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The Old Course

Exploring the Golfing Mecca of St. Andrews, Scotland (2024)

Welcome to a Golf Lover’s Guide to St. Andrews in Scotland. Nestled on the picturesque Scottish seaside, St. Andrews boasts a rich history and heritage. However, what makes this seaside town special is its approach and special hold towards “Golf”. St. Andrews earns the prestigious and well-deserved title “Home of Golf” from gold enthusiasts worldwide. It is where Golf as we know it today began to take shape.

Golf has been played in St. Andrews since the 15th century, making it one of the oldest golfing destinations globally. The town has been a hub for golfers since the beginning and thus hosts a collection of iconic golf courses. From the most legendary Old Course, aka Grand Old Lady, to many more, Golf is in the sweat and blood of this Scottish town. Besides gold, St. Andrews is also steeped in history, and the ancient 1413 university adds to its charm. However, beyond that, Golf is written all through the place. St. Andrews’ golfing history and its beautiful courses make it a must-visit destination for golf enthusiasts from around the globe.

Must-Visit Golf Courses in St. Andrews, Scotland

Join us in this guide for a quick but well-explored tour to St. Andrews, the Golfing Mecca of the world. By the end of this article, you won’t be able to hold long but will head to this beautiful town for a game of Golf.

1. The Old Course

When discussing the best golf courses in St. Andrews (or across the world), the name that always comes first is the Old Course. Also known as the Grand Old Lady or Old Lady, this holds a cherished spot in golf history. The Old Course is a testament to Golf’s origin, and during its early beginning in the 15th century, it played a pivotal role. This venerable course is often called the “Home of Golf”. Throughout history and till today, Old Course has been the ground for many legendary golf games and gold moments. It has also been home ground to many prestigious golf tournaments, including the iconic “Open Championship”. With features like a notorious Hell Bunker etched into its landscape, and the Swilcan Bridge, Old Course presents a beguiling challenge.

This golf pilgrim is a living symbol of Golf’s enduring legacy. It welcomes golfers and the general public to tread upon its historic fairways. To enjoy a game here, one has to enter a ballot (lottery) system, go through advanced reservations or book a golf package with one of the other St. Andrews Links courses.

2. New Course (In the St. Andrew Link Complex)

The New Course at St. Andrews, nestled, is a golfing gem that exudes its own unique charm. Established over a century ago, it may be called “New,” but it boasts a rich history and a timeless appeal. The New Course boast a blend of playability with tradition. Its generously sized greens and wide fairways attract golfers of different skill levels from different parts of the world. Its layout may not be as Old as the Old Course, but it features enough challenges for a strategic play.

The best part about visiting and playing at New Course in the St. Andrew Link Complex is the stunning views of the Scottish coastline. With a tranquil setting, the coastal breeze, and scenic vistas, a game of Golf here becomes memorable.

3. Jubilee Course (In the St. Andrew Link Complex)

Another gold course in the St. Andrew Link Complex is the Jubilee Course. Designed in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, it is more like a hidden gem. Jubilee Course offers a unique and challenging golfing experience. Similar to the New Course, it is known for its stunning coastal views. However, the Jubilee Course is often considered the toughest of the St. Andrews Links due to its undulating fairways and deceptive bunkers. Golfers navigating its picturesque holes are rewarded not only with a challenging round but also with breathtaking vistas of the North Sea.

4. Eden Course (In the St. Andrew Link Complex)

The third entry from St. Andrew Link Complex is the Eden Course, a true golfing gem. Like the other two, it also combines natural beauty with a captivating golfing experience. This golf course was established back in 1914 as a response to the increasing demand for Golf in the town. Unlike its legendary neighbour, the Old Course, the Eden Course offers a more forgiving round of Golf. It features a layout of undulating greens and rolling fairways for thoughtful shot placement. The entire golf course is surrounded by picturesque landscapes, including woodlands and gorse, that add to its charm. Golfers who tee off on the Eden Course can expect not only a satisfying round but also a serene escape into the beauty of the Scottish countryside.

5. Kingsbarns Golf Links

Kingsbarns Golf Links is a modern classic in the world of Golf, located near St. Andrews in Scotland. It established itself as a must-visit destination for golf enthusiasts. It was designed by Kyle Phillips and has been operating since the early 2000s. Kingsbarns offers a unique links-style layout that seamlessly blends with the natural landscape. Golfing enthusiasts can expect a combination of strategic design and coastal beauty here. From greens to undulating fairways and dramatic bunkers, the course is built to demand precision. Kingsbarns is known for the breathtaking views of the North Sea that add a stunning backdrop to the gold ground.

Kingsbarns Golf Links provides a memorable and modern golfing experience, making it a sought-after destination for players seeking both challenging play and scenic vistas along the Scottish coastline.

6. The Castle Course

Another popular gold course near St. Andrews is the Castle Course. It offers a unique and challenging golfing experience without being a part of the St. Andrews Links complex. The Castle Course is nestled over a clifftop looking at the North Sea, and a game here with breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline is truly a rewarding experience. The golf course was opened in 2008 and was designed by David McLay Kidd. It has quickly gained recognition as a modern gem in the world of Golf. The course is known for its memorable holes, including the par-3 17th, which requires precision and nerve as you play along the cliff’s edge. It’s a testament to the diverse golfing experiences available in the St. Andrews region, where golfers can enjoy both tradition and innovation against the backdrop of Scotland’s natural beauty.

Visiting The British Golf Museum:

St. Andrews is not only popular for its golfing grounds, but it is also home to the British Golf Museum. The museum in this historic town is a must-visit destination for golf enthusiasts. Housing a treasure trove of golfing history, it traces its origin in Scotland to its global prominence today. A visit to the museum allows enthusiasts to check out a vast collection of golf artefacts. The exhibits here include everything from historic clubs, golf balls, memorabilia, and art. One of the highlights here is the Open Championship winner’s prestigious trophy, the Claret Jug. As the museum delves into history, it also hosts exhibits and other interactive displays around gold. Accommodation Options in St. Andrews for Golf Enthusiasts

Here are some recommended hotels, inns, and B&Bs in St. Andrews:

  1. The Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa: This luxurious hotel is right next to the Old Course and offers stunning views of the course and the North Sea. For a premium experience, it is a top choice amongst golfers.
  2. Macdonald Rusacks Hotel: This historic hotel overlooks the 18th hole of the Old Course. A stay here offers a golf-centric atmosphere and easy access to the course.
  3. Fairmont St. Andrews: This 5-star resort is close to the centre of the town. It is home to two championship golf courses and a range of amenities to pamper golf enthusiasts.
  4. The Dunvegan Hotel: A family-run hotel in the heart of St. Andrews, the Dunvegan provides a warm and friendly atmosphere, making it a popular choice for golfers.
  5. The Scores Hotel: Located near the 1st tee of the Old Course, this charming hotel offers comfortable accommodations with golf course views.
  6. St. Andrews Golf House: A boutique B&B with a golf-themed décor, providing a cosy and golf-focused atmosphere for guests.

Golfing Events and Tournaments:

Here are some notable golfing events you can experience in St. Andrews:

  1. The Open Championship: The Old Course at St. Andrews host the Open Championship frequently. It is the most prestigious major tournament of Golf around the world.
  2. The Dunhill Links Championship: This European Tour event is a unique pro-am tournament where professional golfers team up with celebrities and amateurs to play.
  3. St. Andrews Links Trophy: This prestigious amateur tournament takes place on the Old Course and other St. Andrews Links courses.
  4. The R&A Student Tour Series: St. Andrews hosts this series of collegiate golf tournaments, showcasing the skills of student golfers from universities across the United Kingdom.

Best Time to Visit for Golf Lovers:

  1. High Season (June to August): For the best weather and the opportunity to experience St. Andrews at its liveliest, visit during the summer months. However, be prepared for higher green fees and more crowded courses.
  2. Shoulder Seasons (Spring and Autumn): If you prefer a quieter experience with more manageable prices, consider visiting in the spring or autumn. The weather can still be pleasant, and you will have a good chance to secure tee times.
  3. Off-Peak (Winter): While the winter months are less crowded and more budget-friendly, they are better suited for golfers who can tolerate colder and potentially wet conditions.

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