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.
Television does this course no justice!!!
The time I played the course, I had the best weather that you could have for that area. No rain, very little wind and 72 degrees. Holes 2 thru 7 have more adulation and blind bunkers that you can imagine. There is a snack buggy/truck at the end of hole 9 along with the bathroom. The cost is outrageously expensive. The dollar is weak against the pound. I tried getting a cheaper rate, but it was close to impossible with the number of people that came out to play everyday. If you get the chance to play, do it. And if you have the extra money to spend, go just up the road to Kings Barn, you will be out $400.00 dollars, but it will be well worth it. This place puts Pebble Beach to shame.
Where it all began
Ranked 7 in the world, 2 in Scotland. Mecca. The birthplace of our game. The one course all golfers must play before they move on to the 19th hole-in-the-sky. This might sound strange (consider the source), but The Old Course at St. Andrews might be the most under-rated course in the world. Yes, it’s ranked seventh globally and second in Scotland, but many reviewers say The Old Course is great because of its historical significance, not because of its lay-out and design. I beg to differ. I’ve now been lucky enough to play The Old four times; and every time I play it, I appreciate it even more. It is truly a great trak. Every single shot requires your full attention. There are so many subtleties that come into play on every hole. Bunkers to avoid, angles to take, which side of which mogul to hit off the tee, where to land your approach so it bounces to the green, not the gorse. How do you keep your approach shot below the hole so you won’t putt your ball off the green? You will use every club in your bag over the 18 holes at The Old Course — to me a sign of a truly great course. There’s The Principal’s Nose, Spectacles, Bobby Jones’s Bunker, The Road Hole Bunker, The Valley of Sin, The Swilcan Bridge ... so many bunkers ... so many places you have seen on TV or read about ... and now you’re playing there, yourself. This is where Bobby Jones got his second Open Championship win in 1927 ... Snead won at St. Andrews in 1946 ... Peter Thomson won his 2nd of three straight Opens at The Old in 1955 ... Jack won here twice ... So did Tiger. So much history here and now you’re playing there, yourself. Undoubtedly, you will play two of the most nerve-racking shots of your life at St. Andrews. You will definitely feel the first-tee jitters as you start your historic round in front of the Royal & Ancient Clubhouse. As nervous as you might be at this mythical course, remember the first fairway is 140 yards wide! Worry about your second shot when you need to clear the Swilcan Burn. Your nerves will be tested at the end of the round, as well. Expect to play the 18th hole in front of a crowd. Scots love this game they invented; and they will stop and watch anyone play it. The 18th green at the Old Course is almost always surrounded by the good people of St. Andrews. After all, they do own the course. If you want to guarantee a tee time at The Old Course, my advice is to do it close to a year in advance. Head to www.standrews.com to get started. When you play any of these wonderful courses in Scotland, make sure to take caddies. They will certainly help you navigate these mysterious links; and most will share quite a bit of history, peppered with a few salty jokes.
Must Walk at Least Once (But should Twice) in a Lifetime
Played the Old Course as part of a foursome. I got to the starter at 8:00 in the morning and was placed on a waiting list. Was told that there would be time in the afternoon at about 2:00. Went back at 2:00 and was on the course at 2:15. Whatever you have to do, and there are a variety of options, to get on the Old Course-Do it. To go to St. Andrews and not play the Old would be missing out on the whole place. The most important piece of golf architecture and History await you at St. Andrews. If you don't get first tee awareness here, then you never will. Double fairways, double greens, numerous bunkers (Some obvious; some Hidden) are there for you to enjoy. They say that the more you play the Old Course, the more you appreciate it. I am sure that this is true; however, I appreciated it's greatness during my one round there. Be prepared for real links golf. The fairways are wide; however, you need to hit the correct side of the fairway for approaches to be probable. Being on the wrong side can leave a blind approach, put hazards into play or both. The Greens are large and you will need your Lag putting to be on. For these reasons, a caddie is a great idea. The only fair warning I can give you is that like Pebble Beach, everyone wants to get on to the Old Course. Be prepared for a 5 hour round. When you take the relatively low cost in to account for a top 10 golf course in the world. You might as well play it twice. That is my only regret.
Day to Remember at the Home of Golf
What an experience that I'll never forget. I was fortunate to play the Old Course at St. Andrews on my honeymoon. I was told to arrive early...since I was playing as a single...so I showed up at 3:30am to get in line for the starter. I didn't want to take any chances! And sure enough...there was already one person there! My wife, who wasn't a golfer at the time, tagged along. Eventually...the starter arrived and there was an opening for me and other single players who were lined up behind me. I made the tee sheet! My group went off around 7am. I had a wonderful experienced caddie. From the moment I hit my first tee shot...I had goosebumps running down my body the whole time just thinking about the historic setting. I just thought about the hallowed ground I was walking on and all the great legends who had walked on the same course before me. Getting to hit putts from well off the green and taking lines off the tee I never would have thought about...made for a unique experience. The views were outstanding! I just hit it where my caddie told me. I actually played pretty well. A little rain and wind came up as I started the back 9. I played well on the front...shooting around 43...but the back 9 was tougher and I couldn't avoid the trouble like I managed to avoid on the front 9. That rough is penal! The holes had a nice variety to them. I so wanted to hit my driver over the hotel on 17...but I naturally played it a little safer taking it down the left side of the hotel. Walking over the Swilcan Bridge was so magical. It's wild to see how wide that fairway is! I actually hit it down the right side...little too close to the road but put my approach with a 9-iron on the green and safely over the Valley of Sin. People were watching! There was quite a crowd...probably mostly made up of tourists. What a big time moment! It's truly a unique experience. Savor each minute you're there. Take it all in. And what a charming town. Take time to visit all the historic museums and stores along the road off the 18th hole. The Old Course is a must play for any avid golfer - an experience of a lifetime - and a memory savored forever.
Birthplace of Golf - How can it get any better?
There are those places, like Augusta, Cypress and St. Andrews, that can't truly be appreciated until you have been there and that's the case here. The "Old" course is everything and more that one imagines. The crossing of 7 and 11, is always interesting to see the "right of way". We played 2 straight days and had a different wind, with the same caddies. Recommend you take a caddy to navigate the hidden bunkers, coffins and swales. The history alone is worth the round, if you play well, consider it a bonus!
You gotta play here
If you're a serious golfer and you have the opportunity to play here, you had better take it. The history of the place demands it. It overwhelmed me on the first tee when I was thinking more about where I was than hitting my golf ball. It was a dead shank that drew a few chuckles from my playing companions. After those first tee jitters though the game got much better. The course itself is like nothing you will find here in the States. From blind shots to bunkers that you could hide a small house in, to the double greens, one of which is almost an acre square this will be a round that you will never forget. There is also the added bonus that when your sitting with your buddies in the 19th no golf story will cause more envy than when you casually mention that you've played the Old Course.
No round quite like the Old Course
The Old Course is, indisputably, the most unique links course in Scotland, and an absolute hoot to play. Seven massive double-greens steal the show here, where putts can be well over 100 feet long, and the short game is severely tested. The routing, which is a counter-clockwise direction with a most unusual loop around the back of the course, means pulling most tee shots left will find you in good shape, while pushes to the right could find you out of bounds. There are a lot of reasons why St. Andrews is such a favorite: the town itself is the best golf town in Scotland and probably the world. But the design is ingenious after all these years because changing wind directions make the course play entirely different on a day-to-day basis (I realized this the second time I played the course in a different wind). New bunkers come into play, some par 4s go from brawny to drivable. It's an extremely complicated golf course. That said, it's still quite playable for the average player (particularly compared to say, Carnoustie up the road). It's tough to not get goosebumps when playing the 17th & 18th holes. Enjoy the ride, and be aggressive off the tee.
Play the fabled Old more than once
The experience of playing the Old Course starts long before you step upon the first tee at the venerable “Home of Golf.” Propriety saw it’s original 22 holes reduced to 18 and the template was forever more. Interestingly, if one is not otherwise swept up inexorably in the significance of what the Old Course represents, many depart a maiden tour more bewildered than enraptured. give it time, as time is one of the Old Course’s greatest assets. You simply must play the Old Course, but strive for more than once and give it time for it’s nuances to be revealed, as time is one of the Old Course’s greatest assets.