Stabroek The British Women’s Open is on this week, and it’s being held on one of my favorite courses: Kingsbarns, in St. Andrews. The Golf Channel’s coverage so far seems to be limited to putts, commercials, and talking heads, but occasionally the camera drifts past a few holes, on its way from the leaderboard back to the commentators’ booth. I’ve played Kingsbarns only once, and that was thirteen years ago, but I still often think about it, and I want to go back.
Kingsbarns looks like a links course but is actually an optical illusion. It was carved (by an American! in 2000!) from a featureless swath of seaside pastureland—but despite its lack of an ancient pedigree it’s a terrific course and it’s unusually fun to play. In addition, the clubhouse is the right scale (small), and it has a good bar with the most amazing panoramic windows, plus leather chairs you could sleep all night in.
During my single round, in 2004, we were held up on every shot by a painfully slow group ahead of us. On the suggestion of our bus driver, we complained in the bar and were given all our drinks for free (then left a tip that was big enough to cover pretty much the entire tab). That night, we ate at a restaurant recommended by the same driver, who had overruled the recommendation of our caddies. The suspicion on the trip was that the driver was receiving kickbacks from the restaurants he took us to, although I was inclined to trust him, having eaten in a few caddie-recommended pubs over the years. Here’s the Kingsbarns clubhouse:
I too enjoyed Kingbarns from several years back. I saw where Paula Creamer Monday qualified at The Castle Course with a 68. As I recall THAT course had some crazy hilly greens with which I was not enamored. So to see that score – I was impressed.
I’ve only driven past the Castle Course, and even from the car it looked scary.
What were the bus driver and caddie dinner recommendations? My family went to Crail for a couple of weeks for several years and we ate everywhere. Talking about going back next summer.
It’s so long ago that I don’t remember–and if I did the recommendations probably wouldn’t still apply. The caddies at Crail did recommend a pub, but I now have no memory of what they suggested.