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Deep bunkers and lush green grass set against a clear blue sky at the Old Course, St Andrews

5 Courses to Play Near St. Andrews

March 5, 2015
St. Andrews

After you experience the history and design mastery of the Old Course and other Links Trust layouts, the seaside magnificence of Kingsbarns and the other exceptional courses in St. Andrews, Scotland, you don’t have to travel far to find more great places to tee up. Here are five lesser publicized courses near St. Andrews worth a visit:

  1. Balcomie Links — Laid out by Tom Morris and opened in 1895, Balcomie is picturesque and challenging. There are shots over rock strewn bays, shots to greens perched on cliffs, gorse rimmed fairways and a constant wind that plays havoc with club selection. Located in Crail, about a 25-minute drive from St. Andrews, Balcomie Links is a Crail Golfing Society Course, the 7th oldest golf club in the world that was founded in 1786.
  2. Craighead Links — The second course at the Crail Golfing Society, Craighead Links opened in 1998. A cliff top layout with panoramic views of up to 100 miles, this spectacular, modern links golf experience was designed by Gil Hanse. The course has no trees and fairways rimmed by high yellow/beige native fescue grass. Be sure and take notice of the World War I pill box behind the 7th green.
  3. Elie Golf Club — Also known as Earlsferry Golf Club, this interesting and at times quirky course was designed by Old Tom Morris and James Braid in 1895. Located 12 miles from St. Andrews, the course is easily accessible. While it’s only 6,273 yards, Elie is no pushover. Challenge comes in the form of strategically place bunkers, speedy, contoured greens and a prevailing breeze.
  4. Leven Links Golf Course — Located about a 30 minute drive from St. Andrews, Leven is steeped in history with golf dating back to 1820 and the current configuration debuting in 1909. Built on land with a series of parallel dune ridges, Leven is an intriguing and different Scottish golf experience. The fairways run along valleys between the ridges forcing golfers, in some instances, to play off the slopes of these natural obstacles.
  5. Lundin Golf Club — A 25-minute drive from St. Andrews, this historic course was designed by old Tom Morris and James Braid. Lundin is historically a qualifying course for the Open Championship when it’s played in St. Andrews. Lundin has several super challenging par 4s, open burns and an internal out of bounds, the old railway line. This one-of-a-kind course is designed so golfers play the first five holes, then cross the railway line to play the next nine holes before they cross the line again to play the final four holes.