KINGSBARNS is to host the 2017 Ricoh Women’s British Open - a first major for the Fife links.
It will be the first major played on the Fife links and comes on the back of Castle Stuart and Royal Aberdeen staging the Scottish Open and Gullane hosting that event as well next summer.
“We believe Kingsbarns will be a wonderful addition to the Women’s Open rota,” said Shona Malcolm, the LGU’s CEO. “Their excitement at hosting their first major will make the 2017 edition very special and we look forward to a long relationship with them.”
It started when Kingsbarns hosted the final qualifying for last year’s Women’s British Open at St Andrews, having also staged that for the 2010 Open Championship.
Designed by Kyle Phillips and Mark Parsinen, Kingsbarns opened in 2000 and has been one of the three venues used for the Dunhill Links Championship since 2001.
Some of its greens – the ninth, in particular, springs to mind – were criticised as being too severe by some participants when they first played the course but changes were made and it has regularly earned a high placing in golf course rankings over the past decade.
“People have said many flattering things about our course and facilities since we opened but being selected to host our first major championship is the greatest accolade of all,” said Art Dunkley, director of Kingsbarns.
Paul Casey, a Dunhill Links regular, likes the “risk and reward” appeal of the course.
“It is a very enjoyable golf course to play because you can make birdies, you can make eagles but there is a lot of danger out there as well,” said the Englishman. “You’ve got a mix of the fun stuff and the tough stuff wrapped in a package, which is beautiful.”
According to Alan Hogg, the Kingsbarns chief executive, the event in just under three years’ time will give the course its first real chance to show its full range of pin positions.
“Because of the round-robin format of the Dunhill, the course has to be set up identically over the three days, which includes weather-tolerant pin placements,” he said. “During the Ricoh Women’s British Open, the full range of hole locations can be utilised on Kingsbarns’ large and undulating greens.”
The news comes hot on the heels of Aberdeen Asset Management doubling the prize money for the Ladies Scottish Open from next year, when it will also be held the week before the Women’s British Open at Turnberry.
“The addition of the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2017 at Kingsbarns further strengthens our envied portfolio of golf tournaments in 2014 and beyond,” said Paul Bush, from EventScotland.
“This is also a great compliment to Kingsbarns and shows just how established the venue has become on the global golf map.”