Crail Golfing Society

Crail Golfing Society, Crail, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scotland, KY10 3XN

01333450686 | E-mail golf course | Golf course website

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26 reviews of Crail Golfing Society

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Crail Balcomie Course
Crail lies just twelve miles south of St Andrews, on the easternmost tip of the Kingdom of Fife. I holidayed there with a few friends of mine for the weekend; we hired one of those static caravans which are situated right on next to the sea and definitely worth considering when looking at accommodation in the area. I think the site was called Balcomie Links Caravan Park; it even had Wi-Fi across the site!
We played the Balcomie Course which was only a 5 minute drive from the site, it was fantastic fun! Perhaps Crail is often overlooked as a golfing destination because of St Andrews, but I personally think that the courses are just as good. It may be short with some drivable par 4’s, but with the out of bounds beach on one side of many of the holes it can put you on edge while on the tee.
We all had a great time at Crail, it was good value for money and at the same time offers some of the most scenic views in Scotland. The pubs in the local town are atmospheric and it was grea to get away to find some peace and quiet. I can’t recommend a golf break in Crail highly enough!

Posted by David Sheldy on 19/10/2012
4
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  • Green conditions5
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  • Course challenge3
  • Staff service5
  • Value for money5
  • Green conditions5
  • Clubhouse4
  • Course challenge3
  • Staff service5
  • Value for money5

Played Balcomie in Sept--wind was blowing a gale--although the locals said it was only a breeze !!My favourite course on our trip- (others Leven & Ladybank )felt like old fashioned golf. Some of the fairways are close together & with the wind the drives could be a bit wayward but this did not detract from the enjoyment.If in the area this is a must play.If the wind is not blowing probably quite an easy course & members handicaps could tumble--But in the wind...

Posted by Gary Coleman on 17/11/2010
4
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  • Clubhouse5
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Our party played Crail ( Balcomie ) on Wed 19th May 2010 on an overcast and not too windy day, the first 6 holes are good with great views and especially the tee shot on the 5th. but after the 6th hole we had a long wait to play the 7th and the course wasn't that busy. Then after that the course wasn't that impressive until the long par 3 13th and the short 14th. The 15th is a very easy par 4 and another par 3 for the 16th and 18th. All in all most of our party thought the course was far too short and alot of the stroke indexing was a bit strange.
Most of our party agreed that given the chance they wouldn't play it again which is a disapointment as this was suppossed to be 1 of the highlights of our weeks golfing. Definately the weakest course out of the 4 we played ( leven, lundin and elie ).

Posted by adam wade on 07/06/2010
3
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We played both courses on the same day in August and must say that we liked Craighead more then Balcomie, I for one thought that Balcomie was just a bit to easy ( 2 club winds )and we all disliked having to wait for golfers everywhere, because the fairways are so close to each other everyone just hits drivers off the tees because it really doesnt matter where you are, exception being the 5th. Another thing is the NOT getting the feeling that this course is so old. Everything is just to tidy and new feeling, the clubhouse ( has it had a fire or something ) has no historical feeling at all. We got the feeling that this course was trying to become a second Kingbarns where this should be the other way around.We played several other courses during the week including Leven Links and The Jubilee both were much better then Crail. Crail was supposed to be the highlight of our trip it certainly wasnt.

Posted by Jan Van Gerwen on 31/08/2009
3
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An absolutely marvellous course, great views, great welcome. Well worth a visit.

Posted by Geoff Baker on 03/06/2009
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Crail was the third venue on our annual MAGI golf tour to Scotland from Matlock GC, now in our seventh year. As the ex-pat Scottish organiser I always worry that my selection - based on golfing memories 25+ years old - may prove faulty. However the Balcomie links did not let me down. Craighead was new to me and everyone else.
We played Craighead in the morning. Those expecting another Balcomie will be disappointed, especially in the first eight holes whose greens valiantly try to compensate for the rather featureless and repetitive terrain. Thereafter however the course shows its character. I'm pleased however that we didn't Balcomie first.
In the afternoon, all the memories of Balcomie's quirky and spectaular nature flooded back.
All the previous reviews say it - I can't better them. Even with a temporary portakabin clubhouse (a major refurbishment being under way on the real thing), the welcome from staff and members alike is warm and friendly. The fact that the day was beautiful sunshine helped too. If your golf is poor, stand back and look around you at the seascape and the gannets diving for fish.
By all means play St Andrews, but don't miss Crail.

Posted by Barry Hazelwood on 01/06/2009
5
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  • Clubhouse4
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I have been fortunate enough to play at Muirfield, Carnoustie and Machrahanish in the last two years but I have never enjoyed a round of golf like the Balcomie Course at Crail. Fantastic links course!

Posted by Thomas Ryan on 27/11/2008
4
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Was fortunate to play the Balcomie Links on one of the better 2007 Summer days. The sun shone but the wind was still there to make it oh so interesting! Probably one of the finest condition links I’ve ever played. To appreciate truly how good this course is you must play it from the white tees and I urge you to do so.
Some might say a strange inward 9 with so many short par-4’s and par-3’s but don’t let that fool you. The green on the short par-4 15th slopes towards the sea and makes for an interesting putt following a head-scratching approach. The green on the outward 8th & 9th also take some appreciation. The drive needed for the 5th hole makes for one of the most challenging holes surely in the country. Sand, rocks & sea to your right, wind blowing from left to right and small landing area about 200+ yrds away. I walked off it with a net par but two of our party walked the hole after being 5 off the tee!
Not only was I fortunate to play this in the sun but if you play with a really good golfer (scratch to +4 handicap) then you’ll see some of the most creative shots ever (texus wedge, 3-wood putts, utility club short approaches, driver with no tee to keep the ball under the wind).
If you’re from overseas and want to play true links alongside the more well known Fife courses then make sure that this is on your list of ‘must play’ courses.

Posted by Richard McMurdo on 31/08/2007
4
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Played it about 6 years ago and again in early September 2006. What more can be said than has been below. FANTASTIC

Posted by Martin Ward on 15/12/2006
5
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  • Clubhouse4
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Played both courses on a day ticket - £55, which I felt was good value. Both differing courses but a great links test. The Balcomie would be overwhelmed by modern equipment, but the wind, OOB and contours make it a thinkers course. On several holes I was having to club up or down by 3 irons. A tough test even at a par 67 off yellow.
Craighead is no lesser of a test, just different. Much flatter, and slightly spoilt by the kart track nearby, but has wicked bunkering. The first lulls you, but the second punishes any wayward shot and this continues.
Played early Aug. Course was in good shape. Dry bouncy fairways mean the ball runs and runs, but also the greens, where even the slightest gradient send the ball off.
Club house - old style, but a warm welcome.

Posted by Alistair How on 11/08/2006
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I have played this course 3 times now in the 18 Hole Open they hold there in August. The Balcomie is a fantastic links experience where you'll need every type of shot in the bag. I Love playing here. The 5th is probably the hardest Par 4 ive ever played. I strongly recommend this course. Havent played the Craighead yet but it looks tough. The 18 Hole Open is on both courses Sat 13th Aug. Go its only a TENNER or so

Posted by John Bell on 10/06/2005
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  • Clubhouse5
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We played the Craighead at the end of March and the Balcomie at the end of May. We both actually preferred the Craighead to the Baclomie. The Craighead was deserted on both occaisions where as the Balcomie always seems to be busy so if you want some millionaires golf then try the Craighead. The views and scenery on both golf courses are just about as good as it gets so the journey to this remotest of all the golf courses in Fife is well worth it. Hell Hole has to be seen and played to believe it. Working out how much you can cut off the corner took ages especially as we played it into a gusting 25 to 35 mph wind. Probably the hardest par 4 I have ever played. There are several other memorable holes including the closing stretch of par 3's (13, 14, 16 and 18). I would recommend a day ticket to include both courses.

Posted by Ian Brown on 09/06/2003
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Played both courses this week and would thoroughly recommend them to any serious golfer. The Craighead will eventualy rival some of the more famous names in Golf. It is a must play.

Posted by Jim Rooney on 12/06/2002
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Even a first visit in a 4-club wind in June found this to be the marvelous course recommended by all.The 9th (Dykeside) has the finest example of green-side bunkering you could hope to see. Difficulty is everywhere, not just at Hell's Hole...13 is a par 3 of the same origin. Golfers of the East Neuk are truly blessed to have this gem!

Posted by D W Duttweiler on 08/07/2001
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Played the Craighead course in the morning on 30th May 2001 with two others. Accuracy off the tee was the overriding consideration. The greens were in great condition, the fairway rough quite penal. Rain near the end of the round hardly dampened our enjoyment. After soup and sannies in the clubhouse, we played the Balcomie in the afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, despite the number of times that bunkers were found during the round. High teas rounded off the day before we headed for home. The clubhouse is well equipped for the obvious high number of visitors that play the courses and all in all I would recommend anyone who is serios about their golf to spend a day playing both courses - you will not be disappointed.

Posted by James McCann on 07/06/2001
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We played Balcomie Links in July of 1997. We had played the Old Course and Carnoustie. We drove out to the Links just about dark one night. Even with the limited light I could see right off that this is a place that we must play. On Saturday morning, we asked our innkeeper if he could possibly arrange a tee time for us. He came back in a few minutes with the time. Balcomie Links is simply one of the most picturesque golf courses that I have ever seen. The views are just specticular. Standing on the first tee, you can see the test that the landscape is about to subject you to. Throw in a little wind and rain and you have Scottish golf at its best. This is simply one of the places that anyone will benefit from if you include it on you itinerary. Don't be fooled by the short yardage. The wind and the terrain will more than adequately take care of the apparent lack of length. You have a view of the sea on practically every hole which can be very distracting. It is so pretty that you don't care if you ever finish playing. I certainly did not care what I shot. I just tried to absorb all of mother nature at her best. Descriptions of Pebble Beach come to mind after a few holes. The 4th or 5th hole is an exact replica of 18 at Pebble except it bends to the right instead of the left. We played the Old Course, Carnoustie, Gullane 1, and North Berwick West. I enjoyed playing Balcomie Links just as much as as these courses. For the money it just cannot be beat. Although beautiful in nature, some of the changes of elevation will take the wind out of you. Short as the course is, I would not recommend this as the second 18 of the day. Anyone who has an opportunity to play the Old Course should certainly jump at the opportunity. However, if you can't get on the Old Course, Balcomie Links is only about 8-10 miles East of St. Andrews in the peaceful fishing village of Crail. If you can't manage a round at Balcomie, it is worth the drive to Crail just to see the course and the village.
I know I sound like a tourist agent but this place is just so beautiful.

Posted by P.V. on 06/12/2000
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Just THE most beautiful course, played on a beautiful day its a great course for all players, on a windy day i can imagine its a nightmare. Hell hole is exactly that with a drive for the brave and a second that requires straight hitting. My favourite is Lang Wang long uphill par 4, followed by the monster downhill par 5, the course is in excellent condition and all the staff are very friendly, if you want a buggy you'll need a medical certificate!!!!

Posted by Jon Gardner on 11/09/2000
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What a seaside delight! A course you can score on with the winds down... plays more like 7,000 yds than 5,800 with the winds up. There are as many views of the water here as anywhere we played. Par 5's reachable in 2 or 4, depending on the wind.

Posted by John Matchette on 07/07/2000
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I had my best and worst rounds playing Crail during our
8 days of Scottish golf. This attests to its balance as
a seaside links course. With around 10 seaside holes, Crail
provides a beautiful vista accompanied by some of the stronger
winds that Fife has to offer. The clubhouse is very nice
and the prices here are among the most reasonable we encountered.
A must-play if your're in this area.

Posted by Jeffrey Matchette on 30/06/2000
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Of all of the courses I played, Crail was the windiest. It also may have had the most views of the sea. The scorecard says it's short but it didn't seem to play nearly as short as the card said. Hell Hole (I believe it's #5) is the toughest hole this side of Carnoustie. I stomped my opponent 6 and 5 on this fine links, so it will always have a special place in my heart. A must play if in the area.

Posted by Scott Matchette on 26/06/2000
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We warmed up with a morning round at Elie, and played Crail in the afternoon. It was a windy November day, the wind blowing out to sea, making the holes along the shoreline a real test. What a beautiful course, though. You can see the sea from every hole. The round ended way too soon! I will definitely return to this course.

Posted by Kevin Dent on 16/12/1999
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The Balcomie Links at Crail must be one of the great golfing experiences in Scotland. The scenery is grand, the sense of history rich, and the golf never anything less than thrilling. The opening tee shot provides a majestic view of what lies ahead, and the next four holes hug the shoreline and provide a wonderful links experience. The course is never punishing, and its demands are less of brute strength than finely honed shotmaking. It has a quirky ending (four par 3s and a 270-yard par 4 among its last six holes), but much of it is played within site of, or next to, the shoreline and its crashing waves. The long, uphill climb to the clubhouse after the home hole is worth it; get a table next to the window and enjoy a great view. Those who make the pilgrimmage to St. Andrews and bypasses the Balcomie Links don't know what they're missing.

Posted by Phil McDade, Monona, Wisc. USA on 27/07/1999
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I played Crail twice two years ago with two friends. We also played St. Andrews and Carnoustie. Crail was my favorite. It has to sit on the prettiest piece of property that exists. We played on a windy but clear day, and the view of the beach, rocks along the shore and ocean were beautiful. The differing elevations allowed for spectacular views which I did not see at the other courses.\r\n\r\nI am bringing eleven friends to play again in late May. What is the best way to make advance tee times. \r\n\r\nPlease reply to; kwharb@aol.com.\r\n\r\nThanks,\r\nRichard H. Harb, Jr.

Posted on 10/03/1998
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A beautiful, exciting, well maintained course, with breathtaking views. Deceptive in the wind. Several challenging holes and true but tricky greens. A most rewarding venue, far more precious than the new course at St Andrews! Thomas.Otter@SAP-AG.de

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A Very Minor Note On The Geography. Fife Ness Is Between The Eden Estuary (in St Andrews) And The Firth Of Forth. The Tay Estuary Is North Of The Eden.balcomie Overlooks The North Sea And The Isle Of May And Is A Beautiful Spot.

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Course information

Number of holes 18
Year opened -
Designer -
Style Links

Tee information

Tees Yards Par SSS
Competition
Men's 5922 69
Ladies'

Green Fees

Summer/High season

Weekday round£49
Weekday day£65
Weekend round£60
Weekend day£82

Winter/Low season

Weekday round-
Weekday day-
Weekend round-
Weekend day-

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Golf breaks at Crail Golfing Society