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Monarchs House

Best holes in Fife
« on: November 29, 2002, 10:34:10 AM »
Hello all,
I was just thinking about writing the monthly Monarchs House newsletter and thought to include a piece on the best holes in Fife.  Before writing, I thought what better place to gather opinion but from the gang at Golf Club Atlas.   :)

Many holes come to mind, including the 17th on the Old, the 13th on Elie, the 10th on the New but I wanted more. Tell me what you think and why.

Many thanks for the help,


www.monarchshouse.com
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

CHrisB

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2002, 06:35:30 PM »
From St. Andrews I'll nominate:

#11, #14, #16, #17 Old--one of the best par 3's, par 4's, and par 5's in the world, and the strategic 16th with great green (and think of all the named bunkers on just these holes!)
#9, #10 New--long par 3 next to the Eden with sunken green, and long, tumbling par 4 over interesting terrain
#5, #8 Eden--criss-crossing par 3's with super greensites
#15 Jubilee--snakes through the largest sandhills on the property; tight tee shot, good greensite
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Jeremy_Glenn.

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2002, 08:44:02 PM »
How about a couple from the ROC?  ;D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

D. Kilfara

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2002, 03:57:35 AM »
Hmmm...how many holes are you willing to select from the St. Andrews courses? You could very easily do a "best 18 holes in St. Andrews", and then a "best 18 holes in the rest of Fife", I'd have thought.

Of ChrisB's list, which I think is pretty good, I'd only disagree with his nomination of Jubilee #15, which is my least favorite hole in St. Andrews. The hole is almost unplayable in any sort of wind - the fairway is unfindable, and the greensite has vertical slopes leading to it on three sides and dense gorse on the fourth. Not that I've had any bad experiences on it or anything, er... :)

A few quickie nominations from elsewhere in Fife (bearing in mind that I don't have scorecards in front of me to confirm the hole numbers):

--From Kingsbarns I think I'd pick the 6th (the driveable par 4 with that great fallaway green), the 13th (the par 5 around the bay) and the 15th (the par 3 over the bay). The latter two are probably cliched picks, but they work for me!

--From Crail (Balcomie) I'd choose the 5th (the long par 4 around the beach) and possibly the 14th (the drop-shot par 3).

--From Elie I might also pick the 3rd (the long, downhill par 3).

By the way, for those of you who don't know about it, Monarchs House is a fantastic place to stay - I can't rate it highly enough. It's not for the budget-minded (it primarily caters for large parties who get the run of the entire house), but you certainly get what you pay for! Tremendously friendly staff, as well. Ideal for a gangsome looking to set a base camp in St. Andrews for explorations there and further afield, I'd have thought...

Cheers,
Darren
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Paul Richards

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2002, 06:49:28 AM »
I know Carnoustie is close by, but is it also in Fife?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"Something has to change, otherwise the never-ending arms race that benefits only a few manufacturers will continue to lead to longer courses, narrower fairways, smaller greens, more rough, more expensive rounds, and other mechanisms that will leave golf's future in doubt." -  TFOG

D. Kilfara

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2002, 07:06:22 AM »
Paul - nope. Once you cross the Tay Bridge (and hit Dundee), you're no longer in Fife. So Carnoustie's out.

I imagine there are other worthy holes to be selected from the likes of Lundin Links, Leven, maybe even Scotscraig or Ladybank, but I haven't played them, so I cannot comment.

Cheers,
Darren
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Paul Richards

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2002, 07:39:04 AM »
Doh! ::)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"Something has to change, otherwise the never-ending arms race that benefits only a few manufacturers will continue to lead to longer courses, narrower fairways, smaller greens, more rough, more expensive rounds, and other mechanisms that will leave golf's future in doubt." -  TFOG

Rich Goodale (Guest)

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2002, 09:23:17 AM »
Paul

While Darren is technically right, your should also know that St. Andrews is effectively just a posh suburb of Dundee (or perhaps Knightsbridge....) ;).

If you want to get to the real Fife, where men are men and the pit ponies are nervous (or used to be when coal mining supported the whole economy) go West, young man, go West!  There you will find such gems as:

--the 300 yard 10th at Balwearie--drivable, but only if you can narrowly thread your tee shot between the gorse covered hill on the left and the river on the right
--the 18th at Thornton, with its bottled fairway showing one of the few extant examples of non-Stupid Trees, and a superb green complex.
--The 18th at Kinghorn, requiring a 210 yard high-trajectory shot to clear the holl in front of the tee, towards a lovely hidden green.
--The linksy 3rd at Aberdour where unless you hug the shoreline with your tee shot (and hit it long) you will be faced with a second shot over a bunker to a fall-away green.
--The opening 470 yard hole at Dr. MacKenzie's Pitreavie.  Drive to a fairway which slopes sharply from a roughly maintained hill on the right to trees and a stream on the left. Once you've negotiated that, hit a long iron off a sidehill lie over the crossing burn and then up a steep hill to a fast back to front sloping green.  "Par" "4"????
--The 150 yard 17th at Burntisland--hit over 130 yards of scrub and rubbish to a hidden green set within an old quarry.
--The long 9th at Dunnikier--a good strong drive over the rolling fairways will give you a glimpse of and chance of reaching a green surrounded by deep bunkers.
--The 8th a Balbirnie, requiring at least 230 of carry to the top of the hill to get a sight of the green, and then a long-medium iron to reach yet another plateau.

There are many others worth playing over here--if one chooses to venture out of the admirable cosiness of NE Fife........ :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

RC_Stanfield (Guest)

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2002, 09:49:46 AM »
Rich is do you think Petreavie opening hole is worthy?  I like the holes clumped near the winding creek and the par 3 that resembles Augusta's famed hole.

Also do you think Petreavie was designed by him as a full 18 or 9. If so would #1 be the original opening hole.  And I wonder if the hole has been stretched abit.  I did not like the hole. nor the finishing holes.  The holes on the farest point of the property had some charm.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Rich Goodale (Guest)

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2002, 10:02:01 AM »
RC

Pitreavie is just an average golf course for Fife--not one that the Good Doctor would necessarily want to have on his resume when he met St. Tom Morris in heaven?.  The 1st is a real ball buster--in fact it probably is not a bad imitation of the problems he later designed into 13 and 15 at Augusta.  It ain't pretty but it is a really good challenge.  In Georgia, of course, he called these sort of holes "par" "5"'s, I'm sure to assuage the egos of Mr. Roberts'  prospective members.  I agree here are some good holes in the middle of the course.  I really like 3, the 220 yard hit-it-straight-and-pure-or-sayonara-score hole and a few others (9--up on top of the hill, 13--another side hill lie to a stream protected green). Not so sure of the 12th, which gets some kudos here because some think it inspired 12 at Augusta.  I think not.  Even if so, It's OK, but not much more.

Cheers

Rich
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Monarchs House

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2002, 10:05:30 AM »
Nothing like an open ended question to get the blood stirring here at GCA.  Thanks so much for your responses.

I've had the opportunity to play Leven, Lundin Links and Scotscraig on numerous occasions and find them to be noteworthy and fun.  Finding great holes is another matter altogether.  The 4th at Scotscraig is arguably an interesting, playable hole but great?  The same can be said of the 18th at Lundin.  

By the way, the new Devlin course at St. Andrews Bay may engender lots of interesting commentary.  It definately must be seen.  

Thanks for all your responses and Darren for your kind words.  I've been remiss in not returning your's and Heather's emails.  Lots have happened recently.   NO excuse.

Cheers.

www.monarchshouse.com
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Yancey_Beamer

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2002, 08:18:45 PM »
Craighead #7 par 3, with the view of the sea,the ancient Dane's Dyke wall,and the unique bunkering.
Elie#1 with the starter watching through the periscope from HMS Excaliber.
Elie #12,Sea Hole,125 yard par 3,with both the tee and green beside the sea wall. On a windy day you taste the salt spray and feel it on your face.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tommy_Naccarato

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2002, 11:20:34 PM »
RC, I stand by Rich here all the way.

Pit #1 us a pretty solid opener, which may have been a three-shooter in MacKenzie's day. If they took the tee any further back it would be in the clubhouse wouldn't it?

There are in fact many holes at Pit that may be worthy of some consideration. I'm drawing a blank right now, but the hole that plays straight down off the side of the hill (12th? Help me here Rich!)is another. #14 is another with its really wide green that is protected by a small meandering burn is also reminecscent of Augusta #12.

Great call Chris on the Jubilee #15th. My personal favorite on that course, and what about the 16th? How can we forget the Eden 1st, 6th, 7th and 11th?

If the crew at Lundin ever got it together and hired Gil or Tom to come over there and restore some holes, I could only imagine how many would be world class.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tommy_Naccarato

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2002, 11:27:05 PM »
The Monarchs House really looks grand, unfortunately, when in town, they only let Electricians stay at the Yorkston!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Rich Goodale (Guest)

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2002, 11:38:59 PM »
Tommy

Let's not let them forget the 16th at Lundin which you and I determined was the basis for CB's "Leven" hole at NGLA.  I agree, BTW, that Lundin could benefit from a bit of creative restoration/remodeling.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tommy_Naccarato

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2002, 11:42:02 PM »
Rich, Absolutely!

That was the hole I was thinking about, unfortunately after seeing the train wreck tonight that was called the USC/Notre Dame rivilary, I'm a bit at a loss of memory--on purpose.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Monarchs House

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2002, 08:12:53 AM »
Can anyone recall: is there a tougher 3 opening holes in Fife than at Pitreavie?

And Tom, when in town...we're only to happy to have visitors.  Stop by and say hello.

www.monarchshouse.com
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Steve Wilson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2002, 07:44:50 PM »
Help me out here.  I only played Jubilee once, but is the fifteenth bordered on the right by massive dunes with a swale in front of the green?  If so I concur it is a dandy hole, especially in a 30mph+ wind.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Some days you play golf, some days you find things.

I'm not really registered, but I couldn't find a symbol for certifiable.

"Every good drive by a high handicapper will be punished..."  Garland Bailey at the BUDA in sharing with me what the better player should always remember.

Yancey_Beamer

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2002, 07:48:50 PM »
Steve,
You're right.Dramatic and great fun.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

SteveC

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2002, 08:10:24 AM »
Darren K.,

Any idea how Monarchs House stands up against Strathtyrum? I stayed at the latter in late July for a week, and it was superb.

Steve Collins
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

RC_Stanfield (Guest)

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2002, 08:35:37 AM »
Tommy N-

You are right, if the tees were moved back now on #1 Pit. they would be in the proshop space beteween the clubhouse.  The point I was making was since the clubhouse is farely new, do you think the first hole has been made longer and would that have been the opnening hole? Or was the original design a 9 hole golf course?  Because quite a few holes there seem added or lacking the greens like #1 and the greens near the burn.  Which I think are great.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

D. Kilfara

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2002, 08:43:36 AM »
SteveC - I'm not familiar with Strathtyrum (House?), so I can't really comment on the comparison.

Steve/Yancey/Tommy - I really can't disagree with you guys more about Jubilee #15, especially in any kind of wind. The problem is that there's no fallback plan: you have to hit a terribly narrow fairway (or possibly go one fairway over to the left, but there are bunkers and long grass between the two), and then you have to hit the green. You can't lay up off the tee, because the fairway is just as tight short as it is long, and you can't lay up with your second shot, because there's gorse on the right flank of the large bowl of fairway short/right of the green. So strategy is dead, really. And the approach itself has to be amazingly precise: long or right and you bound into the gorse just off the back edge of the green, short or left and you plummet back down the hill and very likely face the same shot again. Maybe if you've played the hole just once and hit the right shots, you might think it a quirky and fun hole, but play it six or seven times (or more) and experience the hole's dark side once or twice, and it becomes anything but.

I dislike Jubilee #15 for the same reason that I disliked The European Club, and that others seem to dislike the new course at Ballybunion (which I haven't seen myself): it has character, but its dark side is too powerful. Ordinary players, or good players having ordinary days, aren't good enough to enjoy it. I've had bad days on many courses which I could nevertheless enjoy for their architecture, but Jubilee #15 quickly lost its charm for me: even when I hit the green in two nowadays, I'm more likely to shake a fist in defiance than delight in having successfully negotiated a piece of quirk. Piece of work, more like...  

Cheers,
Darren
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tommy_Naccarato

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2002, 11:21:01 PM »
When I visted Pitreavie, I was introduced tothe superintendent who had actually took me aorund the course before I played it. sort of introducing it to me. It was really neat!

He mentioned to me that many of the members and regular players thoguht of the holes in the back trees similar to Augusta #12, in fact, they were quite proud of it. However, I think it was the 14th (?) that had all of the examples of the 12th that Mackenzie would have gone for, it is aorund 145 yards downhill, that requires carryignthe burn to A very wide green. The green is framed by what seemed to be yucalyptus trees, and it really had an affect on my mind, to try to remember the hole for what it was.

I think it was also the 12th that had this same affect on me.

Its the one where the tee is situated on the peak of the hill and requires a downhill /falling away tee shot over a ravine and further down the hill. When youreach your ball to hit your approach, you see the very same affect happening as you dio from the tee, and that is the hill is literally like a hogs back, and you have to properly hit the ball to the pint which you want to run it into the green.

(I'm ready to jump on a plane right now!)

As far as the rest, so much has evolved at Pit, it woul dbe hard for me to actually specualte without really getting out there and doing research. I urge anyone wanting to see some very early MacKenzie, to go see the course for themselves to see how golf courses can and do erode or for a better word--Evolve.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tommy_Naccarato

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2002, 11:23:50 PM »
Darren, On the 15th, I see a lot of what you are saying, but for some unknown reasoning--maybe because of the dunes, I love that hole. Yes, there are so many better, but in the mainstream of things, it is like owning art. Some like posting pictures of Dali on their walls, others like Monet.

Let us celebrate diversity!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Rich Goodale (Guest)

Re: Best holes in Fife
« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2002, 01:56:25 AM »
Tommy

The 12th is the short hole--139 to a wide shallow green angled from right to left.  Maybe a bit of a mirror-image of 12 ANGC, but "bit" is the operative world, IMO.

The hole with the high tee you like is probably 17.  I thought it might be 13, which is a much better hole, but you can't "run it on" that green is it is protected by the same burn that crosses in front of 12!

You must have lost that scorecard I e-mailed you a couple of years ago...... :o

The more I'm forced to think about Pitreavie (don't call it "Pit" in front of the locals ;)), the more I like it, but that's the way I feel about virtually any golf course in the world.

I'll try to play in the 36-hole Open next year to see what new things I might be able to discover after having been exposed to all this high-faluting GCA stuff!

PS--what makes you think there have been lots of changes there since MacK left?  It's not that evident, at least to me.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

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