Fife has few peers when it comes to links but this Scottish region is also blessed with several inland courses of outstanding quality. Founded in 1879, Ladybank is one. It has hosted Local Final Qualifying for the Open on seven occasions since 1978 and offers a wonderfully tranquil experience. Ladybank provides valuable wildlife habitat for a range of flora and fauna; red squirrels, in decline in the UK, are resident in the swathes of Scots pines. Their larger brethren, the grey squirrel, can be found in the broad-leaved species of beech tree in the avenue leading to the clubhouse.
Ladybank, less than 45 minutes from Edinburgh airport and 30 minutes from Dundee in the heart of Fife, is a championship heathland set among heather, pine trees and silver birch.
It measures a stiff 6,754 yards off the tips in two loops of nine holes – and visitors may be wise to play off the blue tees at 6,299, because you don’t want to be trying to hit your way round Ladybank.
It is a course to tease into submission rather than overpower; if you stray off the mainly flat fairways, expect to be punished for your sins. The greens are compact and your approach shot requires precision to find the usually pristine putting surfaces.