St. Andrews Links - Old Course
|Red (W)||76||6032 yards||75.6||138|
|White M: 73.1/132||376||411||370||419||514||374||359||166||347||3336||340||174||316||418||530||414||381||455||357||3385||6721|
|Yellow M: 71.4/129||355||395||337||411||514||360||349||154||289||3164||311||164||304||388||523||391||345||436||361||3223||6387|
|Red W: 75.6/138||339||375||321||401||454||325||335||145||261||2956||296||150||304||377||487||369||325||426||342||3076||6032|
The par-3 11th Photo submitted by BrandonTuckerGA
View of the Old from the 4th floor bar of the Old Course Hotel Photo submitted by BrandonTuckerGA
Strolling past bunkers Photo submitted by BrandonTuckerGA
Dogs allowed on the Old Course! Photo submitted by BrandonTuckerGA
Famous Road Hole. Photo submitted by JayCoffinGC
Standing on 17th green looking down the historic 18th. Photo submitted by JayCoffinGC
Heading back into town. Photo submitted by JayCoffinGC
Dream Come True
Finally played the historic Old Course! We got lucky as the weather was sunny, 70 degrees and little wind. It was picture perfect. We failed to be selected via the ballot so we slipped out early in the morning to get in the already formed line at the Old Pavilion to snag one of the few available queue walk up tee times. We were a two ball and there were a few slots available. We were numbers 7 and 8 in line and when the doors opened at 6 am, we had our pick of the remaining slots and took an 11:30 am tee time. We went back to Rusack's Hotel, took a brief nap, had breakfast, shopped at the shop and then time for golf.
Just wow. It was everything you would expect. The staff was super friendly as were the caddies. I would highly recommend a caddy, especially if your first time. The ball really runs an extra 25-50 yards. The fairways are hard pan and the greens are large. If you miss the fairway, you still can usually play your ball easily. Highlights of the day was nearly par on the 17th road hole, settling for bogey, and then draining a 35-foot putt on 18th for par with cheers and applause from the 50-75 locals watching.
If you have dreamed of this trip and an avid golfer, do it. It can easily be done from the states. Live your dream!
Another crack at the Old Course
This past round was my third crack at the Old Course. I was really hoping to avoid going OB on the first hole again, but lo and behold my neck-slice tricked thru the fence again. Dang.
It was the first week of the official "High Season" for the Links Trust courses, but nevertheless our two-ball had no issue getting on by entering the Old Course ballot. I was even a little picky with my time window and we got a perfect slot at 9:50.
It's all about the wind on the Old Course and I was actually a little bit happy that our worst weather all week in town happened while we were on it: breezy and rainy with the wind blowing inland out to sea, which meant balls blowing towards OB out and back inward coming home.
I really should have broken 80 this time around if not for that terrible first swing off the first and a sloppy chunked chip on the 8th hole. Turf quality was a little behind schedule due to the really cold winter and I made absolutely nothing on the greens.
But therein lies the beauty I think of the Old Course: A lot of new golf courses and public major venues are brutally hard. The Old, truthfully, won't beat up the amateur player like Whistling Straits or Bethpage or Kiawah might. I always meet folks who tell me they had career days on it.
Anyways, as I explained to my playing partner who was on the Old for the first time, this is a course that gets better and better the more you learn it. Beyond the aura of starting and finishing in the town it's a design that is very nuanced. The fee, about $250 after exchange rate, really is pretty solid compared to America's bucket-list publics.
Bucket List Experience
No golfer’s bucket list get filled without a round at The Old Course at St. Andrews. We participated in the lottery (in April) and were fortunate to get selected to tee off at 9:30am local time. We were paired with two older gentlemen from Ireland that were on a small trip to the area. One of the most intimidating shots in golf is trying to get the ball airborne on the first tee at The Old Course, especially since there is no real need to hit driver and it is literally one of the widest fairways in golf (shares a fairway with the 18th hole). Thankfully, I hit it own the left side and made a fairly easy 4 to start off the round.
We went off without a caddy, carrying our bags with the thought that trying to unlock the secrets would be a challenge. My playing partner had played the course before and we both enjoy walking and carrying ourselves. While it was totally manageable, I would highlight four reasons why you’d want to consider taking a caddy.
1. Pace of play - This is a key area of importance to the folks at St. Andrews. A caddy knows the course and can take care of the ‘house keeping’ that can add time to your rounds. While the other twosome was not part of our group, I feel like the caddy would also have helped push them along. The Old Course holds players to a 3:45 round no matter the circumstances and I believe that’s on of the reasons why all golfers enjoy the round so much.
2. Weather - part of what made the experience special was that we actually played The Old Course in literally all the elements. We had sun, wind and rain. Needing to manage an umbrella and rain gear would have been a lot easier with a helping hand.
3. Score - This one is a bit subjective because I found it fairly easy to use the course guide provided on the first tee and a laser. If you don’t have a laser, you’ll have a really hard time because all the distances are measured to the front of the green. Once my playing partner realized I was using the guide, he was asking for yardages for every shot, not something I really signed up for.
4. Enjoyment - Overall, my feeling is that a caddie saves you a total of 15-20 min per group. Even though we kept pace with the group in front of us, I felt like we were rushing to try and make up for our playing partners. We got plenty of this during our trip, but I think we missed out of a chance to meet another classic St Andrews local that made our trip so wonderful.
I am so happy I had a chance to play The Old Course and would love to play it again because everyone says you learn something new every time you play it. I will always remember the round because I parred 1-3 and 16-18, the rest in between was a mix of good and not-so-good golf, but a heck of a lot of fun. The best advice I got was that if you miss left you will almost never get yourself in that much trouble - a pretty true statement. Finally, if you find yourself in the Strath bunker and don’t have clear way out, take your medicine and hit out to the left. Oh, and take a caddie.
#1 Bucket List
Played for the 8th or 9th time and I'm still surprised why I keep lining up at 4:30 AM to play this course. It's not that great a course, not even my top 5 links, but there is definitely something about the place that makes you want to keep going back. Take a caddy, take a breath and relax because you're playing "The Old Course" and enjoy. Listen to your caddy, he knows more than you!
Greatest course in the world
This was my second time playing the Old Course, and the first since 2010. I can't say enough about it. There are no ocean views and the course is always full. But it's the Old Course and it doesn't disappoint.
The majority of the holes are memorable because you're seen history made on them before. There is nothing like that first tee shot, with people coming up 18 and some walking through the middle of the fairway. A tee box full of players and caddies and a crowd gathered to watch.
The key is to keep it left at all costs and you better have control of your lag putting on the double greens.
I would rather play this course a third time than almost any other course a first time.
My first stroll around the home of golf
I've covered two Opens at the Old Course and had several chances to play but it just never worked out. I was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to happen. So, I had been planning this trip for the previous 6-8 months.
We were bummed to see that the weather was supposed to be awful, but it was perfect. Only rained for about 5 minutes, and the wind was about 15 mph, exactly what you want because it was enough to make you truly appreciate everything it has to offer.
It was better than I ever imagined. Everything about it. For starters, my caddie Norm, was just tremendous. A proper Scottish caddie. The different options presented on each hole were a real treat and the layout is iconic.
The walk back into town on the last 6 holes is overwhelming. I just couldn't get enough of it all.
I'll remember every shot I hit there for a long, long time and it may be the best golf experience I've ever had, and I've had a lot of great ones.
And I played well. A true bonus.
Calm down and enjou the course!
Played the Old Course 3 times in a 10 day period. Got there bright and early (5:00 AM), got in line, signed in at opening (6:00 AM) and got off at 8:10, 11:30 and 1:10. Had played it before but wanted to get a real feel for the course by playing it 3 times in a row. It's a must play course just for the feel and the history. Caddies are a must, especially for reads on the greens because of the subtle breaks you just won't see. The older the caddy the better for their greater knowledge and the fact they won't be checking text messages all the time. Front nine very playable, course stiffens on the way in. Try not to hit the hotel on # 17 and keep left at all times.
Fun at the Old Course
I had a wonderful time at the Old course and would cherish a return trip. With that in mind, this is a synopsis of my first trip.... In July of 2000, I accompanied Jim Flick and 30 others on a trip to Scotland, Ireland and Spain to play some of the world.s finest courses. Included in our agenda was a trip to the Old Course where I had never played. The weather that day was spectacular without a breath of wind, which really was too bad as I hoped to play wlth at least a modicum of elements to get a true feel for the links. As I walked to the first tee, my caddie was with my clubs at the regular tee. When I told him that I wanted to play the back tees, he laughed and said that I wasn't allowed. I asked to whom I should talk to and he referred me to the starter with the trailing words "but it won't matter". I showed the starter my PGA Tour credentials signifying that I still had status as a player on the PGA Tour and asked if I could play the back tees to which he simply replied, "NO". I asked again hoping I had missed something but the answer remained. After six holes I sat at even par which wasn't very good given the weather and short tees but my caddie had now figured out I could play a little. Upon heading to thge 7th, he mentioned the greens superintendent was standing nearby. Upon reaching him, my caddie explained I was a PGA tour player and "they" wouldn't let me play the back tees. He asked "who they were" and my caddy replied the starter. He then said "well it's not his call, it's my call". My caddy quickly followed with "can he play the back tees then" to which the superintendent said "NO". Haha As luck would have it, I played the next 12 holes 9 under par with a three putt for a 63. My caddy was beside himself when I birdied the last. The next day we went to Carnoustie, arriving two hours before our tee times. I immediately went to the first tee and asked if I could play the back tees that day to which the starter replied "NO"....but then he asked "are you Mr. Blackmar are you?"..."yes". "Let me make a call" he said. A few minutes later he came out of the starter's hut and said the best player in town was coming to caddy for me and I could play from any place I wished!!!! You see, it's about 25 miles from the Old Course to Carnoustie and apparently they did not want anyone shooting 63 on their track. With a 20 mph wind blowing, from the back tees measuring a little over 7400 yds, I shot a very respectable 73 that day and was very proud. If you have a chance to visit that part of the world and play some golf, by all means go and take your sticks..
It's not often reality exceeds expectation, but here it did. Easily in my top 3 courses ever played. But the whole experience makes it number 1
There's No Place Like Home
There is no better combination of town and course than St. Andrews. One of the most charming towns in the world sharing the landscape with one of the most enjoyable and fascinating golf links makes for the ultimate combination of golf and culture. Ive been fortunate to have this experience with the company of members of the R&A, which includes lunch and a thorough tour of the R&A clubhouse. It is mind blowing to see history on full display and then set out to play the Old Course. Some have admitted that the Old Course is an acquired taste but since my first round in September of 1995 to my most recent in October of 2013 I loved every hole, every step and every moment. A local caddy is a must to navigate it for the first time. You must know your ideal line based on your skill level and that can be uncomfortable unless you have a trusted looper to guide you thru the trip. Teeing off in front of the R&A building is daunting and there are always towns people or tourists walking along the rail that serves as a boundary for the golf course on 1 and 18. You play out of town starting on the 1st and you turn for home from the 12th hole on in with the steeples and chapels growing closer with every step. There are several drivable par 4's and reachable par 5's as long as you are playing the proper tees which is demanded of you from the starter. Don't expect to play it "all the way back" unless you can prove you are an expert. You will notice immediately that a left miss or favoring the left side of most of the fairways allows you to avoid the most trouble and the fairway bunkers with the exception of holes 10-11 and to a lesser degree the road hole 17th. Speaking of which, the tee shot on the road hole is unique and cant be duplicated. You will find yourself with 150 foot putts with the double greens and also using putter from well short of the green because the lies can be very tight but most every hole is not front by any bunkers and few forced carries and you have many creative options around and in front of the greens. This walk is unmatched on earth and you MUST play the Old Course if you love golf. When its over, dip into the Jigger Inn and the Dunvegan to re live the experience with a pint. History on the walls and the best post round haunts in town. If the old course doesn't rival the best experiences you've had in golf Id be shocked. There is no place like the home of golf.