Dumbarnie Links Emerges From Darkness Of Uncertainty As A Shinning New Light In Scottish Golf.

In just six months Dumbarnie Links has emerged from the darkness of uncertainty as a brilliant shining new light in Scottish golf.

While businesses across Scotland and the UK were facing uncertainty, the UKs newest golf club located at Upper Largo in Fife opened on 29th May and on the first day in the lifting of the lockdown.

It was a soft opening given the restrictions still in place but in the intervening six months, Dumbarnie Links has established itself as a ‘must play’ venue.

Among those teeing-up on the Clive Clark designed course have been a who’s who of Scottish golf including Stephen Gallacher (four times), Paul Larwrie (three times), Sandy Lyle (twice), Marc Warren (twice) plus fellow Scottish-born European Tour winners in Richie Ramsay and Bob MacIntyre.

Dumbarnie Golf Links –

Gallacher, and who played with his caddying son Jack, thought so much of the course he predicted it could one day possibly host a round of the Dunhill Links Championship and maybe the prize of a Scottish Open.

“I was thrilled to play Dumbarnie Links four times this year and loved the course,” said Gallacher.

“I really enjoyed the flow of the course and it has everything.  Many risk and reward holes, long and short par 3’s and plenty of great tee and pin positions, catering for all the elements.

“In the near future, I’m hopeful they will be playing a Dunhill Links round or Scottish Open at Dumbarnie Links as it could easily host a big championship.”

Dumbarnie Links has not only established a name among the pros but also among Scottish amateurs as the club’s General Manager, David Scott pointed out.

“Everyone here at the club is unanimously thrilled to get through these six months and all see it being highly successful,” said Scott.

“We’ve been lucky that since the initial seeding of the course in autumn 2018, and with the guidance of the club’s course manager, Graham Taylor along with the weather also playing its part last year,  we were able to open in May albeit about two weeks later than expected.

Dumbarnie Links GM David Scott

“And to have guys like Stevie Gallacher, Paul Lawrie, Sandy Lyle, Marc Warren, Richie Ramsay and Bob MacIntyre not just coming to play the course once but coming back like Stevie did to play four times had us absolutely delighted.

“No-one expected this support we’ve had not only from some of the greats of Scottish golf but from Scottish golfers in general.

“We were anticipating maybe around 50 rounds a day but on many days since opening we have trebled that number of players.  We assumed incorrectly that a Scottish resident would come along and pay their £115 green fee in high season and hopefully go away pleased to tell their friends that they had given themselves a little treat.

“We understand £115 is a lot of money to many but little did we know that some people were coming back five to 10 times.  We had one fellow actually purchase 100 rounds for him and his friends and then he told us he’d run out and then bought another 25 rounds.

“So, we’ve had plenty of Fifers coming to Dumbarnie and playing multiple times and with our temporary car park looking, at times, like a fancy car showroom.

“It was our goal from the outset to embrace the local community and that’s why we approached 10 local clubs within 10 to 12 miles of Dumbarnie Links and offer them two to three hours of a ‘lockdown’ preferred rate of just £29 a round.

Dumbarnie Links .. A glowing new experience to the Scottish golf horizon

“There was then a ballot within many of the clubs for those tee times.  For instance, we offered the St. Andrews clubs around 100 rounds and there were over 400 applied for a tee time.  At Crail Golfing Society there were 245 who went into the ballot for 38 places so from building-up awareness of Dumbarnie Links it was a very positive step while the Fife ‘rate’ has been very supported, as well.

“The amount of calls we’ve had over the last couple of months with people saying our online booking system must be down because they can’t get a tee time but we’ve had to say there’s nothing wrong without on-line bookings as everything is sold out.

“And I can say that 97% of those making bookings were Scottish and from Fife and the other three per cent from England, Wales or Ireland or overseas.

“So, all in all, we’ve had no regrets from a marketing and promotion standpoint and the decisions we made have fortunately turned out great for us.

A stunning shot of the 16th green at Dumbarnie Links

“We’re all very thrilled including Clive Clark and the board based in America.”

Of course, the continuing COVID-19 restrictions has seen the UK and Ireland devoid of travelling American golfers that have hit areas hard like St. Andrews, Kingsbarns Links, Carnoustie, Gleneagles and areas such as Troon and Prestwick.

Recently, there was news Gleneagles and the Old Course Hotel at St. Andrews Hotel, and where Scott worked for a period as General Manager, have closed their doors to early in the New Year.

However, with the continued support of Scottish-based golfing tour operators, clubs in Scotland will be ready once the American accents are heard in the arrival halls of Edinburgh or Glasgow airports.

“We had a day for tour operators and hoteliers last October and the majority certainly liked what the saw and saying that Dumbarnie was ticking all the boxes,” said Scott.

“So much so, we had around 3,000 rounds booked by tour operators by March this year and when COVID hit they disappeared 100 per cent.

“With a vaccine now looking to be soon in place we are anticipating regaining the Scottish tour operators support given the enormous amount of positive coverage we’ve had this year in so many US-based magazines and also on social media.”

Now in the four months or so to the St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) re-opening there is still much to do at the club as Scott explains.

“We thought the 17th March would be a good day to re-open but in the meantime, we have to get Scottish Power connected to the clubhouse and then once into the clubhouse there is a golf shop to be built along with the lounge areas and bar set in place,” he said.

“Then there is staffing and while we had just a small team in place this year, we will have to undertake a lot of interviews and then there’s merchandise to be purchased so I will be working with Blair Cross our head pro in that regard.

“Before you know it, it will be March so there is a great deal to do in the off-season so this time next year it will be more relaxed and we will have had a full operational season in the clubhouse.

“So, we’re really excited for the future and in a weird sort of a way, it’s been very positive considering all this COVID business.

“It’s been great for team-building to get through the year and have everyone working at a common goal of looking after our guests and doing all we can considering the limited facilities we’ve got.”

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