St. Andrews Links - The Castle Course
|Red (W)||71||5460 yards||73.0||131|
|White M: 73.6/139||346||404||202||540||536||421||456||141||381||3427||167||402||454||179||400||585||406||184||555||3332||6759|
|Yellow M: 71.9/135||337||394||179||518||504||399||429||129||351||3240||154||385||415||154||376||555||390||174||533||3136||6376|
|Red W: 73.0/131||300||344||145||476||446||355||341||122||314||2843||130||289||340||119||312||509||346||142||430||2617||5460|
Hope for no wind
First time playing Castle as all the negative feedback in publications and some locals had pushed us away in the past. It’s a solid layout that is very scenic and can play very tough. It’s hard to believe that some of the green complexes have actually been softened over the years. This is generally not a Links course but still quite interesting to play. We were blessed with light winds the morning we played and still shot our highest rounds during 2 weeks in St. Andrews. With the wind up, some of the holes likely become near impossible. 17th is a classic par 3 (keep your tee shot left). Definitely recommend caddies if your first trip around the course.
Coming into its own
It's been about seven years since I last played the Castle Course in St. Andrews. This time around it was a much better experience. The course has been softened over the years and off the tee, despite sometimes looking a bit intimidating, it is quite generous. 92 "spill-offs" have been removed since the course opened in 2008. The greens are also a little more receptive. I actually had a really good round going until 17 and 18 when I fell apart.
While the Castle is the newest part of the St. Andrews Links Trust courses, I tend to compare it to Scotland's other modern links like Kingsbarns, Castle Stuart and Crail's Craighead, or Kidd's Tetherow or Bandon Dunes designs. The Castle doesn't hang with Kingsbarns or Castle Stuart or Bandon, but it is also a lot more affordable. Ultimately I think the Castle is a successful complement to the town courses. I should also say that the clubhouse is the coolest of the bunch and worth the trip alone. It has a great menu for food and drink and the locker rooms are sharp, too.
If you're opposed to the Castle because of what you've heard in the past, just know that the course has rounded into form and is only getting better and better, thanks in part to one of the best operations in golf's stewardship. Bring your camera, it's by far the most scenic from 1 to 18 between the town and Kingsbarns.
The castle on the hill
The Castle Course was really intriguing to me as we made our way to St. Andrews. I knew about David McClay Kidd and the work he had done at Bandon Dunes. Was also aware of the rating that The Castle Course received in Tom Doak’s Confidential Guide. I am happy to say that the round far exceeded my expectations. From my research, the course has been softened a bit since its opening about 10 years ago. The course is located a few miles from town up on a hill overlooking the sea and the town of St. Andrews. The course is built on a meadow, but you wouldn’t know it based on the finished product that includes severe undulations in the fairways and one the greens. You really need to plot your way around this track and are far better off playing conservative because you will lose balls. The best way to make your way around is with the course guide and a laser. Have a good look at the book before picking your target.If you play, make sure to hit it further left on the tee balls at both 17 and 18, everything feeds severely to the right. As for the off course elements, the clubhouse is shaped like a spaceship and offers great views and a solid place for lunch and a pint.
This Beauty is a Beast
So many negative things have been written about the Castle Course at St. Andrews. Everyone says the course and the greens are just too hard. First off they're right, I've never played a course that difficult, but the greens weren't awful by any means. I had a few circus putts but they were cool. To put in perspective how hard it is, I had two pars and I am a 9 handicap. My round was filled with bogeys. However I have zero regrets. This course was one of the most beautiful I'd ever played. Having played the Old Course twice the day before, I knew I couldn't have the same expectations, but this course was just gorgeous. I really enjoyed a few holes. The 17th is an all-world Par 3 (which I luckily got one of my two Pars on). I think the bottom line for this course has to be not comparing it to the Old Course or Kingsbarns and just appreciating it for what it is. The best thing I've heard about the Castle was "leave the scorecard in the bag and take out the camera."
Don't overlook this one while in town
So pleasantly surprised by how great this golf course was. It's beautiful from beginning to end and the variety is terrific. This day was extremely windy, making the round challenging but it still was a great thrill to play.
The views are great also. You can see into St. Andrews and down by the ruins of the old cathedral and the par-3, 17th hole is just the best place on the whole course.
The Old and the New always top the list, but if you have time, take a ride over to the Castle. You won't regret it.
Toughest course Ive ever played!
So excited to play this course! Views are stunning and the course was no doubt the toughest course I have ever had the chance to play, and I would play it again in a heart beat! Massive bunkers, extremely undulated, deep fescue, and more elevation changes then expected. The views over the course are amazing and the view of the sea and the town of St Andrews are priceless. Not a very easy course to walk, probably worth getting a caddie or if your able, pay the extra coin for a golf cart. It is a very challenging course and not everyone in our group enjoyed it, but if you enjoy a challenge this is a course fore you! Maybe throw a few extra balls in your bag for this course, there are some forced carries that are on the long side, and a few holes run along the cliffs with straight drops to the water! Stunning!
An American in Scotland.
The Castle Course is different than the other courses at St. Andrews. It does have the best views. A handful of holes play alongside the cliffs and on those greens you can see over the bay into town. I found that this was the most difficult course in St. Andrews. Many of the greens were elevated and heavily contoured. All of the locals seemed to like this one the least. I found that it had the feel of an American Resort. The staff was accommodating, the rounds played about 4:15 each, there was a place to get food on the turn, etc. Due to the views and non-links play, I felt like a was playing an American Faux-Links. Called a links because it was by the sea. The tee shots did seem links-like with plenty of roll. It was on the approach shots that I felt like an aerial game was best. There were a few holes with bump and run or putt off the green options, but not many. The course itself is a very good one. There is a good mix of long and short par 3s and 4s. The holes on the cliff-tops are breathtaking. It might have been the most challenging of my trip. I wouldn't want to find out how difficult it would be in a wind. Many locals were telling me that they shoot a half dozen shots over their handicap. If you are looking for a genuine Scottish links experience, then I would say to avoid this. If this course was in the States, then I would be tempted to give it 5 stars. It is just that when in Scotland, I want an authentic links. If you want to do something different, or you miss the resort feel, then this might be your course.