Popular Fife destination unveils new course tweaks and some new faces ahead of landmark year in its history
By Chris Johnston
Ahead of hosting its first major, with this year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open taking place there from August 3-6, Kingsbarns Golf Links has released details of a series of changes which have taken place both on and off the course over the close season.
The course improvements, which appear on two of the Fife’s facility’s par-5 holes, have been introduced to optimise the relationship between the course and the rugged North Sea coastline.
Under the direction of course architect Kyle Phillips, new tees on third 3rd and 16th holes have been constructed on existing land immediately beside the rocky beach, meaning golfers will now enjoy even more views along Scotland’s east coast, while retaining teeing options for players of all standards.
The on-course developments have been accompanied by a number of key appointments to bolster the Kingsbarns roster and its ongoing drive to deliver exceptional customer service. As Kingsbarns chief executive Alan Hogg noted, the developments have been carefully planned.
“The changes both on and off the course have been implemented wholly to enhance the customer experience,” he said.
“With the RICOH Women’s British Open being contested over the links here in August, 2017 will be an exciting and busy year at Kingsbarns.
“We were conscious of implementing these changes ahead of the tournament and formally unveiling them at the start of the season.
“This has been achieved through a lot of hard work by our highly skilled maintenance team supported by local contractors during the winter months.”
One of the new faces is PGA professional Garry Forrester, who has been named golf operations manager. With over 20 years’ experience in the golf industry, Forrester has amassed a wealth of experience in retail, tournaments and golf coaching after a number of appointments across Asia and operating his own golf school in St Andrews.
He has also had success on the course recording a top ten finish in the prestigious Scottish PGA Championship and is now looking forward to sharing his experience at Kingsbarns.
“Kingsbarns has been one of my favourite courses for a long time, so to come here to work alongside a fantastic team of professionals is extremely exciting,” said Forrester.
“This year’s RICOH Women’s British Open and everything else that goes on at a European Tour venue will make 2017 a fantastic season, and I am just thrilled to be a part of it.”
The Kingsbarns team has also been bolstered by the promotion of Josh Anderson to the post of caddie master. A talented golfer, Anderson started at Kingsbarns in 2008 as a caddie. He played college golf in the US before returning to Fife to complete his PGA training. Anderson has also worked at The International in Amsterdam and is a fully qualified greenkeeper.
“I have a passion for providing great service and sharing my knowledge of golf,” he says. “Building lasting relationships with the customers and staff at Kingsbarns has been so enjoyable that to become caddie master has been a real honour. Our caddie team takes pride in everything we do.”
As well as on-course changes at Kingsbarns, the practice facility has been , with the short game area having een expanded and the grass-tee driving range extended.
“We have a commitment to develop Kingsbarns by fine-tuning our customer service and delivering a unique playing experience,” said Hogg.
“This extends from making detailed improvements to the practice area and on the course to taking important decisions regarding our management team.”
The changes at Kingsbarns have been led by the idea of creating unforgettable golfing experiences year after year.
“The principle that has underpinned Kingsbarns since its launch in 2000 has been to realise the unquantifiable value of an exciting round of golf with good friends and colleagues,” said Art Dunkley, director of Kingsbarns Golf Links, which is a short drive from the centre of St Andrews.
“That has been our guiding philosophy and, with the changes we have made, I think we have raised our standard once again.”