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St Andrews Golf Guide - Where To Golf and More

St Andrews Golf Guide - Where To Golf and More

The Home of Golf Awaits Your Visit

By Brian Weis


If you are considering a trip to the 'Home of Golf' here are a few items that will help you plan your visit. The following guide is a collaboration between Brian Weis (GolfTrips.com) and Fred Alvater (Back 9 Report) based on trip done together in April, 2023.

Where To Golf


Everyone has seen the Old Course when the OPEN Championship is held there and dreams of visiting those hallowed grounds. The OPEN was first held on the Old Course in 1873 and has returned 30 times since. The list of past winners includes the biggest names in the sport, James Braid, Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Peter Thompson, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Both Woods and Nicklaus hoisted the Claret Jug on two occasions.

The St. Andrews Links Trust oversees the Old Course, as well as the adjoining courses, The New Course, Jubilee, Eden Links, Strathtyrum, Balgove and The Castle. Publicly owned, St. Andrews residents can pay a relatively small fee to become a member and play all the courses.

If you are lucky enough to actually play the Old Course the number of walkers and passers by provide a constant gallery for players trying to avoid the cavernous bunkers and three putts on the massive double greens.

Don't overlook the other courses in the St. Andrews Links Trust. The New, Jubilee and Eden are very enjoyable and require a much lower cost to play for visitors. Beware these courses are walking only and the Castle course is very hilly. The New accepts walk up and the Jubilee accepts tee times 24 hours in advance. Visitors are able to purchase a three-day pass that allows golfers to play unlimited golf on all six Links Trust courses, excluding the Old Course. In season the cost for the three-day pass is £350 ($ 435 USD).

The Dukes Course is owned by the Old Course Hotel, sits above the town and provides wonderful views. It is more of a parkland course with wonderful bunkering. It does allow carts to be used and provides a wonderful break from walking.

Carnoustie sits 35 miles north of St. Andrews, but is well worth the hour's drive, or travel by bus from St. Andrews. Regarded as one of the most difficult courses in the world, it has hosted the OPEN on eight separate occasions. It is the site of Jean Van de Velde's historic collapse in 1999, Padraig Harrington's win in 2007 and Francesco Molinari's 2018 win over Kevin Kisner, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Xander Schauffele.

Firth of Forth Coastline


The Firth of Forth is technically an estuary at the convergence of four rivers, into the North Sea. Along its northern coastline sits three well-known links courses, Kingsbarns, Crail and Dumbarnie.

Kingsbarns
Kingsbarns is universally considered one of the very best courses in the world. Golf actually began at Kingsbarns as early as 1793, but the course was returned to farmland in 1850.

In 1922, Willie Auchterlonie laid out a nine-hole course and the old Kingsbarns Golfing Society was re-established. During WWII the course was reverted to pastureland to feed livestock for the war effort.

Construction of the current Kingsbarns Golf Links began in November 1997 under the direction of architect Kyle Phillips and it opened in July 2000.

Kingsbarns has hosted several major tournaments over the years and annually is one of the courses used for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Crail
Crail has two 18-hole championship courses, Balcomie and Craighead.

The Balcomie Course is the seventh oldest course in the world and was designed by Old Tom Morris. It sits along the coast and is a truly unique piece of property. The Craighead course sits slightly higher on land once used for farming. It was designed by Gil Hanse and opened for play in 1998.

On a clear day golfers can see famed North Berwick across the estuary.

Dumbarnie Links
Dumbarnie Links is the newest courses in this region and has received outstanding reviews, since it opened. It is one of only 246 true links courses in the world and though relatively new, golfers feel it will soon rival the Old Course and Kingsbarns as must plays, when visiting Scotland.

Other Local Courses
Kingsbarns, Crail and Dumbarnie are all upscale courses that can stress your travel budget.

A good way to stretch your golfing dollar is to add one, or more of these courses to make your average cost more palatable.

Leven Links
Leven Links dates back to the early 1800's. With its rolling fairways, sand dunes, fast putting surfaces and pot bunkers it has all the elements of a traditional links course.

Over the years it has hosted many national and international competitions, as well as hosting local final qualifying for the Open Championship in 1978, 1984, 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2005.

Lundin Golf Club
Lundin Golf Club remains largely as it was some 100 years ago. The first five holes are in classic links tradition proceeding from the Clubhouse to the Mile Dyke. Players cross the old railway line and play the nine 'newer' (1908) James Braid designed holes. Back across the railway, the last four holes revert to pure links. Not long by modern standards, Lundin nonetheless presents a thorough test of the golfer's skills. For many years Lundin was a worthy host to the Final Qualifying stages of The Open when it was held in St. Andrews.

Anstruther Golf Club Anstruther Golf Club is a nine-hole golfing experience that you will never forget. The par 3 fifth hole is touted as the most difficult par 3 in Scotland. I would wager it qualifies as one of the most difficult in the world.

At 240 yards the green is partially hidden between a steep rocky cliff and the Firth of Forth. A shot hit to the middle of the fairway short of the green will ultimately roll sideways and be lost to a watery grave. The sixth and seventh holes are also difficult par 3's that will challenge any golfer.

For a true Scottish links golf experience at a lower cost, don't overlook Leven, Lundin and Anstruther, when you visit Fife.

North Berwick
Founded in 1832, North Berwick is listed as the fourth oldest course in the world and sits across the Firth of Forth from Kingsbarns, Crail and Dumbarnie.

The course has hosted final qualifying for the OPEN Championship on several occasions, as well as the Scottish Amateur.

Stone fences, berns and gently rolling topography make this a true test of golf.

Along the route when driving to North Berwick from Edinburgh, Musselburgh, Muirfield and Gullane can be visited.

How to Travel


With two of us on this trip, we rented a car from the Edinburgh airport. Beware driving on the opposite side of the road is challenging, plus the narrow curving country roads add an exciting flair to your golfing adventure.

Scotland has a wonderful bus and rail system that can be used to reach nearly any destination.

For a group a packager can arrange a bus, or other travel arrangements.

Tips to Get a Tee Time at the Old Course


There are several ways to obtain a tee time for the Old Course starting with going to the starters shed in the wee hours of the morning and waiting in line for an open spot. If your group includes more than one player, don't try to try this method together. Split up into singles, or a twosome to increase your odds of making the first tee.

Twosomes can also enter the ballot, but the odds of securing a tee time are extremely low as members and packagers receive priority.

If you are traveling with a group, it is advisable to book through a travel packager. There are several of these and are the only real hope to obtain a tee time on the Old Course.

Residents of St. Andrews and members of the course can enter a lottery to obtain a tee time 48 hours before the desired date. We were fortunate to have a friend, who is both a resident and member and was able to secure a tee time for our foursome.

If you are not playing with someone that is familiar with the Old Course it is advisable to hire a local caddie. He can help with avoiding the hundreds of pot bunkers hidden around the course and help identify the best putting lines on the gigantic greens.

Where to Stay


There are several options for accommodations in the St. Andrews area including AirBNB, hotels and rentals. On our trip we experienced two very different options.

The Old Course Hotel sits beside the famous 17th 'Road Hole' on the Old Course. Golfers can hit their drive over a two-story building attached to the hotel to find the best route to the green.

The Old Course Hotel is owned by the Kohler family from Wisconsin. It sits adjacent to the Old Course and everything is first class. Words to the wise, rooms run upwards of $600 per night, so plan accordingly.

If you would like to avoid the hustle and bustle of the Old Toon there are several small villages within a 20-mile radius of St. Andrews that offer various accommodation packages.

Charleton House, just outside of St. Andrews near the coastline at Leven, has been owned by the same family for 11 generations, dating back to 1749. The old castle still sits on the property, as well as, several new eco-lodges that sleep 5-6 people. They include a kitchen, sitting room and back deck that looks down to the Firth of Forth. These provide lodging for golfers visiting the nearby courses, hunters that come for Pheasant season and bikers traversing the beautiful Scottish countryside.

The property also includes an 18-hole course opened in 1995, that saw ex-President George Bush on hand to officially open the course.

Where to Dine


The Old Course Hotel offers the Swilican Loft that sits on the top floor of the hotel and provides a full panorama of the Old Course. The Road Hole Café serves breakfast and lunch.

The Jigger Inn is also attached to the Old Course Hotel and guests dining al fresco are always in peril of a wayward golf ball from the 17th tee finding its way into their repast.

The Old Tom Morris Bar & Grill sits in the clubhouse for the St. Andrews Links. It is the perfect place for a traditional Scottish lunch between rounds and sits near the first tees of the New and Jubilee Links.

Hams Hane Pub & Grill is a short chip away from the 18th green behind the R&A Clubhouse. It offers a variety of sandwiches and delectable treats, as well as a complete list of adult beverages.

These are only a sampling of the enjoyable pubs and eateries to be found in St. Andrews. You can sample the rest when you visit the Home of Golf.

Whats on the Menu - Dishes and Delights


One of the most iconic Scottish dishes is haggis. Haggis is a savory pudding made from sheep's offal (heart, liver, and lungs) mixed with oatmeal, suet, and spices. It may sound unusual, but it is a must-try when visiting Scotland. Haggis is often served with neeps and tatties (mashed turnips and potatoes) and a dram of whisky. It's a hearty and filling dish that will keep you warm on a chilly Scottish evening.

Another classic Scottish dish is Cullen skink, a soup made from smoked haddock, potatoes, onions, and cream. It is a rich and flavorful dish that is perfect for a cozy lunch or dinner. If you're a seafood lover, you must try Scottish salmon, which is known for its buttery texture and delicate flavor. Scottish salmon is a popular ingredient in many Scottish dishes, including smoked salmon and salmon pie.

If you're looking for a quick snack, you should try a Scotch pie. A Scotch pie is a small pastry filled with minced beef or mutton, onions, and spices. It's a perfect snack to enjoy while exploring Scotland's beautiful countryside.

Another Scottish delicacy is black pudding, a sausage made from pork blood, oatmeal, and spices. It may not sound appetizing, but it is a staple of Scottish breakfasts and is surprisingly delicious when paired with a fried egg and some mushrooms.

One of my favorite meals was The Traditional Scottish Breakfast. The meal comes complete with two over easy eggs, haggis, bacon (more like American ham slices), toast, beans, and grilled mushrooms and tomatoes. The Scottish have not mastered calling the eggs over hard so if runny eggs are not your thing, ask for scrambled eggs.

And of course, no trip to Scotland would be complete without trying some whisky. Scotland is famous for its whisky, and there are numerous distilleries throughout the country that offer tours and tastings. Whether you prefer a peaty Islay whisky or a smooth Highland malt, there is a whisky for every taste.

Where To Grab A Pint or Drink - The Must Stop 19th Holes


The Jigger Inn
The Jigger Inn is a historic pub located next to the world-famous Old Course in St Andrews, Scotland. It is a must-visit for anyone who loves golf, as it has a rich history dating back over 150 years. The walls are filled with golf memorabilia and outdoor patio seating allows for great views of the Old Course's 17th hole.

Road Hole Bar
Located in the Old Course hotel, the Road hole is regarded as one of the best place for cocktails in St. Andrews. The reason is simple, fantastic views the famed Old Course, classic and original cocktails menu and more than 280 Scottish whiskies.

The Dunvegan is a traditional Scottish pub located in the heart of St Andrews. It is famous for its live music, Scottish ales, and whiskey selection. The pub has a cozy atmosphere and is popular with locals and tourists alike.

The Criterion is a stylish cocktail bar located in the historic Market Street. It features a wide range of cocktails, craft beers, and spirits, and has a lively atmosphere. The bar also offers a small menu of bar snacks and light bites.

The Central is a popular pub located on Market Street. It is known for its friendly staff, great selection of beers, and live sports. The pub also offers a menu of pub food, including burgers, fish and chips, and nachos.

The Saint is a trendy bar located on North Street. It features a modern interior, a wide range of cocktails, and a lively atmosphere. The bar also hosts regular DJ nights and live music events.

The Vic is a popular student bar located on Bell Street. It is known for its cheap drinks, lively atmosphere, and friendly staff. The bar also features a beer garden and hosts regular events, including karaoke and quiz nights.

The Golf Inn is a historic pub located on Golf Place, just a stone's throw from the Old Course. It features a cozy interior, traditional Scottish food, and a great selection of Scottish ales and whiskey. The pub also offers live music on weekends.

Languages and Dialect


Scotland is a country rich in history and culture, with a unique language and dialect. Here are some popular Scottish phrases that you might come across during your visit:

"Aye" - This is a word used to mean "yes" in Scottish dialect. It is pronounced like "eye."

"Dinna fash yersel" - This means "don't worry" or "don't bother yourself." It is pronounced like "dina fash yersel."

"Bonnie" - This word means "pretty" or "beautiful" in Scottish dialect. It is pronounced like "bonnie."

"Braw" - This word means "good" or "great" in Scottish dialect. It is pronounced like "braw."

"Wee" - This word means "small" or "little" in Scottish dialect. It is pronounced like "wee."

"Haud yer wheesht" - This means "be quiet" or "shut up." It is pronounced like "haud yer wheesht."

"Blether" - This word means "to chat" or "to talk nonsense" in Scottish dialect. It is pronounced like "blether."

"Dreich" - This word means "dreary" or "bleak" in Scottish dialect. It is pronounced like "dreich."

"Gie it laldy" - This means "give it your all" or "put in your best effort." It is pronounced like "gie it laldy."

"Lang may yer lum reek" - This is a traditional Scottish toast, which means "long may your chimney smoke." It is used to wish someone good health and prosperity. It is pronounced like "lang may yer lum reek."


Revised: 04/28/2023 - Article Viewed 3,809 Times - View Course Profile


About: Brian Weis


Brian Weis Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.

All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.

On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.



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