Peripheral Links – The Lundin Golf Club

One of the many things that sets an H&B Expedition apart from other golf trips across the pond is the depth and variety of courses visited by our Members of the Forces. While the desire to tick the checkboxes on the golf travel bucket-list is understandable, we find that the most rewarding itineraries go far beyond the game of Open Rota hopscotch to include links on the edge of the well worn path. These courses may not be found on the annual Top 100 lists, or the pre-packaged itineraries of unenlightened tour operators, yet that doesn’t make them any less worthy of play. In fact, our members often cite these courses as the best of their trip, due in part to their lack of notoriety and accompanying expectations.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll shine a spotlight on a number of these less-heralded courses in a series we’re calling Peripheral Links. First up… The lovely Lundin Golf Club.
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For many courses in Great Britain & Ireland, the difference between mainstream acclaim and a seat on the periphery often comes down to little more than geography. Such is the case with the Lundin Golf Club, thanks to its proximity to a little place known as St. Andrews. But those willing to venture beyond the confines of the Auld Grey Toon are treated to an exceptional course and even a dash of the Good Life.

The story of the Lundin Golf Club (pronounced “London”) is just as unique as the course itself. Golf has been played over this stretch of seaside for nearly 150 years, but only a handful of the original holes at Lundin remain – the rest were given to the Leven Golf Links next door a little over a century ago. An event that merits further explanation…
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For roughly 40 years, the members of Lundin Golf Club and the Leven Golfing Society shared the out-and-back links situated between their two respective clubhouses. Play would begin from each side – Lundin from the east, Leven from the west – and the players would turn home on the nine which technically belonged to the other club.

The arrangement served both sides well for many years, until the popularity of the game and flourishing membership numbers at the two clubs forced a change. The links was eventually severed in two, with Lundin and Leven each claiming the nine holes on their side of the Mile Dyke which cut across the course. It was then that Lundin enlisted the services of five time Open champion, James Braid, for a new nine on adjacent land to compliment the original Old Tom Morris holes.
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Braid’s “new” course at Lundin offers the rarely seen combination of both parkland and links golf. The course opens hard against the sea before turning inland for several parkland style holes. The links then returns to the sea at the 14th and one of the most aptly named holes in golf: Perfection. With the waters of Largo Bay serving as backdrop, the downhill par-3 offers one of the finest views in the golf rich Kingdom of Fife.
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Perfection, as captured by Dan Wood of Bright’s Creek Golf Club

Another reason to venture to Lundin has little to do with golf, and everything to do with the Good Life. A slight detour on the return to St. Andrews leads one through the seaside village of Anstruther. There you’ll find the world-famous Anstruther Fish Bar, home to arguably the finest fish & chips on the planet.
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As you enjoy one of these magical little baskets along the waterfront, you’ll likely come to a realization shared by countless Members of the H&B Forces… Sometimes venturing to the periphery of one’s golf travel radar leads to the greatest of days. For every Old Course and Kingsbarns, there’s still another Lundin and Anstruther just waiting to be discovered.

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Castle-Hopping Across the Pond

Golf courses and castles… Two things found in unmatched abundance throughout Great Britain & Ireland. No matter where your golf adventures may take you, there’s a better than not chance that a fortress of historical significance is situated nearby. For those looking to soak up some history and culture in-between rounds, a little castle-hopping may be in order.

Here’s a few that have earned Major Haversham’s stamp of approval.

Dunluce

Just a stone’s throw from the links of Royal Portrush, the original Dunluce Castle was built in the 13th century by the Earl of Ulster. The fortress changed hands several times through the centuries, and was restored in the 16th century thanks to the booty from a shipwreck involving members of the Spanish Armada. Today the ruins should not be missed following a round on the championship links which shares its name.
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Hever

The childhood home of Anne Boleyn, Hever Castle dates to the 13th century and is found near Sunningdale and Swinley Forest in the heart of the London heathland. The castle was restored to its current glory by New York businessman William Waldorf Astor, who later became a subject of The Crown and assumed the title of Baron Astor. The gardens at Hever are perhaps the finest in England and are a fine choice for a sauntering post-round stroll. They’ve even given rise to their own breed of flower – the famed Hever Castle Rose.
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Urquhart

Those making the journey to the links of the Scottish Highlands will most likely want to join the search for the ever elusive Nessie. And while there are numerous beautiful vantage points along the shores of Loch Ness to soak in the panorama, none is more inspiring than the view from Urquhart Castle. The 13th century fortress played an important role in the wars for Scottish Independence, before being sacked in 1692 to prevent its use by Jacobite forces. Today it gives the endless views at Castle Stuart a run for their money.
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Ardglass

Nowhere does the line between golf and castle-hopping become more blurred than at Ardglass. Nestled along the rocky shores of Northern Ireland, the 15th century building was built by the Fitzgerald family and provides an incredible backdrop to one of the finest opening tee shots in golf. It also provides the club with a rather unique claim: the oldest clubhouse in the world.
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Tantallon

Just around the corner from the West Links at North Berwick, Tantallon was constructed in the 15th century by the 1st Earl of Douglas. The last curtain wall castle constructed in Scotland, the fortress was largely destroyed in the 15th century by forces led by King James IV, whose grandfather – James II – ironically banned the game of golf in 1457. The second oldest golf club in town also happens to share its name.
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Dromoland

When it comes to Golf and the Good Life, few places in Ireland can match that found at Dromoland Castle. Although the current structure only dates to 1835, a castle has stood on this ground since the 16th century when Henry VIII granted it to the 1st Earl of Thomond. Today the castle is a five-star boutique hotel whose exquisite accommodations and sumptuous dining are the foundation of what we call a “Perfect Pairing” with the historic links of Southwest Ireland.
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Dunrobin

A castle has stood on this ground just north or Royal Dornoch since 1235 as the seat for the long line of Earls of Sutherland. War and conquest saw the house change hands many times over, yet it still remains a residence for the current Countess of Sutherland. The castle gardens are modeled after those found at Versailles and are by themselves worthy of a post-round visit to Dunrobin. And while you’re at it, venture a little further north for a second loop around the links of Brora.
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