Fairmont St Andrews is a unique place. Just a 10-minute drive from the Old Course, it is a bona fide modern golf resort in a sea of pure tradition.
And yet Fairmont St Andrews manages to enhance the Fife golfing region. With two outstanding courses in immaculate condition possessing breathtaking views, Fairmont provides something just a bit different to the traditional links courses.
The Kittocks at Fairmont does not quite hold the championship pedigree of its brother, the Torrance, but possesses views that few other courses, including the Torrance, can rival.
Built on a large piece of prime clifftop land, the Kittocks wonders through fields, hills and, most spectacularly, alongside the North Sea.
The array of holes across the layout offer new colour and visual splendour on every hole, and often leave you wondering what’s coming next. After an opening stretch of impressive, if unspectacular, holes, the Kittocks rapidly becomes an all-out-barrage on the senses.
The par-5 5th has an infinity green stretching out into the distant ocean, coupled with a seemingly non-existent lay-up area, while the beautiful short par-3 6th has walled danger short and left.
The 7th is possibly the pick of the 18 holes, with a sprawling view from the tee and an even better view from the green, one it shares with the drivable par-4 11th.
The double green on the 7th and 11th is a respectful nod to the town in which the Kittocks, known once upon a time as the Devlin after its architect, Bruce, resides.
That apart, this course presents a completely different world to the one less than five miles away.
A resort course in the truest sense, the Kittocks is infinitely more accommodating to those who prefer buggies than its long-established Fife counterparts.
Likewise, the necessary fast-paced thrills and spills on offer, that some traditionalists may consider contrived, might sound out of place in this part of the world.
Yet they are not contrived, and the layout seems to work in every way. Often it doesn’t seem clear how the Kittocks works, but indubitably it does. The stunning views stimulate the senses while the cannily placed bunkers and hazards, along with the subtle undulations of the topography, stimulate the mind.
The Kittocks can be scored on, but take it for granted and it will bite you back in a hurry.
Located anywhere in Europe or the USA and the Kittocks would be considered a masterpiece. That day may still soon come at its current location, but for now golfers should treat this beautiful course with all the respect and majesty it deserves. There are few more exhilarating courses in east Scotland.