For most golfers not just in the UK but just about anywhere in the world, a round at the home of golf, St Andrews, would be high on any ‘must play’ wish list. The chance to play on a course so steeped in history and the scene of some memorable Open Championships brings visitors flocking to this part of Fife year in year out.
Not Just Golf
While there’s plenty to keep you interested golf-wise (there are five other courses apart from the famous Old Course) it’s worth spending some time exploring the ‘Auld Grey Toun’ of St Andrews itself.
St Andrews University – the third oldest in the English-speaking world – is worth a look around as is the 400 year old St Andrews Castle and the impressive ruins of St Andrews Cathedral. If you fancy a stroll on the beach, then it won’t be any old beach – the two mile-long West Sands is where the opening scenes to ‘Chariots of Fire’ were filmed.
When you play the Old Course it’ll seem quite familiar thanks to the number of times it’s been on television when the British Open and other golf tournaments have been played on it. As you approach the end of your round, iconic images such as the famous club house and the Swilcan Bridge will hove into view and you’ll by then have tackled the infamous 17th road hole with the formidably deep ‘Hell Bunker’ and the famous wall and roadway running just behind the green.
If your round isn’t going quite the way you’d hoped, you can at least enjoy being on such a historic sporting venue and the views out to see and of the town itself. It’s very definitely a golf experience that’ll live long in the memory.
To enjoy your round to the full, a couple of ideas are worth considering.
Hire a caddy
The idea of striding up the fairway free of carrying clubs or pushing a trolley sounds appealing, but moreover you’ll have the benefit of an expert offering advice on how to navigate your ball around the famous old links.
Learn links golf
Playing links golf is certainly different if you’re not familiar with it. One of St Andrews’ PGA qualified instructors can give you some pointers.
In Scotland you can experience various weather types in just one round, so make sure you have a few clothing options in your golf bag.
Getting on the course to start with
Actually managing to play the Old Course is often the hardest part; the old links are in demand from golfers keen to immerse themselves in golfing history, so you have to plan carefully to get a suitable tee time.
The way to ensure you get a chance to play at the day and time you want is to use the services of a golf trip expert to organise a St Andrews golf package for you.
Organised golf tours
By booking a golf trip to St Andrews through a professional golf trip company, everything from being met at the airport to booking tee times has been organised. An enjoyable itinerary can be arranged to include not just playing the Old Course but one or more of the others in the area.
Many trips incorporate the chance to sample the town itself and catch the sights as described above – and one shouldn’t forget the chance to imbibe a ‘wee dram’ or two in one of the pleasant local bars and pubs and enjoy some top class accommodation and hospitality.
Packages can be tailored to suit your exact requirements and budget; booking an organised tour is the ideal way of relaxing knowing your whole trip is organised and taken care of. All you have to do is try and tame the Old Course.
Adrian Stanley is the founder of AGS Golf Vacations, which specialises in arranging golf tours to the home of golf.