31 Jul 19
Why St Andrews is the Home of Golf
Boasting the oldest course in the world, St Andrews draws golfers from around the world to experience a game in the unmitigated home of golf. The east-coast, seaside town of St Andrews is just an hour’s drive from Edinburgh.
If you’re a keen golfer, we’ve included everything you need to know for planning the perfect trip.
Known collectively as St Andrews Links, the complex consists of 7 unique courses making it the largest golf complex in Europe. The game has been played on the Links for over 600 years making it undeniably the natural home of golf.
The world-renowned Old Course is one for the bucket list for any golfer. Dating back to the 15th century the course originally consisted of 22 holes. This was later shortened to 18 holes in 1764 by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club who decided a few were too short and combined them. This new 18-hole course then become the standard for courses around the world.
The Old Course still uses a traditional ballot booking system. This is drawn 2 days ahead of play and ensures those in the area always have an opportunity to play the course, avoiding any lengthy advance booking. The trust in charge of the Links believe this upholds the community spirit of the public courses.
Designed by Keeper of the Green Old Tom Morris, the New Course was built to handle the overflow from its neighbour, officially opening in April 1895. The course has the traditional “out and back” layout with the first and eighteenth holes next to each other.
Celebrating Queen Victoria’s 60-year reign, the Jubilee Course opened in 1897 and is considered to be the most challenging of the Links courses. Originally a 12-hole course for ladies and beginners, it was expanded to the full 18 holes in 1905 then redeveloped in 1946 and 1988 to championship level.
As the demand for golf grew, the Eden Course was developed by course architect Harry S Colt in 1914. The Eden Tournament was first played in 1919 on the course with this year marking it’s centenary.
A 9-hole course, The Balgrove was first opened in 1972, then reconstructed in the 90’s reopening in 1993 by the St Andrews Children’s Golf Club. A perfect course for families and beginners, it is the only one in the Links complex which cannot be booked in advance, just turn up and play.
The final course to be added to St Andrews Links was the Strathyrum. Designed by Donald Steel and opened summer of 1993 it provides a challenging warm up to the championship courses.
PLANNING YOUR TRIP
When planning your trip, there are a few key things to consider.
Firstly, the time of year you plan to visit will have an impact. The courses are open all year long with high season running mid-April – October. Expect green fees to increase and courses to be much busier during this time. Also, high season is when you’ll find most tournaments played so keep an eye on busy dates in case these conflict with your plans.
Depending on whether you’re planning your trip around golf or add a round in last minute, equipment and shoes are available to hire. This can also come to your aid in the event of any misplaced luggage. Caddies are also available to hire for the courses - strongly recommended if you are new to the Links as no one knows the like the caddies do!
Such is the community around the golfing town, a shuttle bus is kindly provided to pick up visitors at various points in St Andrews. There is a stop just 70 yards from our front door.
If you’re feeling a bit rusty or would like some pointers from the experts, book time at the St Andrews Links Golf Academy. Providing tuition for all ages and handicaps, instructors use the highest level of technology to assess your grip and game to help you reach your full potential as a golfer.
Make sure you keep up to date with the handy app available which allows you to enter ballots, check shuttle bus times and navigate the courses.
OTHER ACTIVITIES IN ST ANDREWS
After a day on the courses, St Andrews has a variety of things to do and see in the town and surrounding area. For the keen golfers, a trip to the British Golf Museum is a must! Home to over 17,000 objects and regularly hosting free lectures on various topics of golf history, the museum tells the story of golf development through the ages.
If you’re all golfed out, taking in the stunning coastal scenery should be on your agenda. West Sands beach will be recognisable to fans of the movie Chariots of Fire, the opening sequence of which was filmed here. A mere 15 minute walk from the town centre, this 2 mile stretch of beach and sand dunes is popular with visitors and locals for walks in the relaxing sea air. Or take a walk to the opposing East Sands beach which welcomes the annual May Day dip. This tradition is upheld by students of the university who brave the chilly waters at dawn every year on May 1st to guarantee good luck in their final exams.
The university itself is steeped in history, founded in 1413 it is the third-oldest in the English-speaking world behind Oxford and Cambridge. Currently ranked as the 3rd best university in the UK, At the heart of the university is St Salvator’s Chapel which dates to 1450 and a rare example of Late Gothic architecture. St Salvator’s is a stunning building to visit
Located towards the east of the town you’ll find the ruins of Scotland’s largest church in mediaeval Scotland, St Andrews Cathedral which took over 150 years to build, finally completed in 1358. Still standing in the ruins is the 100ft tall St Rule’s Tower. Visitors can climb a narrow staircase to the top of the historic tower for spectacular views across the surrounding landscapes.
No trip to St Andrews is complete without a visit to the famous Jannettas Gelataria. The homemade gelato has been served in St Andrews by the same family for over 100 years. The perfect way to round of any trip.
At Hotel Du Vin St Andrews you’ll find 36 gleefully furnished and spacious bedrooms and suites after a day on the golf course or taking in the breath-taking scenery and spectacular golden beaches. all complete with wonderful Egyptian cotton and the usual HDV amenities our guests are used to.
Why not book your stay today?