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Golf Course Reviews - Europe


St Andrews Links Golf Course - The Old Course

Name: St Andrews Links Golf Course - The Old Course
Location: Saint Andrews, Scotland
Par: 72
Length: 6721m
Holes: 18

St Andrews Links Golf Course - The Old Course

What can we say about the Old Course that hasn't already been said? The Old Course at St. Andrews (ranked #6 in the world) is hallowed ground for golfers. The course can be a little disappointing on first sight. The ground is flat and featureless, the lies are tight and usually not very good. It is not one of the most scenic courses, nor the most difficult. However, there is a reason that three of the greatest golfers of all time, Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods rank it at the top. The Old Course reveals its genius slowly only after you play it again and again.


The course has many hidden bunkers which you can't see while hitting your shot. The style of play is as different from what you generally get in the United States as I have found. No lush fairways and firing at the pins at The Old Course. I found one of the more difficult aspects of playing the course to be the double greens, which can leave you with some very long putts. The 17th, Road Hole, is one of the best in the world without a doubt. It is a classic risk/reward hole on both the first and second shots. Take an aggressive line and have it pay off and you will be rewarded. Mis-hit it and you will pay the penalty sharply.

I played the Old Course on a beautiful day with a dear friend visiting from the Punjab region of India. There are some courses on the top 100 that guard their privacy fiercely. You're not going to pull out a camera and start taking shots of everything at Los Angeles Country Club or Maidstone. But at The Old Course, I played the tourist, and have my shot standing on the Swilken Bridge. I don't care who you are, hitting off the first tee on the Old Course is one of the most special and rewarding things a golfer can do in his or her lifetime. It is probably the widest fairway in golf but you are indeed quite nervous hitting that shot.

The Old Course at St. Andrews is best summed up by that great golf writer Henry Longhurst who writes: "What is the secret? Partly, I think that before playing any shot you have to stop and say to yourself, not, "what club is it?" but "what is it exactly that I am trying to do?" There are no fairways in the accepted sense of the word; just a narrow strip of golfing ground which you use both on the way out and the way in, together with huge double greens, each with two flags. From the tee you can play almost anywhere, but, if you have not thought it out correctly according to the wind and the position of the flag, you may find yourself teed up in the middle just behind a bunker, and downwind. At this point fools say the course is crazy. Others appreciate that the truth lies nearer home."

I also like the comments of golf course architect Desmond Muirhead who disputes the notion that the old course simply evolved without man's influence. He writes, "The truth is, the old course has been carefully manipulated with the same sort of refinement you might find in a Japanese garden."

Visit the St Andrews Golf Club's website: St Andrews Golf Club


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