two courses to test different skill levels, Crail Golf Course is over two hundred years old and boasts a breath-taking backdrop.

The Balcomie boasts such enticing hole names as ‘Hell’s Hole’ (5th) and ‘Lang Whang’, injecting some local flavour into the course. Hell’s Hole will dare you to drive over the beach and rocks; with a good chance you’ll be adding a stroke to your card afterwards.

The Craighead Course – designed by American Gil Hanse, is a stunning course that makes the most of the gorgeous natural features of the area.

Challenging, but storied in history and with amazing views, Crail Golf Club is not to be missed.

Charleton Golf Club

Sitting on the outskirts of Colinsburgh, Charleton Golf Club offers a little of something for everyone.

For those looking for a full 18 holes or more, the full Charleton Course offers a challenging 71-par course. Surrounded by rolling, wooded hills and sparkling lakes, the course is a study in classic Scottish course design.

For those with a little less experience, there is also a well tended and designed nine hold pitch and putt.

The clubhouse serves a variety of drinks and snacks so just book ahead and enjoy!

Lundin Links

lundin linksSitting westward – only a stone’s throw from the fabled St Andrews – Lundin Links offers a challenging course that often sees professional match play.

With a westerly wind, challenging fairways and 71 scratch, Lundin Links is a test for golfers of any calibre.

Due to the popularity of Lundin Links, booking ahead is always a good idea. Once there, you will find an expertly tended and developed course, with the added bonus of ancient standing stones right on the course!

Kingbarns Golf Links

Kingsbarn Golf LinksRunning along 1.8 miles of stunning North Sea Coastline, Kingbarns ranks as a top 100 course worldwide, making the chance to play it a rare treat for many golfers.

First established as a club in 1793, the course has grown and developed into a championship course and co-hosts the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with St Andrews and Carnoustie, putting it in illustrious company.

Green Fees of £135 put it the pricier range, but for hardcore golfers it is worth every last penny.

Duke’s Golf Course

First opened in 1996 by Prince Andrew, Duke’s Golf Course takes its name from the Prince’s other title – the Duke of York.

An inland course just a couple of miles from St Andrews, Duke’s enjoys amazing views of St Andrews and the sea. A links course in all but designation, the course features a number of tricky bunkers and traps and will offer a challenge to any seasoned golfer.

St Andrews Old Course

St Andrews Old CourseThe big one. The course that every golfer – no matter where they live, yearns to play. What Wembley is to football, the St Andrews Old Course is to golf.

A constant fixture in the world’s top ten courses, the Old Course works with nature and a few man-made embellishments to create a challenging, unforgettable round of golf.

The large greens and almost hilly fairways challenge golfers of any skill level, with famous holes like ‘Hell’ on the 14th and ‘Strath’ on the 11th. Whilst it tests the mettle of any golfer, the views and history on offer ensure that any round of golf – good or bad, feels special.

Leven Links

Located in Fife and not far from the Lundin Links, Leven offers a par 71 course with a healthy dose of golfing history on the side.

In use since 1870, Leven is one of the oldest clubs around and is home to the oldest stroke play championship in the world. With sea views from virtually every hole, Leven also offers up a challenge with deceptive fairways and blind plays.

New Course, St Andrews

Coming back to the ‘Home of Golf’, we find the New Course. Do not be put off though, “New” is only used in comparison to the Old Course, which dates back to the 1400’s!

Widely regarded as a much tougher round than the Old Course, the New Course has difficult, uneven terrain and thick roughs that are just waiting for you to make a mistake.

A challenging round on this great course will run you £55 in green fees.

Elie Golf Course

Elie Golf CourseNo visit to the East Neuk could ever be complete without a visit to Elie and, when it comes to golf, Elie Golf Course is a perfect representation of the Scottish Course.

The course travels along the Firth of Forth, offering stunning views alongside the deceptively tricky course. Because of its location, the difficulty can also range depending on the day’s weather, with strong winds and rain sometimes buffeting the course.

The 70 par Elie Course offers amazing views and a slice of the traditional Scottish Golfing experience.

Ladybank Golf Course

Widely hailed as one of the best inland courses in the entire country, Ladybank offers amazing heather and woodland tinged holes alongside its great design.

Laid out in a parkland style, Ladybank has a par of 71 but requires an accurate and delicate game, with many of the fairways tree-lined.

Championship quality and duly recognised as so, Ladybank offers a good challenge and, as a change, has shielding from the gusts that affect play on many other courses in the area.

Scotscraig

Scots Craig Golf ClubFounded in 1817, Scotscraig is officially the 13th oldest gold club on the planet, making it as much about drinking in the history as playing the beautiful course.

Designed in 1923, the course retains a great ‘classic’ feel, with oversized greens and treacherous bunkers eagerly waiting to gobble up errant strokes.

Scotscraig – a shorter course than some, is all about accuracy and game planning, rather than power.

Jubilee Course, St Andrews

In keeping with its heritage, it only seems right to close out with another St Andrews course – the Jubilee Course.

Created to honour the silver jubilee of Queen Victoria, the Jubilee Course runs along the sea and makes heavy use of the natural sand dunes of the landscape. Susceptible to wind coming in off the sea, the Jubilee Course demands your attention, which is often hard to maintain in the gorgeous surroundings.

Alyth Golf Course

Alyth Golf CourseJumping over the border of Fife and venturing into Perthshire, Alyth Golf Course offers a classic heathland design first established in 1894.

Located amongst a swathe of other courses, Alyth is a great way to perhaps start a day or two of sampling the local links around Perthshire.

Nestled amongst pine forests and rolling hills, the course looks amazing and serene but packs a punch. The difficulty of Alyth rests on the rolling, quick fairways and obstacles, making the difficult combination of power and accuracy the order of the day.

Callander

With so many courses in East Scotland showing off the coastal beauty of the area, an inland course makes for a nice change of play now and again. So not exactly Fife area, it’s worth a visit.

In Callander, you can play on one of the best – and most beautiful – inland courses in the country. With the Trossachs uplands as the backdrop, you can attempt to build a good score on the narrow, unforgiving fairways and greens.

The 15th hole is one to look out for, finishing as it does with a breath-taking view of Ben Ledi Mountain.

Taymouth Castle

Taymouth CastleBearing the fingerprints (like so many courses in the area) of James Braid, Taymouth Castle offers a well-embedded parkland setting with tricky bunkers and water features liberally sprinkled in.

The naturally sloping features and well-concealed features call for a good touch and easing off the power. Taymouth may look beautiful, but it can quickly chew up and spit out even the most confident golfers.

The whole thing ends with the amazing backdrop of Taymouth Castle, rounding off one of the very best courses in the area.

Devlin Course, St Andrews

Another St Andrews Course, this time designed by the legendary Gene Sarazen.

The Devlin Course runs right along the cliff tops, offering azure blue backgrounds as you make your way around.

The location and wind factor make the Devlin course a study in control and playing with the weather. You will need your A-game to make sure you head back to the clubhouse with a full complement of balls and a sub-80 round score.

Gleneagles

GleneaglesWith no introduction needed, Gleneagles is easily one of the most famous and revered courses in the world.

Sporting three championship courses, Gleneagles truly is a golf mecca. Again bearing the influence of James Braid, Gleneagles is a must for any golfer passing through Scotland.

The three courses – the King’s, the Queen’s and PGA Centenery all carry their own distinct challenges and flavours. The King’s and Queen’s, for example, are much like the classic courses of the 1920’s, whilst the Jack Nicklaus designed Centenary course throws up a mixture of long and short holes, with gorse and roughs ready to gobble up errant shots.

Blairgowrie

For those looking for golf courses with a scenic setting, Blairgowrie is one of the best in the nation. Sitting at the feet of the Grampian Mountains, Blairgowrie sports three great courses – Lansdowne, Rosemount and the nine hole Wee Course.

Not sporting a high difficulty factor, Blairgowrie instead offers mildly challenging holes sprinkled amongst breath taking scenery. At par 72, Blairgowrie offers a great, relaxing round of golf in some of the best surroundings the entire United Kingdom has to offer.

Aberfeldy Golf Club

Aberfeldy Golf CourseSituated alongside the River Tay, Aberfeldy is a par 62 course that run for 5273 yards.

With a background of the Perthshire highlands and mountains, Aberfeldy has natural beauty in spades. The par for the course is, however, deceptive. The winds that can kick up can often make the course much harder than players might think.

A mixture of long and short holes, the weather plays a big role at Aberfeldy.

Eden Course, St Andrews

Nipping back to the vaunted St Andrews, we find the Eden Course.

Designed in 1914 by Harry S. Colt, the Eden Course provides a challenge for any golfer with punishing bunkers and great use of its natural boundaries.

A par 70 and weighting in at 6250 yards, you will need your power and finesse games at their best to come away with a respectable score.

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