St Andrews (The Old Course)

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What we say

The Old Course at St Andrews is the Home of Golf and consistently one of the highest-ranking courses in our revered Golf World Top 100 rankings. Chris Bertram explains why it is the best golf course in Scotland.

It is difficult not to slide into cliché when writing about the Old Course.

Widely regarded as the Home of Golf, it can feel twee to hear talk of hairs standing up on your neck when you walk on the 1st tee in front of the R&A clubhouse.

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Yet it is, categorically, aspecial experience and for confirmation, you only need to listen to the Tour pros speak about it. Young or old, British or overseas, they speak about the aura of the Old with authenticity.

Looking down St Andrews Old Course from the Old Course Hotel.

If its history is the dominant factor in its allure, another ingredient is its location in the town, which has its own mystique. It feels like every cobbled back street in St Andrews is steeped in the game, whether it be a golf-themed shop or merely the thought you are taking Old Tom’s favourite short-cut to his favourite watering hole back in the day.

It very much remains golf on the village green, just as it always was.

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It is a course of contradictions, too. It is daunting, by virtue of its place in the game and your eagerness to play well there, yet also comfortingly familiar as a result of the sight of so many iconic landmarks.

There is further contrariety in the fact the Old is simultaneously the most discussed and coveted course in the world while also frequently being deemed bland and over rated.

Well, it is certainly true it isn’t the most scenic course in Britain; it isn’t close to being the most spectacular venue in any of our Top 100s. And it has some holes which might be considered modest if located on other courses. But its combination of strategic merit and peerless history put it at the top of the lists both of most who have played it and all who have not.

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It also has truly great holes. Indeed, ask those who’ve played here for their favourites and they will all likely give you a different list. The Old divide opinion in many ways.

St Andrews' courses from above.

The back nine is generally regarded as the stronger, with the 11th, 12th and 14th a terrific run leading up to a vigorous closing stretch headlined by the infamous Road Hole.

Playing these epochal holes, with their iconic features, rebukes those who say that without its history the Old would be an ordinary course. Just as you cannot judge Turnberry without its views, you can't separate the Old's heritage and atmosphere from the experience, which remains the most special in golf.

READ NEXT: Golf World Top 100 Links Courses in Great Britain and Ireland

  • Course Summary

  • Costs 4 out of 5
  • TG Rating 5 out of 5
  • Players Rating 4.7 out of 5
  • Address
    Pilmour House, , ST. ANDREWS
  • Tel 01334 466666
  • Website www.standrews.org.uk

Course Information

Course 72 par
Course Style -
Green Fees £80 - £170
Course Length 6,721 yards (6,146 metres)
Holes 18
Difficulty Hard 0-10
Course Membership Public

Course Features

  • Course has: Bar
  • Course does not have: Buggy Hire
  • Course has: Driving Range
  • Course has: Practice Green
  • Course has: Pro Shop
  • Course has: Restaurant
  • Course has: Trolley Hire
  • Course does not have: Dress Code
  • Course has: Club Hire
  • Course has: Handicap

Your Reviews

  • 5 out of 5 AMazin

    By Anonymous

    As tiger once said "the best course in the world" it has more history and better greens than anywhere

  • 3.5 out of 5 more of an experience than a GREAT course

    By lexo

    We looked forward to it so much but then all came away feeling let down, the 1st, 17th + 18th are a joy to play to many other holes as forgetful and almost unfair as you cannot see where you are going (you should know better for next time round but how many people can afford it). A big tip from the starter was ''left is right and right is wrong, apart from the loop where straight will only do''. O/A too many people on the course (all with caddies) but please do not let my review put you off as it is a must just for the gigantic sloping greens !

  • 4.5 out of 5 An eye opener

    By JamesSt Andrews fan

    If you've never played a championship course before then this is a real experience. The 1st,17th and 18th are unreal a dream to play. Take a wind beater though, out on the 8th you'll be lucky if the wind is at a dull roar and not the hurricane speed i had to deal with. All in all the clubhouse, bar, shops, town and courses are something for any golf fan to behold. Don't be surprised if you hit over 100 no matter what level you play at

  • 4.5 out of 5 Age before Beauty

    By Craig6

    Standing on the 1st and 18th tees are possibly the most amazing experiences you will ever feel on a golf course! A must play.

  • 5 out of 5 Build up the Anticipation

    By Anonymous

    You have to try this method before playing the course for the first time, it really builds up the anticipation so much you can taste it. Due to a local by-law, the course is closed to players each Sunday so that locals can excercise their dogs over the course grounds. i.e. this means you can walk the course from tee to green and map out the shots you will play in your mind. If you really want to maximise the anticipation, take a pen and paper and note down your plans for each drive, which side of the green to approach from etc... then review your plan that night over a few cold ones in the bars overlooking the course. Then from Monday, if you don't already have a tee time, put your name into the daily ballot, then when your date with the old girl is arranged, take your notes to the course and try to play to the plan you pictured and planned on the Sunday you walked the course. Sheer magic.

  • 4.5 out of 5 The best

    By Anonymous

    I've lived here for just over 3 years now and played this course so many times I've lost count. It may not be as hard as the jubilee or new courses, but it's still the best course I've ever played.

  • 4.5 out of 5 Atmospheric

    By Anonymous

    There is nowhere like the Old Course! It's just beautiful. Try playing it in reverse (the original way)

  • 4.5 out of 5 Amazing experience

    By Anonymous

    It was in amazing condition, and it wasn't windy which was also very good. The pin positions were tough though, but the experience was amazing.

  • 5 out of 5 Once-in-a-lifetime

    By Anonymous

    amazing and great condition once in a lifetime

  • 5 out of 5 OUTSTANDING

    By Anonymous

    A must play if you are a serious golfer to stand on the first tee is an unbeleivable experience the whole set up and town is golf ,golf ,golf.. The prices in the Old Course clubhouse very reasonable

  • 4.5 out of 5 Better than it looks on TV

    By Anonymous

    Even better than it looks on TV. Absolutely immaculate kept course with the best greens i've ever played on.

  • 5 out of 5 Brilliant

    By Anonymous

    Very well layed out.  Brilliant greens

  • 5 out of 5 The Ultimate Test of Golf

    By Anonymous

    The Holy Grail to golfers everywhere and once you get there it lives up to expectations and some! The course was in immaculate condition, the facilities are just great and you never know what the weather is going to dish up! A must for any golfer. Make the pilgrimage.

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