'Fife won’t always be the Home of Golf, it will always be the home of my golf'August 1, 2017 The Scoop
Joe Urquhart plays the most anticipated round of his life at Kingsbarns - and it didn't disappoint.
Fife holds a very special place in my heart. I know, I know. You’ve heard it all before.
It is the Home of Golf, where the game was born, where every golfer would like to tee it up in front of the R&A building at St Andrews and make that famous walk over the Swilcan Bridge as the best round of their life comes to a close.
But Fife holds a place in my heart for so many more reasons. It is where my family and I have been holidaying since I could walk.
It is where I broke my nose.
Where I saw the seaside for the first time. Where I spent endless hours running up and down hills pretending to be different superheroes.
Vitally, it was also the first place my dad put a golf club in my hand. It was the first place I saw the flags of Kingsbarns bustling in the breeze and the first time I ever saw a links course in all its glory.
For me, Fife won’t always be the Home of Golf, it will always be the home of my golf.
Kingsbarns is a place I hold dear to my heart. It’s my Old Course. It’s my St Andrews.
The coastal path that runs adjacent to the 17th fairway and intertwines itself with the rest of the course gave me a glimpse of what links golf really means.
From when I could walk, the beach was my holiday haven and the links was its backdrop. The par-3 15th in particular had always caused me an interest having grazed my knees clambering the rocks to get a better look.
I had dreamed of standing on the tee box with the trees to the left, the wind on my back and the sounds of waves crashing up the beach to my right.
Finally, years later I would have the chance to fulfil my childhood golfing dream, as I ambled towards the 1st tee I was probably the most nervous I had ever been.
I met my playing partners and we exchanged pleasantries. My name was called first, I looked around and was suddenly thankful for the enclosed starting tee box.
The putting green was to the right and the clubhouse behind but their seemed to be only three or four people milling around.
Chris and Tom from North Carolina and Jerry from California were my only audience.
I looked across at them, they were staring back. These blokes had played St Andrews the day before, Royal Troon before that and were heading to Carnoustie.
Now, they had found themselves on the 1st tee at Kingsbarns with me – I almost wanted to apologise.
I fumbled around trying to get my ball to sit on the tee, it only took me three attempts, and pulled the club back. With a touch of fade my ball settled on the right hand side of the fairway. I was away. I was off. This was it.
My American counterparts would later concede that this was probably the best links they had played only behind the Old Course.
The round was accompanied with a lot of whooping and hollering from my new friends from across the pond. A particular highlight came after my best drive of the day on the 12th.
A chorus of “Twenty one handicap my ass…” and “I want you on MY team!” followed. It was all in good jest.
All of a sudden I found myself at the 15th – the one I had admired from the rocks as a little boy. As I stood over my ball I briefly remembered those times as a child yearning for this moment.
I almost didn’t want to drag the club back. I wanted this moment to last; my ball came crashing back off the rocks.
I allowed myself a wry smile – it was only fitting after all – the same rocks that had caused me much joy as an exploring child had caused countless golfers the same amount of pain in equal measure.
Now, it was my turn.
As I walked up to the drop zone in front of me I thought back to those many times and not once was this how it had played out in my head – golf is funny like that.
What is it they say? Never meet your heroes.
Well, I met my golfing haven and it did not disappoint. I experienced Kingsbarns in my own way and it may never happen again.
From the goosebumps I felt as I drove through the gates, to that feeling on the 15th tee as my ball bounced off the rocks – it will never be replicated, nor should it.
The long winding fairways, the gorse mixed with the views of the Fife coastline were mine and mine alone.