The Crail Golfing Society was formed in 1786, making it one of the oldest golf clubs in the world.
Originally the club played at nearby Sauchope but moved to it’s current site around 1859.
In 1895 Old Tom Morris redesigned the nine holes at Balcomie Links and four years later completed the eighteen holes.
A second course known as The Craighead Links opened in 1998.
The Balcomie Links is a par 69 for men (72 for women), and off the back markers measures only 5867 yards.
But that is only part of the story!
The links is right on the coastline and exposed to the full force of nature.
The course impresses from the start with the first five holes following the beach.
Holes four and five curve around and challenge golfers to carry the beach like a classic Cape Hole does.
The first time around it is hard to work out how much to take on..
Each of the succeeding holes was an adventure as the ancient links holes went off in all directions- no two holes alike.
Although these holes were set back from the coast, they incorporated stone walls and elevation changes to keep the golf interesting.
And the greens had enough movement to require your attention- even without the ever present wind.
I did lose a little bit of interest with the par five 11th and 12th holes running parallel and adjacent to each other in different directions.
With less elevation change through this part of the course, and little rough to differentiate between holes, balls were spraying every which way.
It was a little daunting.
But that all changed again on the 13th tee with a long uphill par 3- it’s a decent carry to the higher ground.
Then the 14th hole is a very impressive par 3 back to a green by the beach.
It has a long boarded bunker along the front of the green, and beach background.
A memorable hole, indeed.
The final four holes occupy a separate parcel of land a few minutes walk around the point of the peninsula.
They are good interesting links holes.
I had been planning to play The Balcomie Links for years so it was nice to finally get to play it.
I can imagine it would be a beast if you played in any sort of weather.
But on a mildly windy day when the ball was running it was interesting and enjoyable and still challenging despite being a relatively short course.
A second play would I think be even more rewarding.
Notable holes include:
- hole 4 (Fluke Dub), a mid length par 4 dogleg with the beach on the inside corner. Pick your line and commit!
- hole 5 (Hell's Hole), a longer par 4 dogleg with the beach very much in play. Do you roll the dice to get a shorter approach?
- hole 7 (North Carr), a short downhill par 4 with a raised triangular green- interesting!
- hole 13 (Craighead), a long uphill par 3- all carry! (see pic top of page)
- hole 14 (The Cave), a spectacular downhill par 3 with black boarded bunker dominating the vision of the hole
- hole 15 (Mill Dam), a short tricky par 4
A must for all dedicated travelling golfers!
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