You can quickly run out of superlatives to describe the quality of golf on offer in Fife. The St Andrews Old Course is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown, but look only a few miles away, and you will find a rich tapestry of outstanding Championship layouts.
Featuring some of the best links courses you will find anywhere in the world, Fife is one of the undisputed premier golf destinations in the world, and it's no wonder golfers flock from all four corners of the world to pay it a visit.
Home to golf's founding town, St Andrews, this small sliver of Scottish paradise exemplifies everything great about the game of golf, and it's managed to maintain that unique atmosphere ever since the game was invented here in 1552.
With over 45 courses to choose from, this list could have run into dissertation levels of length, but instead, we've decided to pick out five of our favourites that are must-visits if you are planning a trip to the area.
So, without further ado, let's get into it.
St Andrews Old Course
Location: St Andrews, Fife
Architect: Old Tom Morris, Allan Robertson
Yardage (Black): 6,670
The home of the game of golf, St Andrews Old Course, is considered by many to be the best course in the world.
A truly magical place that provides the beating heart of the town it lives within, The Old Course is somewhat of a Mecca for golf enthusiasts and should be right at the top of anyone's golfing bucket list.
The relatively short links layout features some of golf's most iconic holes, notably the 1st and the 17th. Characterised by vast shared greens and treacherous pot bunkers, the oldest golf course in the world has hosted 30 Open Championships, more than any other course in Great Britain.
Steeped in history and tradition, there are few golfing experiences that can quite match playing the Old Course for the first time. Your opening tee shot will be quite the event, with nerves undoubtedly present and typically a fairly large crowd of locals and tourists watching on; it will definitely be a moment to remember.
Describing the course, Arnold Palmer once said:
The course is maintained in beautiful condition, and although in benign conditions, it can be overpowered due to its open fairways and collection of short par-4s, when the wind begins to whip around, it becomes a different beast entirely.
Cameron Smith was the last man to lift the Claret Jug at The Old Course, and his putter was on fine form to do so. You may find hitting greens easy, but due to their sheer size, you will have to be pinpoint with the putter to avoid regular three-putts.
It's almost impossible to speak highly enough of the Old Course. The charm, history, and atmosphere make it a truly magical place and one that you really need to experience first-hand to appreciate.
Location: Kingsbarns, Fife
Architect: Kyle Phillips
Yardage (Black): 7,226
Opened in July of 2000, Kingsbarns is one of the world's truly great modern golf courses. Had its opening year been unknown to you upon stepping onto the first tee, though, you would have no idea the course was only 23 years old, such is the subtle excellence of the design.
The layout looks as if it was created by nature itself, with rippling fairways and stunning views of the North Sea from every hole, there are few more beautiful courses anywhere in the world.
The 12th hole that runs along the coastline is a real highlight, but in all honesty, almost every hole at Kingsbarns will be one of the finest you've ever laid eyes upon.
You'll be hard-pressed to find a course in better condition, and thanks to the wide fairways and generous greens, Kingsbarns is also incredibly fun to play. Kyle Phillips wanted the course to be playable in all conditions, so he kept severe punishment for wayward shots to a minimum, allowing for the course to retain playability and enjoyability throughout the year.
The quality of hospitality equally matches the quality of the course, and we would highly recommend treating yourself to a Scottish breakfast before your round.
Location: Leven, Fife
Architect: Clive Clark
Yardage (Black): 7,620
The youngest course on the Fife coastline, Dumbarnie's opening was hotly anticipated by the golfing world. When it welcomed visitors for the first time in 2020, it became an instant hit.
Characterised by elevated tees, wide fairways and some excellent driveable par-4s, the course was designed to be fun to play, and that's exactly what it is.
One of the most enjoyable 18 holes of golf you will find anywhere in the world, the course is kept in magnificent condition, with manicured fairways meandering seamlessly towards greens that could easily double up as snooker tables.
Featuring outstanding views of both sea and land, every hole would look right at home on the front of a postcard. The course is magnificent, and when you throw in its close proximity to the town of St Andrews, it makes it an absolute must-play if you are visiting Fife.
Location: Elie & Earlsferry, Fife
Yardage (Black): 6,273
Not quite as famous as the first three courses on this list, Elie, or Golf House Club as it's formally known, is an outstanding golf course brimming with charm and character.
Featuring no Par-5s, the course is on the shorter side, but tactical play, crisp iron shots and a steady putter will all be required in order to overcome the beautiful links layout.
Some creative elevation changes and treacherous blind tee shots provide plenty of challenges to overcome, and when the breeze picks up off the North Sea, the course can really bear its teeth.
The stretch of holes from the 11 to 13 is possibly the most impressive on the course, hugging the coastline for their entire duration until you finish on the 13th green high above the beach, offering one of the best views on the course.
The course runs right through the middle of the small town of Elie & Earlsferry, and you really do feel like you are in the heart of the community when you play it. The clubhouse is a fantastic place to enjoy a post-round drink, and if you fancy carrying on later into the evening, then the 19th Hole Pub, located to the left of the 4th hole, is a must-visit.
St Andrews Castle Course
Location: St Andrews, Fife
Architect: David McLay Kidd
Yardage (Black): 6,749
Opened in 2008, the Castle Course is the seventh course at the Home of Golf. Carved into a rugged cliff top overlooking St Andrews, it offers breathtaking views with some of the most outstanding tee shots you will find anywhere in Scotland.
Arguably the hardest of the seven St Andrews courses, the Castle features two nines that lead away from the clubhouse up to the main road before cascading back down the hill to finish by the cliff's edge.
The 9th and 18th holes both share an infinity green that offers incredible views out to sea, but the real show stopper is the Par-3 17th, that's played across a ravine on the side of the cliff.
A watery grave awaits any tee shot that strays right of the green, with a conservative line left being the best way to ensure your ball stays dry and in play. A fantastic penultimate hole that has undoubtedly been the decider in thousands of matches throughout the years, it's sublime and sadistic in equal measure.