In the tranquil heart of the Kingdom of Fife lies an enchanting, sandy tract of land where the whin, heather and pine smells divine. The Howe of Fife provides Ladybank Golf Club with a natural shelter in the valley of the River Eden between Strathmiglo in the west and Cupar to the east. Ladybank is one of those courses that really should be a Top 100 regular, because it is one of Scotland’s very best inland courses.Clearly it’s up against some serious competition in Fife, but mix in this peaceful heathland surprise, alongside the more famous links courses in and around the Home of Golf, and we guarantee you will not be disappointed. You’ll certainly be less windswept!
In 1879, Old Tom Morris was charged with laying out a six-hole course. The layout was extended to nine holes in 1910, and in 1962, to 18 holes. Does anybody know who the architects were behind the new holes? Whoever it was, they did a fine job because it is hard to distinguish between the old holes and the new.
Ladybank is regularly used as a Final Open Qualifier and it’s a tough cookie where accuracy and positioning are all important.The smallish greens are always in outstanding condition but your iron play will need to be on song to find the firm and fast putting surfaces. The crisp fairways are relatively flat and even – it is very rare to get an uneven stance.Measuring over 6,800 yards, it’s a seriously challenging course – keeping the ball in play will pay dividends and save you from losing loads of shots and balls.The problem is that Ladybank teases and cajoles you into hitting a long ball – if you’re accurate, you’ll be rewarded handsomely. It’s a tricky call.
We are sure that there is a sprinkling of Worplesdon, a dash of Woking and spot of West Hill at Ladybank. But wait a moment, perhaps it’s the other way round, Ladybank was here first. Anyway, there is no doubt that Ladybank has got its own unique ambience and you will certainly receive an exceptionally warm welcome from the members. This is an absolute must-play course.
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Average Reviewers Score:
played this course a few times over the years and after a spell away returned in August for a round with friends to whom i had explained would be in for a treat.
What a disappointing day we had. The fairways and greens were in very good condition but the rough was terrible. Being in the trees which line the fairway is punishment enough but having to look for your ball every time just becomes tedious and slows down play. Our group lost a number of balls some 6 - 12 inches from the fairway, and while we understand that its the fairways that are to be hit, it still rankles to lose a ball just off the fairway.
Members didnt seem overly keen on the rough either when speaking to them, although they were very friendly and helpful.
Overall the course itself is a great layout and a challenge to all levels of golfer but i think that the members should perhaps advise their committee to their views as i believe that the presentation of the course was much better when the rough was managed better.
I took advantage today of a special October twilight green fee rate to revisit the course at Ladybank for the first time in seven years. It’s wasn’t nearly as flat as I remembered as there are some lovely subtle changes in elevation during the round, particularly on the testing stretch of par fours between the 14th and the home hole. Excepting the four par threes - which are rather disappointing, apart from the beautifully bunkered 10th - all the holes kink one way or the other, placing an absolute premium on ball placement off the tee. Greens are understated, lie of the land affairs with a few multi-tiered examples thrown into the mix for good measure – I particularly liked the stepped green at the 9th which lies behind a cunning dip in front of the putting surface. Every single links-like fairway was in pristine condition, allowing plenty of roll for tee shots and running approaches to pin positions. All in all, Ladybank’s one of the best inland tracks in the country however, if I look at the current Top100 chart positions for Fife, I really cannot see how it is placed higher than four others in the district, namely the Duke’s, Jubilee, Lundin and Leven. For me, it punches above its weight in the rankings but good luck to the club for doing so in such a competitive region of outstanding golf courses. Well worth an inland excursion away from the other 5-ball golf courses to be found around the coast of the Kingdom. Jim McCann.
A pretty inland heathland course which I played in winds the likes of which I have only previously experienced on a coastal links. The course conditioning was excellent in September. Despite the flat land, the course offers a strong challenge with doglegs and dead ground aplenty and abundant heather. Unlike at other heathland courses finding your ball should not be too difficult, but not expecting too much of a shot played from the heather is best. From the 8th onwards the holes are excellent, with a particularly strong finishing stretch.
Claims that this course is the greatest in-land course in Scotland are absolute non-sense. Admittedly it is very well manicured and excellently presented but these attributes alone do not elevate it to such a status. Given the lofty ranking I expected a very solid and memorable golf course but I am afraid that is not the case in the slightest. It was just over a month that I played and all I can remember are the 1st and the 18th holes. I have played approximately 20% of The Scottish top 100 courses and to date this has been the biggest disappointment by far. What augments my disappointment is that I am very pro “in-land course” and often find many of the traditional links courses to be overrated. After viewing the website and reading some of the previous reviews I did not expect Ladybank to be such a bland affair. If you want to play some fine in land courses head to the moorlands of North Glasgow.
You are talking absolute nonsense ! Bland it is most definitely not I suggest you have a rethink.
01 May 2011
I have to agree with AJ. It is an outstandingly beautiful course - and a fair test of golf - with memorable holes throughout. I can only suggest you get out of bed the other side on the day of a re-visit.
I strongly suspect that the Council/Committee meetings at Ladybank GC are very boring and uneventful. If not, what the heck could possibly be causing controversy or complaint? The course is lovely, the condition is tip-top, the setting is relaxed and secluded, the practice facilities are extensive and well-maintained, the pro-shop is well stocked, the changing facilities are spacious, the environs of the club are meticulous, the clubhouse is comfortable and welcoming and the bacon rolls are yummy. Everything about Ladybank radiates a quiet, and utterly justified, confidence. However, there ‘s no hint of complacency - for example, the young chap in the pro-shop (the assistant pro I guess?) was very professional and helpful with his “meet and greet” info. The Ladybank course is not massively long and it’s pancake flat but if you think it’s going to be easy just check out the qualifying scores for this year’s Open – the course was hardly ripped to shreds with two 68s qualifying, and a glance further down the score sheet shows Ladybank was more that a match for many of the aspiring Open competitors. Much as I appreciate the course I can’t quite bring myself to award six balls. There are many very good holes but I think two or three outstanding holes are required to take the course into the six ball category and the lack of natural elevation changes does lessen the impact a little. It’s a comfortable and strong five-baller – and when I was organising a wee birthday treat for my old man I took him to Ladybank knowing he would be impressed. He was. Anyone who isn’t impressed here is inhabiting a different golfing planet from me and my old man. Derek, Edinburgh, September, 2010.
We played Ladybank on Sat 27th March on the off chance on a sunny saturday - 25 pounds each off season and full course playing. Lovely friendly course and excellent condition. Even at full price excellent value and something to remember. it's a beautiful place. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV21qa7JgVw
I played Ladybank in May of this year with a party of 8 golfers and whilst the golf course is indeed a very fine one the club need to be aware that there is more to the experience for the visitor than just the course itself. The day’s experience was soured by the general air of snobbery and frostiness exuded by the members and the staff (the catering staff aside). This was in mark contrast to the very warm welcome we received at both Crieff and Murrayshall and it is to these courses we will return when we visit the area again. Oh and for the green fee we paid we would not expect to stumble across a temporary green in play in May!
I find it a real suprise that you found the clubhouse anything other than welcoming, friendly, comfortable and fairly priced. I've played this course a dozen times, every time i've been in Scotland, partly because it such a good course but also because we've always had a top class welcome and servie in the clubhouse by friendly staff and members.
This is about as good as inland golf in Scotland gets. A beautifully varied course with heather framing each hole and being the major hazard. Some classic dogleg par fours stick in the memory and the setting and facilities are second to none. A course that I will come back to again and again.
An fine inland course in the heart of Fife. The terrain is entirely flat but such is the excellent design that your interest is grabbed from the start and never flags. There are a host of challenging par 4s notably the demanding finish. Be sure to include Ladybank in any golfing trip to Fife.
Played the course in early April when it was obviously still being prepared for the forthcoming Open qualifying rounds for St.Andrews 2005. The fairways were not as secluded as I imagined and there were several points on the course where it opened out and a number of greens and tees came together. It payed to keep to the straight and narrow because there was plenty of gorse just off the fairways to catch errant shots. Many of the bunkers had just been relined and topped up with fresh sand so they were also to be avoided. After the par three 12th hole, there is a very strong, demanding stretch of closing holes, beginning with a par five and ending with an intimidating tee shot to the long par 4 eighteenth. The clubhouse facilities were first class with separate visitors changing area and an informal, well appointed lounge. Heathland golf at Ladybank was a very pleasant alternative to the links golf normally played when visiting the Kingdom of Fife.
Had a great time when playing Ladybank in early December – this is a really good test of golf but not impossible if you think your way around. The key to scoring well here is how well you play from the tee as I think on at least 12 holes it is this shot that needs most attention. The course is very flat and winds in and out of tree lined fairways, with a great selection of gorse bushes as a compliment. The greens were in fantastic condition and were very true to putt on. At present there is a fair bit of work taking place (new bunkering and a new 8th green most noticeable) – All to be in use during 2005 when Ladybank will once again be used for qualifying for the Open Championship as usual when St Andrews is the venue. Of all the Top100 courses this must be the best value – From now til March only £15 and in the height off summer around £50 – great value. Best holes for me: par 5 7th, par 4 9th (watch out for the dead ground in front of the green) and the final 3 holes demand a high level of concentration to maintain your score. In summary – do visit Ladybank, maybe on the way to historic St Andrews – you’ll have a fine time. As for the rating of 105, probably a little low (I’d say around the 85 mark). Golf World failed to even recognise this at all in their recent ratings – very strange !