St. Andrews old course is naturally on my list of must play courses and this was my first trip 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. I also played Kingsbarns which is another great course in the area.
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.
driving range and short game area
the golf course
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.
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 to the right hand side but of course you will have a longer approach shot to the green if you play too safe, I went for the driver and hit a perfect shot down the middle. I had 52m to the pin.
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.
I hit a driver on the second hole 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.
the back nine at st. andrews old course
I hit my ball into the far right hand bunker and made bogey.
tricky tee shot at the 12th hole at st. andrews old course
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 green. What you cannot see from the tee is all the bunkers down the fairway which you almost certainly will find if you hit it down the middle.
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.
The bunkers at St. Andrews old course has names and I hit my drive into the fairway bunker called “principal’s nose”. As you can see there was no way to get it on the green from there. I hit a sand wedge sideways into the fairway, 6 iron onto the green and made bogey.
Another famous hole at St. Andrews old course 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 down at me….
Top bunker shot on the road hole
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.
A short finishing hole where you just feel the history walking up along the houses and with the clubhouse in the background.
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.
My experience playing st. andrews old course
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 was 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 made 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 my goal next time I visit.