Posted on behalf of Phil
We headed for Gatwick early Friday morning for the long awaited ‘Kingsbarnes’ Scotland trip. After hearing so much, from so many about Kingsbarnes on previous trips, we just had to go there.
Ladybank first though, a members heathland course half an hour from Edingburgh airport. A great club with a warm welcome and a very nice track and a stark contrast to where we were heading over the following few days. Fine weather for most of the day but 10 mins of torrential on the 6th tee ended my round after 5 good holes, it knocked me sideways and I didn’t recover. Sid the winner with 33 points.
Off to check in to the hotel, bite to eat, a few drams and bed. Very excited in the morning as we head off in the sun to Kingsbarnes. As we drove in, you just knew it was going to be special. The welcome from the caddie master and staff was fantastic, everything right on the doorstep and after a breeze around the shop and a few baskets of high quality complimentary balls on the fab range, we headed to the first.
Starter gave us a run down of the first hole and off we went, a great opening hole and as we were soon to discover, a spectacular golf course. Every hole either on the sea or overlooking it, fabulous condition too. This is a course with 18 signature holes and at the turn I asked one of the caddies which actually was the signature hole, guessing it could have been any one of the front 9. It wasn’t even on the front 9…….12, 15 and 18 are the signature holes. Hole 12 is out of this world and has a pull-out in the stroke saver, showing the architects original design, to quote the great Jim Doran, “this is the best golf hole I had ever played” it could easily be mine too, breathtaking, still got 15 and 18 to come!
15 is a par 3 that plays over the water, again, mesmerising, tough too. 18 another great hole and Jim wins the day with 30 points. By a tiny margin only, this is the second best course I have ever played, absolutely stunning faultless and a course that I can’t recommend enough. It’s no wonder the Americans come here in droves. Back to the hotel for a few wee drams and selection of Robert Graves (Gravesy) poems read by Sid, for our entertainment – they don’t call us the wild men of Surrey for nothing.
Back again on Sunday, weather not as friendly, in fact horrible, but it’s pay and play, so off we went. After having a mare on Saturday in beautiful weather, Sean scores 20 points on the front nine in the wind and rain and ends up sharing the spoils with Sid. I am unbeaten in the better ball to this point (that’s my only shout of the weekend). Much needed shower and dinner at Kingsbarnes then back to the hotel for a few wee drams.
Last day and off to Carnoustie. Weather very dreich, a new Scottish word that we learnt, apparently the most popular word in the Scottish language, if you look it up and you have been to Scotland you will know why. On arrival at Carnoustie, a bit of confusion about where to park, where to go, where to leave clubs etc, so not the best start, probably due to the stands and stuff still being taken down from The Open. They tagged us with a gps on the first, so that they could see where we were and at what pace we were playing, beware all you slow coaches at SN, a good idea and again little run down from the starter before we teed off.
Rain front nine, dry the back, a great golf course, not in the Kingsbarnes league in my opinion, but the best links aside from KB I have played and must go in my top ten as it is better than Royal St Georges, every hole good. We were warned to make our points on the front as the back is supposedly ‘the toughest back nine in golf’ I played so poorly on the front that I couldn’t tell, not much better on the back, so the difficulty factor didn’t really effect me, I do think the 18th is one of the toughest holes I have ever played though, very few golfers getting on in two there. Jim the winner with 29 and despite Sid having a mare here (20), he got in and struggled to get out of, a few bunkers, he was the overall winner. Well done mate. Four very weary golfers head for Edinburgh airport after another successful trip.
I have now played three courses which I will take to my box with fond memories. If you ever get a chance, Kingsbarnes is a must, a golf course made in heaven.