ST ANDREWS is a magnet for every golfer, but there is much more to the “Auld Grey Toon” than simply the Old Course, iconic though it is.
There are no fewer than seven courses in the St Andrews Links Trust stable – the organisation responsible for all the golf courses in the town – including the Jubilee, New Course, Eden, Strathtyrum, Balgove and new Castle course.
Besides those magnificent seven, there is The Duke’s, Kingsbarns, Crail, Lundin Links, Leven Links, Elie and Scotscraig – all within easy reach, as is the Fairmont St Andrews Hotel, which also has two excellent golf courses of its own – The Torrance and The Kittocks.
The New Course is often regarded as the oldest “new” course in the world. A classic links course with undulating fairways and delightfully challenging greens, it was set out in 1895 by Old Tom Morris.
Now well into its second century of life, the Jubilee Course has developed from a basic 12-hole layout into what many consider to be the toughest test of golf at St Andrews.
The Eden was opened in July 1914 and was the fourth course to be built at St Andrews Links, reflecting the growing demand for play on the Old, the New and the Jubilee.
Harry S Colt, whose other designs included Hoylake, Sunningdale and Wentworth, was commissioned to design the course, challenging golfers with severe bunkering, undulating greens and many carries off the tee to reach the fairways.
In 1993, the Strathtyrum became the first new 18-hole layout to come into play at St Andrews for almost 80 years.
Designed by Donald Steel to offer enjoyable golf, the course complements the tougher, championship layouts and is shorter, with only 15 bunkers.
The Balgove Course was originally opened in 1972 and was reopened following an extensive remodelling in 1993 and is designed to be welcoming to beginners and junior golfers, with shallow bunkers, gently undulating greens and wide fairways.
The Castle Course is the seventh course at St Andrews and may well turn out to be the best. Set on a rugged cliff overlooking St Andrews, the course combines breathtaking views with a memorable golfing challenge.
Along with the seven golf courses, there are now three clubhouses, four golf shops, a golf practice centre and golf academy managed by St Andrews Links Trust – the largest public golf complex in Europe.
And it is easier to obtain a tee time on the Old Course than many might think. There are four main ways to do so if you have a suitable handicap (max 24 for men and 36 for women).
One is to apply through the advanced reservations process at the start of September for play the following year. The second is to enter the daily ballot for play the following day. Thirdly, single golfers can approach the Starter on the day they wish to play and he will try to slot them in with groups. Finally, guaranteed tee times can be bought from the Old Course Experience.
Tee times on all the other courses in the St Andrews Links stable can be booked by phone and online at the reservations department. Call 01334 466 718, fax 01334 477 036 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Old Course Experience are based at 5/5C Gillespie Terrace, The Scores, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, KY16 9AT. Call 01334 441 350, fax 01334 479 300 or email email@example.com