LADYBANK IS A SPECIAL course. Whereas most visitors come to the Kingdom of Fife to head for St Andrews and its historic links a good many of them will be approaching the old grey town via Cupar on the A91 which is just a few minutes drive away from Ladybank and this venerable and immaculate track.
Originally laid out as a mere six holes in 1879 by Old Tom Morris it did not become an 18- holer until 1961 but all of the holes we play today could have been here forever for there was always meant to have been golf played amongst the sweet smelling pine woodlands that line these lush fairways.
The course runs in two loops bringing us back to the clubhouse after nine. Each hole is a test with accuracy off the tee at a premium otherwise we are simply blocked out by overhanging branches or worse, being forced to play out sideways.
Most of the firm, excellently maintained greens are raised and many are small so in the event of not finding, at worst, the front edge of them we can be left playing some fiendish little flop shots that, if not precise, will often end in sand lurking the other side of the green.
But however indifferent our game may be this is a course to admire and is rightly a regular on the Open Championship qualifier roster and deservedly figures in most UK golf publications’ Top 100 in Great Britain list. Strangely it is not within many American golfers’ radar, with some cynics suggesting that it is simply not expensive enough to feature on their wish-lists.
The only downside is a large and somewhat soulless clubhouse. What a difference having a terrace would make to sit outside in the sunshine and watch the golfers come up 18 over a cold beer. But this is only a quibble, the course is a joy and in first class condition. If you don’t take a detour when next on a golfing tour of Fife then you only have yourself to blame.