Scotland’s newest golf course, Dumbarnie Links, is officially open.
The Fife facility had been scheduled to open on May 16 but restrictions imposed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus meant that had to be put on hold.
However, with those restrictions easing as of this morning, the Clive Clark-designed links is now open for business.
Appropriately, it was local man and golf writer Malcolm Campbell who had the honour of hitting the first shot, given that it was he who had the original vision for the course.
After moving to Lower Largo in 1993, Campbell noticed the land on the estate of Lord Balniel, the Earl of Crawford. Having spent most of his working life in the golf industry and having a keen eye for golf course development, he immediately identified the site as ‘virgin linksland’.
“My first thought was, ‘Why is there not already a golf course here?’” laughed Campbell after his round today.
Unbeknownst to him at the time, the site’s golfing potential had, in fact, been discussed in the early 20th century when it was one of two pieces of land considered by the Caledonian Railway for the Gleneagles Resort. It lost out to the resort’s present day location in Perthshire.
Together with his friend and former Ryder Cup player Clive Clark, Campbell managed to convince Lord Balniel of the site’s potential for golf, giving Clark the green light to go ahead and design a possible course.
With investment secured and planning conditions met, ground broke in the summer of 2018 turning what was previously a large and rather uninspiring piece of land into a course that Campbell claims “could host The Open right now”.
“Condition-wise, it is as good as anything I’ve ever played,” he told bunkered.co.uk. “I know I am perhaps biased but it really is a masterpiece and a real dream come true to see it open. I’ve dreamt about a course on this piece of land for almost 20 years and I never thought I’d live to see it. It’s just a special day.”
With Clark unable to travel from his home in Arizona for the opening, Campbell was joined on the first tee at 7.30am this morning by his close friend Dr Graeme Duncan. In glorious conditions, and with only the lightest breeze to contend with, he piped the first official drive at Dumbarnie’s right down the middle.
“It’s funny, the last time I played golf was in New Zealand several months ago with Bob Charles,” he added. “So, after so much time off, I was just pleased to see it go straight. Honestly, though, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a better day than this. I said that to Graeme during our round. I told him, ‘There’s nowhere I’d rather be right now than right here.’ It’s been a long time coming but it has turned out every bit as fantastic as I knew it would be.”
Campbell also paid tribute to general manager David Scott and his on-site team who have worked tirelessly in the face of COVID-19 complications to get the course ready for its first day of play.
“They really have done a superb job,” he said. “I really can’t believe what unbelievable condition it is in. You could play The Open on this course right now. It is just first-class.”
• To find out more about Dumbarnie Links or to book a tee time on the course, click here.