Location -Hill of Tarvit, Cupar - about 10 miles west of St Andrews just off the A91.
I'm not sure how I first heard about Kingarrock but once I was aware of it then it was a must experience golfing destination.
A 9 hole golf course that first existed around 1924 on this magnificent estate of the Sharp family was recently restored with the help of the National Trust and the R&A.
The house is open to visitors and includes a lovely little café for lunch or afternoon tea. The pretty grounds include croquet fields, one of which is on what was probably once a lovely grass tennis court.
The house overlooks a very pretty little course that is maintained by a ground staff of just one - by chance, an Australian expat who did his apprenticeship 20 years ago at the renowned Kingston Heath near Melbourne.
As an experiment, for the next two years they will not be using any artificial fertilizers or weed killer.
You can only play Kingarrock with the old hickory clubs that you can select. Balls and 'Reddy Tees' are provided. The balls have been specifically made so as to approximate the distance you would achieve with a ball circa 1924 or 1898 -your choice. (1898 was the year the Haskell ball was patented as the first rubber wound golf ball).
Our host was the charming David Anderson (see photo) who took great pleasure in explaining the history of Kingarrock. If you play your cards right then your round will be rewarded with a wee nip at the conclusion. Make sure he shows you the copy of the original rules of golf as set out on the 7th March 1744.
As a young boy of about ten I learned to play golf with a small set of cut down ladies hickory clubs so I was keen to relive that memory. To my surprise it took me at least 4 holes before I could come to terms with judging flight and distance, especially with the modified balls. It did not help that the rough was unusually long and thick.
The holes were undulating and the greens were understandably quite small. Time did not allow us to play a second 9 holes which I recommend as you will need much of your first sortee round the course to come to terms with your equipment. There are only a few shallow bunkers but all are made a bit more difficult by the long grassy 'eyebrows'.
You will enjoy the fun of Kingarrock and its unique ambience. Don't take the golf too seriously.
See photos - par 3 ,2nd at Kingarrock
- looking back to what was the Sharp family home and gardens
- 5th green
- par 4, 9th hole
- our host at Kingarrock, David Anderson
After having a look at Anstruther (near St Andrews)we opted not to play the 9 holer which looked fairly uninteresting despite its proximity to the sea. But for an enjoyable lunch I do highly recommend the little restaurant right beside the clubhouse and with lovely views to the nearby harbor.
Two courses that should be high on your play list are Kingsbarns and Cruden Bay. I have played each of them on several occasions. Time did not permit a game in 2014 but I did manage a few updated photos of both links which were in excellent condition.
See photos - Cruden Bay looking to the 15th green, par 3,16th and Slains Castle in the far distance
- behind the 3rd green Cruden Bay. The approach to this short par 4 is blind
-'Port Erroll' the par 3, 4th at Cruden Bay
- 1st hole Kingsbarns
- looking across Kingsbarns from near the 9th green
- approach to the 18th at Kingsbarns
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