Most Americans have heard of St. Andrews in Scotland. Located by the North Sea, the ancient town is home to St. Andrews University, where Kate Middleton met her Prince. The University and its students dominate the town during the school year. However, during the warmer months, Tourism takes over as Holiday-makers flock to town where there is much to enjoy. From the beautiful beaches (future Olympians ran the beach during Chariots of Fire) to the Castle Ruins to an old Cathedral and of course stunning coastlines and vibrant nightlife, there is something for everyone!
Oh, and there may be a little bit of golf played in St. Andrews as well.
Most people have heard of the famed “Old Course” in St. Andrews. Scotland is often referred to as the “Home of Golf”. That however is nothing more than marketing. St. Andrews is the true “Home of Golf” attracting 10’s of thousands visitors each year, all clamoring for a look at the Old Course. Although, a much smaller number of golfers get to actually play the course each year.
St. Andrews, golf and Old Course are words that have often been included in the same sentence but the story of golf in St. Andrews is so much bigger than the Old Course. The owner of the Old Course, The St. Andrews Links Trust, actually owns 6 other courses in St. Andrews catering to different styles of golf and levels of play. They even have a Golf Academy to help newcomers get started with the game.
The Balgove course is a 9 hole course, meant for families and newcomers to golf. The Strathtryum Course is a more challenging 18 hole layout while the Eden Course was designed in 1914 by noted course designer, Harry S. Colt.
The 3 Championship Courses all begin and end near the Clubhouse and close to town. The Old Course is actually the furthest from the beach. The New Course is said to be preferred by the members at St. Andrews and the Jubilee is another very challenging links course immediately adjacent to the beach. The Old, New and Jubilee Courses offer 3 slightly different versions of the same thing. The maintenance is the same, the land and of course, the weather is shared.
The 7th course is the newest. The Castle Course, which opened 10 years ago, received mixed reviews. It’s located about 5 minutes south of town and is set upon a clifftop with fantastic views of the North Sea and the town of St. Andrews. Over time the alleged flaws have been fixed and the Castle Course now offers a great round of golf.
That’s not all of the golf in St. Andrews! The Old Course Hotel recently built it’s own heathland course close to town. The Dukes Club get’s great reviews for when you have had enough of links golf. The Fairmount is 10 minutes south of town and offers 2 brilliant clifftop courses with commanding views of the North Sea.
Further down the coast is one of the newest members of the World Top 100 golf courses, Kingsbarns. Still further south are 2 fine links courses at Crail.
Finally, if you are feeling really good about your golf game, head 45 minutes north to Carnoustie. Car”nasty” as it is often called will humble you as it did to many a pro during the 2018 Open Championship. There actually are 2 other good links in Carnoustie, so pick one and make a day of it.
Clients often grumble about having to change hotels often, so why not spend some extra days in St. Andrews? Within a short walk of town you’ll have 3 Championship Courses to choose from. Of course, The Old Course is not an easy Tee Time to secure but staying in town for 4,5,6 or even 7 days will enhance your chances significantly.
The 7 courses that make up the St. Andrews Links Trust combine to form Europe’s largest Golf Complex. A short drive or cab ride from St. Andrews will yield another 10 quality options, most of them pure links. Just drop your bags in your hotel and golf until you drop.
If you want to add a little more variety to your vacation, Old Sod Travel can arrange a transfer to Edinburgh for the last few days of the trip. Gullane, North Berwick, The Glen Club and Dunbar are all courses within an easy drive from Edinburgh.
In A Course Called Scotland. the Author, Tom Coyne called St. Andrews the perfect town. His wife, who is decidedly not a golfer, was willing to entertain the idea of a home in town. It’s a great town with lots to do. If what you like to do is golf, The Home of Golf may be one of the best places on the planet for doing so. What are you waiting for?