Considered by many to be the birthplace of modern golf, St Andrews Old Course is one of the oldest and most revered courses in the world. Established in 1552 in the town after which the course takes its name, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has its clubhouse at the former Hamilton Hall, just off the first tee. It is one of many clubs that have playing privileges on the course, but is open to the general public as well.
A BUNNY HISTORY
In 1552, Archbishop John Hamilton (after whom the clubhouse was named) gave the people of St Andrews permission to play golf, which had quickly become a popular sport over the last century, on the links outside the town. The course was relatively undeveloped for two centuries, and near the turn of the 18th century St Andrews Links went bankrupt and the greens were sold to rabbit farmers. After decades of legal battles between farmers and golfers, local landowner James Cheape bought the land and is credited as having saved the course, and indeed the sport as a whole. Soon, 22 local noblemen formed the Society of St Andrews Golfers, a precursor to the now governing body of the Royal and Ancient sport (outside of the Americas and Mexico).
SHAPING THE GAME
In the opinion of many golfers, the Old Course was vital to the development of how the game is played today. The most well-known evolution was the creation of an 18 hole course. At first, there were 22 holes on the St Andrews Links, but competitors soon pushed for the first and last four holes to be merged into four total holes, bringing the grand total to 18 all round. In addition, the Old Course is the home of The Open Championship, pioneered in 1873 and played on the course every 5 years. It is considered by many to be the pinnacle of the sport.
The course’s unique features include the expansive double greens, with seven greens sharing two holes each and the other four holes having individual greens. The course also features one of the most iconic attractions in golf: the Swilcan Bridge that spans the first and 18th holes. Every player who finishes the 18th hole walks across the bridge, leading to famous pictures of most winning golfers being taken as they crossed it. The course is also unique in that it can be played both clockwise and anti-clockwise, as well as having 112 bunkers, each individually named and displaying its own history.
One of golf’s most famous names, Bobby Jones first played at St Andrews Old Course in the 1921 Open Championship. He hit his ball into a bunker on the 11th hole during the third round and after four swings attempting to get it out, he walked off the course in defeat. He returned to the Championship six years later, winning it as well as seeing more back-to-back wins afterwards, wowing crowds. Later in life, he said he loved the course and town like few others, and in 1958 was given the key to the city, becoming only the second American in history to ever receive such an honour, after Benjamin Franklin in 1759.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Scone Palace Caravan Park, Stormontfield Road, Scone
Tayside, Scotland, PH2 6BB
+44 (0)1738 552 323
- Address: Golf Place / West Sands Rd, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, UK, KY16 9XL
- GPS: 56.34353611,-2.803030556
- Phone: 0044 (0)1334 466 666
- Part of UK: Scotland
- Sat Nav Postcode: KY16 9XL
- Entrance Fees: Yes
- Disabled Access: Yes
- Visibility from Road: Excellent
- Image Credits: Header Image: J Patava