Stunning Fife venue Dumbarnie Links wins top golf course in Western Europe prize

A magnificent view from Dumbarnie Links' fourth green to the seaA magnificent view from Dumbarnie Links' fourth green to the sea
A magnificent view from Dumbarnie Links' fourth green to the sea
Dumbarnie Links’ David Scott says he is ‘humbled’ to have won a top award recognising the seaside Leven layout as Golf Course of the Year 2024 for the whole of Western Europe.

Dumbarnie, which previously won the Best Golf Experience in Scotland for 2021 and 2023 and Best Clubhouse in 2024, was first opened on its 345-acre site between Upper Largo and Elie in 2020. The scenic course has since quickly forged a reputation for excellence which has now seen it land the prestigious International Association of Golf Tour Operators top course prize.

"Winning this award is a huge honour for me and a massive deal for all the team who work really hard every day they come in to try and exceed customer expectations,” Dumbarnie general manager Scott, 61, of St Andrews, told the Herald and Citizen.

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"Over 600 tour operators had the opportunity to vote for us so it’s not just a Mickey Mouse thing that you can put an application in for, pay a bit of money and get an award.

Dumbarnie Links general manager David ScottDumbarnie Links general manager David Scott
Dumbarnie Links general manager David Scott

"It’s actually been chosen by the golfing trade who know what good looks like. To be recognised by tour operators for doing a great job is very humbling and makes us want to fight even harder to keep on improving.

"It is a spectacular place here. The whole golf course overlooks the Firth of Forth so you’ve got stunning views, especially when the sun’s out.

"And on a clear day you can see right across to East Lothian, to Edinburgh and further down the coast.

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"This course is a masterpiece of entertainment. It’s a thinking person’s golf course.

A stunning view of Dumbarnie Golf Links, which has just won prestigious awardA stunning view of Dumbarnie Golf Links, which has just won prestigious award
A stunning view of Dumbarnie Golf Links, which has just won prestigious award

"The greens are medium fast. We can’t get them super fast like an inland course because it would quickly become unplayable as we do get 30 mile-an-hour winds occasionally.

"And if you hit your ball 30 feet off the fairway you’re going to find it nine times out of 10, the rough is not too penal.

"If you want to challenge yourself you can play from further back. We offer four sets of tees.

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"Golfers come off having had great fun, a good time and there are so many memorable holes that some of them come off and want to go and play it again!

The Dumbarnie Links clubhouseThe Dumbarnie Links clubhouse
The Dumbarnie Links clubhouse

"And all our heads of staff are really focused on happy, smiley, entertaining exchanges between our team and guests.

"We even have country and western music playing regularly throughout the whole clubhouse.

“And when you walk through the front door wait until you see the view, it’s pretty special.

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"You come here and you feel like a member for the day rather than just a number.”

A spectacular view from Dumbarnie Links' 10th green to the Firth of ForthA spectacular view from Dumbarnie Links' 10th green to the Firth of Forth
A spectacular view from Dumbarnie Links' 10th green to the Firth of Forth

Scott revealed that Dumbarnie had even thrived during an extremely tough year back in 2020 after the coronavirus hit the world with such devastating effect.

"I started here in January 2020 when we got a great team in for the season by March and then Covid hit so that was an interesting first year,” he said.

"But instead of having overseas guests we were fortunate in that we could have lots of Fife and Scottish residents playing. They couldn’t fly out of the country because of the Covid rules and restrictions.

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"We were very busy in our first year and ended up making a profit which was incredible considering that wasn’t our business model.”

Unusually, Dumbarnie Links remains shut throughout the winter, before opening between April and the end of October.

The club – which was designed by former Ryder Cup player Clive Clark – has no members, with its focus on tourism and visitor play.

Scott added: “Most of our business will come from people staying in St Andrews.

"We’re only 12 miles from there so it’s just a short drive and then you’re here.

"During the summer months, we are busy with well over 100 golfers every day.”

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