The Links of Lundin Golf Club, nestled along the Firth of Fyfe coastline approximately twenty minutes from St. Andrews was founded in 1868 and laid out by Tom Morris. At this time, the golf clubs of Leven were extending eastwards from what is known to this day as the Mile Dyke, towards the Lundin Links, along a narrow stretch of land between the railway line and sea. Its early days were fraught despite the village’s best efforts, and by 1877 the club fell out of existence only to be rebuilt in 1889. The popularity of the game and its growth saw the membership in Lundin grow to almost 400 by 1907, and Leven to over 1,000. As a result, additional land was sought from the owners of the estate, and in 1908, James Braid arrived in Lundin to begin work.
Today the Lundin links comprise nine of the original holes and nine from the then ladies club, who in turn received not only a new swathe of land nearby but a new course also designed by Braid. The new Lundin Links opened for play in 1909 with some subsequent minor changes. The railway ceased to exist by the mid-1960s, and the club acquired this land, creating an internal out-of-bounds through the course that comes into play as golfers make their way from the original nine to the new, and back again for the finishing four holes. For all intents and purposes, the links today remains as it did when it was first created over 100 years ago.
A regular host of Final Qualifying for Open’s staged at St. Andrews, and the Lundin Links is a real test of a golfer’s skills. The course is well known for the quality of its greens and also for the many strategically placed bunkers around the course. Peppered with open burns and ditches, the internal out of bunds as mentioned and a stretch of coastline along its opening holes, Lundin Links is a real challenge and indeed not a course where the longer hitters will gain any significant advantage. It doesn’t take long for a visitor to appreciate precisely this. The second hole, “Quarry,” at just 345yards, is all about club selection and accuracy from the tee. A couple of fairway bunkers catch the eye, but it is the burn, obscured from view from the tee that can cause the difficulty. That burn splits and runs along the right side of the putting surface, eagerly waiting to catch any errant approach shots. The Pro’s favorite hole, however, is the 352yard Par four, 10th hole, “Thorn Tree.” A slither of the fairway is in view from the tee box, well-guarded by a very strategically positioned fairway bunker. The signature island bunker immediately in line with your approach to the green can be distracting, but shouldn’t be underestimated, and sufficient club needs to be chosen to clear it.
Lundin Links is a thoroughly enjoyable experience when in the St. Andrews area on your Scottish golf vacation, and a fantastic opportunity to explore a genuine James Braid design that has remained virtually untouched.