January 12, 2017
Known as the “Home of Golf” and “Golf’s Mecca,” St Andrews is on many a golfer’s bucket list for good reason. As those with an interest in golf history likely know, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews was founded over 250 years ago in 1754. We have a special connection to St Andrews as J.B. Carr – the founder of Carr Golf – was the first Irishman to captain the R&A.
St Andrews has hosted The Open 29 times dating back to 1873 and the aptly named Old Course is the oldest and most iconic golf course in the world. While a round on the Old Course may anchor your Scottish golf vacation – if that’s the case, be sure to book a package with a guaranteed tee time – the southeast of Scotland features a variety of other “must-play” links courses.
Built in 1895, the New Course is St Andrews’ second-oldest course and features undulating fairways and challenging greens. While it may not have a stone bridge or Valley of Sin like the Old Course, it does offer beautiful views of the town and its steeples and is a classic test of links golf. The New Course has only one double green to the Old Course’s seven, forcing more accurate approach shots. On the New Course you’ll want to avoid missing left, while on the Old Course you’ll want to avoid missing right. The New Course is a perfect complement to The Old Course.
St Andrews boasts seven courses, so if the New Course isn’t your cup of tea, you’ll be able to find a course that is. The Strathtyrum Course is considered the most playable layout while the Jubilee Course is arguably the most challenging.
After your round, stop by The Jigger Inn – St Andrews’ iconic 19th hole – for an extensive selection of Scottish beers. If you’ve worked up an appetite, be sure to try the Cullen Skink, a thick Scottish soup made with smoked Haddock, potato and onion.
Just a short stroll from the historic university town of St Andrews, the Old Course Hotel provides the perfect home base for your luxury golf vacation to the southeast of Scotland. The AA five-star hotel offers luxurious accommodations and unforgettable views of the courses, the West Sands Beach and the beautiful Scottish coastline.
Less than 10 miles from St Andrews, Kingsbarns Golf Links is a traditional Scottish links course that sits along the picturesque North Sea coastline. The signature par-5 12th hole bends around the North Sea in a half-moon shape. A Worldwide Top 100 ranked course, Kingsbarns will host the 2017 Ricoh Women’s British Open.
A half-hour drive from St Andrews, Crail Golfing Society features two courses – Balcomie Links and Craighead Links – that combine breathtaking views and spectacular holes for challenging and enjoyable golf. Old Tom Morris designed Balcomie Links and took maximum advantage of its exhilarating seaside location.
Craighead Links – Gil Hanse’s first course outside the USA – is a cliff-top course that offers views of the sea from every hole. No two consecutive holes at Craighead face the same direction, which makes managing the wind particularly challenging. In addition to memorable golf, Craighead offers panoramic views of up to 100 miles, legally protected Sites of Special Scientific Interest bordering the 13th and 14th holes and a World War I pill box behind the 7th green.
Other “must-play” courses on a St Andrews trip include Carnoustie Golf Links and Gleneagles Golf Club.
With so many wonderful links courses, it’s no wonder the southeast of Scotland sits atop so many golfers’ bucket lists.