at St Andrews Links
St Andrews, Scotland
Old Course at St Andrews overview
Golf has been played on the Links at St Andrews since at least 1553 with the Old Course being the centrepiece for hundreds of years. The course has several celebrated features such as the Swilcan Bridge, the par-4 17th ‘Road Hole’, the supreme closing hole which finishes in front of the Royal & Ancient clubhouse and the vast shared greens that can be 100-yards long.
The Old Course will always be associated with the Open Championship having hosted it more times than any other venue, with the first being back in 1873 and then every five years since 1895. Largely designed by mother nature as opposed to course architects, it has some unique characteristics you rarely find anywhere else such as the widest opening and closing fairway in golf, double-greens, challenging slopes, fairways faster than many regular golf club’s greens and deep bunkers.
The R&A Clubhouse behind the green is members-only, however, visiting golfers have use of the Links Trust Clubhouse and all its amenities including a restaurant and bar. Those looking to warm up before the round can make use of the St Andrews Golf Academy.
Although the Old Course can boast several truly memorable holes, the signature hole is probably the 17th par-4 ‘Road Hole’. Starting with a tee shot that for the optimum line needs to carry the corner of the out of bounds fence. For their second shot, golfers are then left with an extremely difficult, long approach to a small green protected by a deep bunker in front and a stone wall behind that runs parallel.
The tee shot on the 17th is also famous for having the Old Course Hotel so close to the ideal driving line meaning that not a day goes by when the hotel roof is not struck by an errant drive.
Due to the fact that the 1st and 18th fairways of the Old Course merge it makes them both 129 yards wide. No excuse for missing the fairway on either of these holes!
Did You Know?
Despite its enormous popularity, the Old Course at St Andrews still upholds its longstanding tradition of a daily ballot (Sundays and tournament days exempt) drawn two days prior to the intended play date.
The ballot is designed to give golfers the best opportunity to play the Old Course during their visit to St Andrews and reflects its commitment to making the Old Course as accessible as possible to members of the public. It’s one of the most popular and effective ways to get a tee time for those who fail to secure a tee time, due to budget or availability reasons.