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What others say
Leven Links Golf Club ©
Itís pronounced Lee-ven (as in ďevenĒ) and,
typical of most Scottish links golf courses,
this one looks easy and uncomplicated from
the 1st tee. And like most Scottish links
golf courses it's quite flat, with no trees.
And like most Scottish links golf courses,
when the sun is overhead, there seem to be
very few hills or valleys or any breaks visible
in the terrain. And like most Scottish links
golf courses, go there at dawn or dusk when
the sun is low on the horizon and youíll
see more bumps, curves, and undulations than
you will at a nudist convention.
|A pure Scottish links golf course layout
that will give you all you can handle.
Leven Links directly abuts Lundin Golf Club (www.golfnook.com/Lundin.htm), separated only by a low stone wall. Whereas
Lundin Golf Club is a combination links
parkland layout, Leven Links is strictly a links golf course. At 6,250
yards and a par of 71 from the visitor's
tees, shooting par is a good test of golf--especially
when the wind is blowing (as it usually is).
When the British Open Championship is played
at St. Andrews or Carnoustie, there will
be players who will be trying to qualify
or who have already qualified using Leven Links as one of their final tune-up courses. This golf course is a great choice
for the independent golfer who makes up his
own itinerary because it's inexpensive, fun,
and a good test of links golf.
The unforgiving but fair rough, the strategically
placed bunkers, and the large, true-running
greens combine to offer a good round of golf
for players of just about every ability.
If you're someone who loves undulating greens,
you may be a bit disappointed in Leven. The
greens are rather flat and, some would say,
uninteresting, but the breaks are subtle
and you still have to knock the ball into
a 4 1/4" hole. And because the greens
are so large, you'll have lots of lag putting
to clean up. The greens are kept in excellent condition
so that if you hit your putt true with the correct speed, it will find the hole. But reading the greens is not one of the
challenges of Lunden. Of course there are
differing schools of thought about how greens
should be designed. Peter Thomson, five-time
Open Champion, believes, "Golf is a game of strategyÖthe real challenge
should be getting to the green.... Once there
putting should be fun on generally flat surfaces,
just as you find on classic golf courses." Ben Hogan, one of the greatest ball
strikers but not the greatest putter, thought
whoever landed closest to the pin should
win and that putting should be eliminated
from the game. So you'll have to decide for
Running right next to Lundin Golf Club, Leven Links shares much of its topography--in fact on
one hole there is only a small stone wall
that separates the two courses. Leven Links is much flatter and has much more of a links
golf feel, however, than Lundin does. On
a sunny day with not a lot of wind present,
I played it with two members who helped a
lot in giving me a line off the tee. I would
suggest you try to get a game with a member
because some of the holes are devious in
their design and the line you take off the
tee is critical. Even with a yardage book
it can be a bit confusing. Some of the holes
are barely visible from the tee even if you
know where to look.
|A true links layout through and through.
Be sure you have a yardage book because you
won't see all the bunkers from the tee.
|Leven Links number 5--this 156 yard par 3
looks friendly enough until you realize there
are eight bunkers guarding the green.
|Leven Links, as with many pure links golf courses, has
holes that can appear rather
all are straight ahead. But looks
very deceiving. Ball position
is everything and the humps and bumps and bunkers in front
of the green can be exasperating
drive or approach is in the wrong
One big complaint I have and
one reason I
have not rated Leven higher is
that I consider
some of the pars to be actually
instance, on hole #12 the championship
measure 496 yards and the regular
yards. But the championship tees
are a par
5 and the regular tees a par
4. Only a 20
yard difference but the championship
get an extra stroke. The 13th
is even worse
with the championship tees a
par 5 at 482
yards and the regular tees a
par 4 at 471
yards--a mere 11 yards difference
championship tees an extra stroke.
move the yellow tees back to
the whites and
make them both par 5s? Seems
such an obvious
answer to this discrepency.
|Photo is taken from behind the 18th green.
Note the burn (stream) running in front of the green.
At 456 yards it makes for
a challenging par
The par four 18th is a fine finishing
but it's usually played against
and at 456 yards is a bit too
long for most
players. It has a stroke index
of only 12
and Iím not sure why because
it has a stream
that runs directly in front of
and around the entire right side.
canít roll your second shot up
onto the green.
For any chance at birdie you
have to fire
at the green and hit it on your
And not only do you have to hit
you have to hold it--and these
hard, making them very difficult
Sure, on a 456 yard hole I can
hit a fairway
wood on my second shot and have
of rolling it onto a far-away
green if I
hit it well but, remember, thereís
onto this green. Whatís more,
on the 18th,
the wind is generally blowing
at you so there
is little chance you will be
hitting a long
tee shot to get yourself into
donít know too many people who
a 456 yard hole into the wind
in two shots
under these conditions, so why
a par 4 and
a SI of 12?
That's not to say the hole is
not fun to
play--it is. It's a challenge.
time I played Leven Links we did not have much of a wind in our face
on this hole and I had a fair
drive, so I
threw caution to the wind and
chose to hit
a 3 wood just for fun. On the
tee I had told
my playing partners that the
playing at Carnoustie, I had
the stream in front of the 18th
the green after hitting a 3 wood
200 yards. Lightning struck twice!
way short on my fairway wood
on this shot
but somehow it managed to bounce
stream too! The ball rolled across
settling down a few feet off
the back of
the green. My playing partners
laughing when I told them that
was how I
played it! It was pretty amazing.
think I could improve on the
hole after that
but with Mary-Alice watching
from the carpark
above, I sank a 60 foot putt
for a birdie.
She blinked the car headlights
and appreciation, and I doffed
my cap to
the gallery (Mary-Alice). It
was a great
finish to a fun golf course.
Playing golf with a member will increase
your enjoyment and lower your
As I've said, Leven Links is a pure seaside links layout and, because
of that, is different than most
in the world. It's inexpensive
and a real
bargain. And the day ticket is
an exceptionally good bargain. There are only two reasons
I don't rate this fine golf course
The first are the greens which,
kept in fine shape, are not as
as some may like (Peter Thomson's opinion notwithstanding!).
Keep in mind, though, they are always in tiptop shape and a pleasure
to putt on. The second reason
is what I feel
is the unfairness of giving holes
13 extra strokes from the back
makes absolutely no sense especially
visitors are not allowed to play
white tees. It's like having
a 2 stroke disadvantage
before you even tee off. Having
however, you will still have
a good time
playing this fine layout. It's
a solid links
golf course, a bit quirky, but
a good time on it. And if you
do play it,
try to play it with a member
(and see if
you can get permission to play
from the whites).
A very friendly club. Playing
with a member
will add so much to your enjoyment
Golf Nook Scotland rating -- a solid PAR.
Mary-Alice suggests ...
Fortunately, every time Richard has played
Leven it's been a beautiful day. The sky was clear
and blue, and I could see across
of Forth to East Lothian (the
of Scotland. It looks SO close,
landmarks very discernible.
What to Do All Day in Leven
Directly across the street from the starter's
house on Leven Links Golf Course is the beach with plenty of places to park.
Or you can leave the car in the
carpark. Either way, go to the
its wide, paved promenade along
|View from Leven Links carpark, across 1st
tee to seafront, which
is so close.
||Leven seafront promenade--always a popular
The sandy beach itself is very
wide and very
walkable. Dogs playing and running
water, tiny tots being wheeled
in their prams,
quiet couples seated on the wooden
and nodding off in the warmth--it's
scene. (Walk a few miles in an
and you'll come to Lundin Golf
a nice place this is to bring
lunch and eat
here--I do this every time Richard
plays Leven Links.
|The ice cream truck--a popular tradition
on the Leven seafront.
I also like to walk into the town centre,
which is pedestrianized. Leave
the car at
the carpark by the sea or in
the golf course
carpark and it's a short stroll
compact town centre. Leven is
a nice little
town. Amble into the shops and
the shop proprietors, who are
all very friendly
and eager to talk. It's fun.
All in all, Leven is a pleasant, un-touristy
town for exploring and just relaxing.