Kingsbarns Golf Links has recorded an unprecedented leap in one of golf’s most respected course rankings. The significant move, which resulted in the renowned European Tour venue jumping 10 places and entering Golf World’s top 10, firmly establishes the North East Fife course as one of the UK’s must-play golfing venues.
The impressive hike is published in the July issue of the magazine which features the listing in a dedicated golf travel supplement. It is also the first time the Top 100 Golf Courses in Britain & Ireland directory has been produced using a modified set of criteria and a revised, more transparent marking system.
“Kingsbarns has had a strong presence in the Top 100 since it became one of the list’s highest-ever entries immediately after it opened,” explained Chris Bertram, Golf World’s Top 100 editor. “There has always been a great deal of fondness for the links, with plenty among the panel eager to see it rise into the top 10.”
He continued: “One of the benefits of the newly-adopted marking system is its ability to pinpoint themes more accurately. Kingsbarns scored predictably highly in the aesthetics category but also in terms of its overall design and memorability. For more than one panellist, it was in their top three and its entry into the top 10 feels like a move that will become established rather than fleeting.”
Kingsbarns, which has co-hosted the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship for over a decade and will stage the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2017, has become a firm favourite among both panellists and some of the world’s greatest golfers. Three-times Major winner Rory McIlroy described it as “a great golf course”, while Colin Montgomerie said “all 18 holes at Kingsbarns are wonderful”.
This latest commendation detailed in the biennial poll is particularly noteworthy as it not only represents a 10-position jump but also propels the links into the hallowed surroundings of the top 10 best courses in Britain and Ireland. As Kingsbarns chief executive Alan Hogg pointed out, the move is especially significant given the calibre of courses it joins.
“We are delighted to be recognised in such a prestigious list with some of the very best golf courses in the world. I think it is especially significant that we moved so many places within the top 20 itself,” he said. “To rise up so far in one edition represents a remarkable endorsement from the highly experienced and knowledgeable Golf World panellists. It’s not something we take lightly.”
Although the course and the facilities that surround Kingsbarns have remained relatively unchanged since it opened, there is an ongoing programme of improvement designed to refine the look and feel of the course. As Hogg noted, the Golf World poll will provide a new source of inspiration to deliver the optimum golfing experience.
“We continually seek to improve the golf course without disturbing the original Kyle Phillips design,” he said. “The transparency of Golf World’s modified criteria will give us a good insight into how we can further improve the presentation of the course and the levels of service we provide.”
In addition to providing pay-and-play links golf facilities and hosting some of golf’s biggest names, Kingsbarns recently welcomed golf’s governing body’s state of the art test centre which shares its highly-spec’d driving range. The new R&A Ball and Equipment Test Centre will house ball and club testing and research as part of the R&A’s worldwide responsibilities to the game of golf.
This association with excellence has created a growing reputation for unforgettable golfing experiences which are reflected in the latest Golf World findings. “The ethos behind Kingsbarns has always been about creating memorable golfing experiences where a few shared hours on the links can mean so much,” noted Art Dunkley, director of Kingsbarns Golf Links. “It has always been our aim to be regarded as one of the best, so this particular accolade is especially pleasing.”