Crail Golfing Society, the seventh oldest golf club in the world having been established in 1786, is located on the east coast of Scotland in Fife. It is less than 14 miles away from St Andrews and only five miles from Kingsbarns. It is home to two courses – Balcomie Links and Craighead. At the Balcomie, you’ll find exceptional views and a well crafted, traditional Scottish links course. Old Tom Morris created the Balcomie, so its design is governed by the natural lie of the land and the result sees plenty of holes play right up against the North Sea. It’s a breathtaking experience.
The theatrical drama includes clifftop tees, pot bunkers, blind shots, turf walls and the constant threat of the swirling wind off the sea. The 447-yard par-4 5th, aptly called Hell’s Hole, is the headline act in a collection of magnificent holes.
It’s the hardest hole on the course and rightly so. You have a daunting decision to make off the tee. Do you play safe, go straight and probably take three shots to reach the green, or do you cut off as much of the corner as you dare and risk coming up short on the beach? It’s a beautiful hole but beware its bite.
There are some lovely par 3s on the Balcomie. Arguably the pick of the bunch is the 14th, the Cave. Here, the tee box is high on the hillside and you presented with glorious views of the rest course, the golden sands and sea.
Once you put the camera away, the green looks a dot below and it’s fraught with danger. Not only is the out-of-bounds beach on the right side an imminent threat, but the green is encircled by pot bunkers. Balcomie is the premier course at Crail, and one not to be missed if you’re playing in the St Andrews area.