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Acclaimed Dumbarnie Links forced to close for the rest of May because of stress on greens

Dumbarnie Golf Links has been rated the best new Scottish golf course for a decade.

Dumbarnie Links near Leven in Fife, widely acclaimed as Scotland’s best new golf course in a decade, has been forced to close for the rest of May due to a problem with its greens.

The course was just beginning its third season in play after rave reviews and hosting the Scottish Women’s Open last summer.

However a lack of grass growth on greens during a cool spring has forced the closure of the course until June.

Dumbarnie was due to host a stableford competition as part of the R&A’s Spring Meeting on Friday. This has now been moved to the Kinnocks Course at Fairmont St Andrews.

Recent reviews of the course – which costs £270 a round to play – have been critical of the condition of the greens. General Manager David Scott admitted they had to “bite the bullet”.

‘We have had basically zero growth’

“It’s all down to the weather we’ve had,” he said. “Since opening in mid-March we have experienced unseasonably cold weather, with winds coming straight off the North Sea.

“This has put the young fescue grasses on our greens under extreme pressure. The warmer forecasts over the last couple of weeks have not materialised.

“We have had basically zero growth, hence the poor and unacceptable surfaces we presently have.

The decision to close for the rest of May was “terrible and embarrassing, but the right thing to do”.

“It’s very disappointing and causing us sleepless nights,” he said. “But the greens need to fully recover and be ready for the summer months.

“This was a very difficult decision and not taken lightly. We understand it will cause disappointment to guests, and all we can offer is our sincerest apologies.

“There are quite rightly high expectations from our visitors. It has been very disappointing for them to come back here having enjoyed previous visits and found the greens weren’t nearly as good.

“With no feet on them until June, and hopefully the weather getting better, we can return to normal for a busy summer.”

Word of mouth led to clutch of awards

Dumbarnie, designed by former Ryder Cup player Clive Clark, opened to great acclaim in 2020. It was the first new links course built in Scotland since Trump International at Menie near Aberdeen in 2012.


Despite the pandemic lockdown meaning no overseas visitors in the course’s first summer season, the course’s reputation grew through word of mouth from Scots playing it.

The first full season of play last summer included a highly successful staging of the Scottish Women’s Open, won by the USA’s Ryann O’Toole.

Awards poured in for the course and new clubhouse in 2021. The World Golf Awards rated Dumbarnie their best new course. The Links was given Best Scottish Golf Experience in the 2021 Scottish Golf Tourism Awards.

The American Golf Inc magazine rated Dumbarnie as their top new golf development for 2021.

This summer is expected to be a lucrative one for all courses in the Fife and East of Scotland area. The spin-off the 150th Open at St Andrews is expected to see courses packed out in July.

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