Out and back past some of the most famous landmarks in the game, every hole elicits memories of past champions and championships
St Andrews Old Course Review
Green Fee Range: £85-£190
Medal Tee: Par 72 – 6,721 Yards
Visitor Times: Every Day but Sunday
St Andrews Old Course Review
The experience of playing golf’s “Grand Old Lady” is like no other in our sport. Almost every legend of professional golf has competed over this historic and iconic stretch of links land, and it will always be a site of pilgrimage for lovers of the game.
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Golf has been played here since the 1400s and the Old Course as we know it today is a product of evolution rather than explicit design.
Many great names in golf architecture have added their touches to the course, but it’s the naturally rolling terrain that makes this layout so uniquely memorable.
Unique is an important word when describing the Old Course.
With its double greens and crossovers, challenging slopes and gaping bunkers, there’s nothing quite like it in world golf.
The first tee may seem innocuous as you’re firing to the widest fairway in golf, but just taking a second to remember the location sends trembles into even the most experienced golfing hands.
Out and back past some of the most famous landmarks in the game, every hole elicits memories of past champions and championships.
Bunkers lurking in the most unusual places, crossovers, sprawling, immaculate double greens; this is old-fashioned, unspoilt golf.
Through the back nine there’s the sense of the round building to a crescendo as the recognisable buildings of St Andrews draw closer.
The climax doesn’t disappoint – the 17th is one of the world’s great golf holes with the hotel, road and recently reshaped bunker to negotiate.
Then the last, played over the Swilken Bridge straight towards the Royal and Ancient clubhouse, provides a stirring finish.
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The hairs will stand up straight on the neck of even the most cynical golfer as they walk across Granny Clark’s Wynd and through the Valley of Sin to the 18th green.
This is the most famous course in the world and should be on the Must Play list of every golfer.
It is now the recognised home of The Open Championship which has been won here by the greatest golfers of the last half-century including Nicklaus, Ballesteros, Faldo and Woods.
Unlikely to win awards for pure golfing architectural merit, it more than compensates with drama and originality.
This is a genuine one-off with just two short holes and two par 5s, seven double greens, the Road Hole, and more history and folk-lore than you will find anywhere else.
It is also packed with the goose-bump factor, something that is both impossible to quantify and very personal.
Any golfer travelling to St Andrews for the first time is likely to be as excited, nervous and even overawed as it is possible to be by the sport we love.
Just to wander around the famous Home hole watching people play is an event in itself, but to actually play the course is something that many people liken to a spiritual experience.
Course changes since previous ranking
According to Gordon Moir, Director of Greenkeeping, “A new championship tee built at the 8th adding 15 yards to the hole. Played the 2018 Links Trophy, Senior Open and Dunhill from it. Most of the bunkers had become “rounded” or symmetrical over time so we’ve embarked on a programme to restore them and add a bit of “shape” using old photographs and maps. The most noticeable one we’ve done so far is Cheape’s bunker on the 2nd fairway. We introduced 2 very small sand scrape areas on the 6th carry of the Old and one behind the 8th green in hollows dominated by gorse or rank grasses. We have currently made a start to moving a large part of the road which runs between the Old and New courses. Where we can we’re moving it towards the New and further from the Old so it is less visible, less in play and we will tar it to cut down on noise, dust and maintenance costs. The route of the existing road will be turfed over and be used by spectators.”
St Andrews Links Old Course Review – Golf Monthly Verdict
The history and subtle challenges posed are inspiring to all golf lovers. Simply the most atmospheric course in the world!