Old Course - St. Andrews
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Old Course - St. Andrews
Hidden fairway bunkers lurk everywhere on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Images
Old Course at St. Andrews - hole 15
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Old Course at St. Andrews - hole 15
The final of three fairway pot bunkers guard the road to the 15th green on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Old Course at St. Andrews - hole 16
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Old Course at St. Andrews - hole 16
The 16th green on the Old Course at St. Andrews sits near the Old Course Hotel. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Old Course at St. Andrews - 17th tee
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Old Course at St. Andrews - 17th tee
It takes skill and courage for first-time players to hit over the corner of the Old Course Hotel on the famous no. 17 -- the "Road Hole" -- on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Old Course at St. Andrews - 17th green
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Old Course at St. Andrews - 17th green
The stone wall behind the green on the famous "Road Hole" sometimes comes into play on no. 17 on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Old Course at St. Andrews - 1st hole
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Old Course at St. Andrews - 1st hole
A burn crosses in front of the first green on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Old Course at St. Andrews - first tee
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Old Course at St. Andrews - first tee
A golfer tees off on the first hole on the Old Course at St. Andrews, hitting what some believe is the widest first fairway in golf. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Old Course at St. Andrews - Swilcan Bridge
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Old Course at St. Andrews - Swilcan Bridge
It's a big deal whenever a legendary golfer crosses the Swilcan Bridge for the last time on the way to the 18th green of the Old Course at St. Andrews. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Old Course at St. Andrews - Road Hole bunker
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Old Course at St. Andrews - Road Hole bunker
The famous "Road Hole" bunker near the 17th green of the Old Course at St. Andrews has been reshaped in recent years. Notice the hole for a camera in the bottom. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Old Course at St. Andrews - hole 18
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Old Course at St. Andrews - hole 18
The grandstands lining the first fairway near the 18th green on the Old Course at St. Andrews will be packed during the 2015 British Open. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Old Course at St. Andrews - 7th and 11th green
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Old Course at St. Andrews - 7th and 11th green
The pin for the par-3 11th hole (foreground) shares a double green with the seventh hole on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor

The Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland gears up for the 2015 British Open, its 29th major since 1873

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Every five years, the old dame of St. Andrews puts on her best dress and throws a grand party that mesmerizes the golf world.

The 2015 Open Championship will be the 29th held on the Old Course at St. Andrews . The links, set along the Eden Estuary in the heart of the Home of Golf, held its first British Open in 1873, creating a history of memorable shots and unfortunate encounters with dastardly pot bunkers with names like Spectacles and Lion's Mouth.

The cherished links is flat but infinitely rumpled, a maze of double greens, gorse and wild bounces. The empty grandstands taking shape give the grounds a grandiose feel. The Old Course Hotel intrudes upon the famous 17th hole, the "Road Hole," forcing players to hit the most awkward drive over a section of the building to find the fairway. Stray approach shots often end up in a small road or stuck next to a stone wall.

It's pure fun or maddening, depending upon your point of view. A burn dissects the adjacent first and 18th fairway. Any walk across the Swilcan Bridge down the 18th fairway toward the "Valley of Sin" near the green is a special one, whether you're Jack Nicklaus playing in your final Open or one of the lucky hackers who wins the daily ballot to walk on without having to pay expensive surcharges to guarantee a tee time.

Without wind, the Old Course can succumb to the power of the modern game. Let's hope with a little help from Mother Nature that St. Andrews crowns another worthy champion this July.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
Related Links
Seven Scottish links have hosted The Open since its inception in 1860. The experience of playing every one of these fascinating links has defining characteristics and even a drawback or two. Jason Scott Deegan has more.
Golf Channel's Mike Ritz, the lead voice for European Tour coverage, recently took three friends on a trip of a lifetime: six of the top links courses in Scotland in six days. Day two was a visit to St. Andrews.
The Old Course is open to the public on most days, and it costs about the same as a round at any PGA Tour venue open to the public. Here's how to get a tee time.
I've been fortunate enough to make five trips to the "home of golf" and have compiled my top 10 favorite Scottish golf courses.
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The Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland gears up for the 2015 British Open, its 29th major since 1873
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