Leven Links is one of the oldest courses in the world with golf recorded there in the early 1800’s.
It is thought to be the first course in the world to feature 18 separate tee boxes, and 18 separate greens for an eighteen hole course.
Located in The Kingdom of Fife not far from St Andrews, Leven Links is a traditional links course in low lying dunesland by the sea.
The Leven Golf Club was founded in 1846.
Old Tom Morris assisted the club with bunker positioning in 1865.
In 1868 the links was extended over the mile dyke to form 18 holes- nine out and nine back in.
Reputedly this was the first 18 hole course in existence with 18 separate greens- older courses like St Andrews had shared greens.
In 1909 the course was divided at The Mile Dyke to allow Leven & Lundin to develop their own 18 hole courses, and separate identities.
Leven Links has hosted the final stage of Open Qualifying on six occasions- 1978, 1984, 1990, 1995, 2000 & 2005.
We played Leven Links in the week of The 2022 Open, and after an extended hot spell, all the links were cooked.
With browned off fairways, the ball was running.
Tee shots kept bounding along putting an emphasis on accuracy.
The bump’n’run was a necessary skill in approaching the fast, firm greens.
We were in our element!
Isn’t this the way you would want to play an ancient links course?
As the links is located right on the beachfront the sea breeze was to be expected, and was an added factor in flighting the ball.
There are a number of very good holes at Leven.
The closing hole is quite striking with burn and boarded fronting the green and clubhouse beyond.
And I love the way the dogleg sixteenth hole brings you back into the village.
But it is the short par 4 second hole that took my fancy.
It reminds me somewhat of C.B.McDonald’s template, Bottle Hole.
On the tee a player has a choice of fairways- the more straight forward section of the fairway leaves a more difficult approach, partially blind, and over rough ground.
Whereas the player that takes on the carry off the tee and hits the alternate fairway is left with a shorter, more visible, and open approach to the green.
It is a very impressive hole!
Notable holes include:
- hole 2 (Knowe), a really interesting par 4 where play is split between two fairways separated by a run of dunes. The safe play down the right hand fairway does not need to carry hazards off the tee, but requires an approach over the dunes to the green. The more adventurous tee shot which takes on the carry to the left fairway is rewarded with a straight forward approach to the green
- hole 5 (Valley), a mid length par 3 with a green well protected by 8 traditional links type revetted bunkers
- hole 15 (Railway), a longer par 3 with a deep green and severe slopes (see pic mid page)
- hole 16 (Circus), a strong par 4 which doglegs left. The inside of the dogleg is protected by gorse, and there is a hidden bunker right. The green is surrounded by pot bunkers in an attractive setting augmented by the housing backdrop
- hole 18 (Scoonie), a strong par 4 closing hole measuring over 450 yards with a burn to carry short of the green.
Into the wind it's a monster! (see pic top of page)
Any golfing tour to St Andrews and The Kingdom of Fife should include a game at historic Leven Links
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf trip to suit your group.
For suggested destinations see: Golf Destinations- Scotland
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