St. Andrews, Old course – Scotland

St. Andrews is of course on my list of must play courses and this was my first to Scotland to play golf. Needless to say that I was looking forward to it. It was my 40th birthday gift from my wife, so we all went for a week to Scotland and stayed at the Fairmont St. Andrews which I can recommend. The kids spent most the time in the indoor pool, which was great as the weather was quite poor during our visit in june 2017.

The town of St. Andrews has a good selection of restaurants and is pretty busy this time of year. There are so many golf merchandise stores, but that is expected at The Home of Golf. I went to all of them as they have different brands and found some nice golf clothes and a new Titleist Stadry bag which is well needed in the weather conditions I normally play.

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This store is located right next to 18th green on old course and has a good selection of pretty everything you can imagine
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View of the first hole from the cafe on top of the Golf Museum
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There is a large covered driving range a short drive from the old course
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Short game area next to the driving range. They charge a fee for the driving range and a separate one for short game area. I think they should consider including this when playing the old course, but obviously people pay

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Ready on the first tee

I played the course with a local member and we played from the white tees which is the back tee. (of course the pros are further back on tournaments). We were joined by 2 americans who had been lucky enough to get one of the 13 single player spots available that day. One of them had been there 04.40am and our tee time was 16.50. He had asked the first one in line when he arrived – 12.30am and tee time and 07.15. It is great that they keep this tradition and you have a chance of getting out even though you havent booked 8-12 months in advance like most people do.

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Hole 1 par 4 344m

I can not remember how many times I have seen this on TV and was really considering what to hit from the tee. During the days when I watched people tee off I saw many different tactics and a quite a few OB as well which is amazing considering the space. The water is in play if you hit off-line with woods but on the other hand a longer second if you hit irons etc.. etc…, I went for the driver and hit a perfect shot down the middle. I had 52m to the pin.

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1st green with the old course hotel in the background

The greens were firm so you need to play the shots well short which made my second shot a bit tricky, but this was expected when hitting a driver from the tee. I rolled over the green and didn’t get up and down for par, so a poor bogey start unfortunately.

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2nd tee, par 4, 376m
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2nd green

I hit a driver on the second and had 90m to the pin. They were running quite a long way on the fairways, but I just listened to the caddie and let him guide my way around. My second was a bad shot and I came up short, but managed to save par.

Approach to 9th
Approach to 7th
11th green

I hit my ball into the far right hand bunker and made bogey.

12th tee shot

On the 12th tee my caddie says, either hit it left in the rough or right in the rough. First I thought he was joking, but then he said – or lay it up way short of the hole. What you cannot see from the tee is all the bunkers down the fairway which you almost certain to find if you hit it down the middle.

12th fairway
Approach shot to 12th

I hit my drive right into the rough and a decent approach to the green and only 94m. Then comes the next challenge, a very narrow green. I hit what I thought was a great approach shot that bounced over the green and left me a tricky putt as you can see below.


14th green
Hell bunker on 14 – avoid at all times…
15th green
Principal’s nose on 16th

I hit my drive into the fairway bunker “principal’s nose” and as you can see there was no way to get it on the green. I hit a sand wedge sideways into the fairway, 6 iron onto the green and made bogey.

17th tee

Another that I have watched many times during tournaments. The dogleg is more severe than I anticipated, but the tee shot basically depends on how well you are hitting it and how aggressive you want to be. My natural shape is a draw and being left handed this hole really sets up well for me. I aimed over the O in hotel, but hit my only fade of the day which left me with 214m to the pin. I decided to play the hero shot and pulled it off – a 3 wood to about 4m from the pin as you can see below – finally the golf gods smiled at me….

17th green

One of my playing partners went into the roadhole bunker and made a fantastic save. Almost holed out from the bunker, which I am sure most pro’s would be happy with.

The hotel is suppose to be really good
18th hole

A short finishing hole where you just feel the history walking up along the houses and with the clubhouse in the background.


Yes, everybody has to take that picture…


approach shot to 18th

I hit a driver from the tee and had 101m to the pin. Pulled my approach shot a bit and had a long putt. Made par which was a nice way to finish.

18th green, where you can see how big that slope is in front of the pin and always come into play during tournament play
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Dunvegan bar which is another must visit place in St. Andrews

Old course was just fantastic and I was already planning a second trip when walking off the 18th green. The whole place is magnificent especially for golfers. I shot 80 which I happy with considering how I played. My short game saved a lot of shots, but the course is not very long or difficult. We had pretty good conditions and some wind, but no rain which would make it a whole different challenge. I felt like I could have shot in the mid 70’s on a decent day and that will be goal next time I visit.

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