Legendary Golf Journalist Hits Dumbarnie Links Ceremonial Tee Shot.

It seemed very appropriate long-time Associaton of Golf Writers (AGW) member and local resident Malcolm Campbell should have been afforded the honour of teeing-up earlier today (FRD) with hitting the ceremonial tee-shot at Dumbarnie Links in Scotland.

Dumbarnie Links is located just a short drive from Malcolm’s Upper Largo residence in Fife and just over 10-miles from St. Andrews.

The newest golf course in the UK was set to open on May 16th but the continuing ‘lockdown’ measures in Scotland pushed the opening back just a day under two weeks to today (May 29th).

It was Malcolm, and who has been a member of the Association since 1982, who was instrumental in introducing course designer Clive Clark to the stunning stretch of Firth of Forth landscape.

Clark, a former Ryder Cup player, has designed 35 golf courses across the United States and Europe. Prior to living full time in America, he was in a highly successful design partnership in Europe with renowned Peter Alliss.

Dumbarnie Links – the UKs newest golf course.

Malcolm is a doyen among golf writers and was chosen by Dumbarnie Links General Manager and good friend, David Scott to hit the ceremonial first tee shot.

“I have been close friends with Malcom for a long time but that was not part of the deal in extending the invitation to him to tee-off first,” said David.

“Malcolm had seen the opportunity for this area of Fife to have a golf course for well over 20-years.  He’s been dreaming about it for that long.  He had spoken to a couple of golf course architects who had come along to have a look at the site and also introduced them to Lord Balniel, who is the land-owner.  Though it never came to fruition.

“It wasn’t till Malcolm met Clive and then Clive met Lord Balniel, and they all connected.

“Dirt was broken a couple of years ago and here we are today for the official opening.

“If it wasn’t for Malcolm introducing Clive to this part of the world there would not be a golf course, so it was absolutely perfect he should hit the first official golf shot.

“It was just an honour to have him hit the first tee shot as he is so well known in golf, and he’s such a humble lovely guy and everyone here at Dumbarnie Links is very pleased”.

Now you’re all wondering: ‘So, how did Malcolm get on with his opening drive?’

Malcolm arrived around 6.45am accompanied by his wife Jane.  His playing partner was long-time good friend, Dr. Graeme Duncan.  After bacon rolls and coffee, Malcolm and Graeme made their way to the first tee on a day that you could have been mistaken you were on the Costa del Sol or the sun-splashed Vilamoura.

I will now let Malcolm take over.

“It was a dream come true for me,” he said ahead of taking one practice swing and then the ceremonial first tee shot.

“I have been trying to get a course built here for 20 years after coming across 400 acres of virgin links land when out on a walk along the old railway line with my wife.

“I honestly didn’t think I was going to live to see it opening, far less me hitting a miserable opening shot, and it is so sad that Clive couldn’t be here on this beautiful day as this is his masterpiece. It is a great asset to Scotland and a great asset to the local community.”

No, it was not Malcolm’s best shot in managing to hit the ball less than 50-yards as he put down a second ball and to the applause of around 40 spectators carefully ‘social-distancing’ around the tee, he found the fairway.

Put Malcolm’s first tee shot down to a Fife curse but in two prior occasions, a Duke of York/Prince Andrew curse.

In 1995, the Duke of York officially opened The Dukes course up overlooking St. Andrews and did so, by sending his ceremonial tee shot out-of-bounds and well over trees down the left side of what is now the 10th hole.  Looking-on was course designer and five-time Open winner, Peter Thomson and pointing the way with a walking stick that had a ‘Band Air’ wrapped at the bottom of the walking aide.

In 2008, the Castle Course, and the seventh golf course in St. Andrews, was also opened by the Duke of York.  The Links Trust has arranged a worldwide competition to name the new course with the prize of a return airfare and accommodation awarded to a lucky American-born fellow.

The lucky winner was afforded the opportunity of hitting the official opening tee shot but a long hour hitting balls on the range and working on the practice putting green, there was a big sigh of disappointment when the chap’s tee shot did not go past the Ladies tee at the uphill first hole.

Nevertheless, congratulations from everyone at the AGW to Malcolm for his part in the opening of the newest golf course in the UK.

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