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St Andrews is most famous for its historic Old Course, but the Home of Golf has no fewer than seven courses. From a beginner-friendly nine-hole par 3 to the various challenges of its Championship courses, every course has its own character and identity. Let’s take a look at them.
The Old Course
With its vast fairways, famous shared greens, Swilcan Bridge, Valley of Sin and many intimidating bunkers, including the legendary Hell Bunker, The Old Course is one of the most distinctive and celebrated courses in the world. Couple that with the sheer history attached it, including legends who’ve won the Claret Jug there - Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Sir Nick Faldo, Tiger Woods... there’s little wonder the oldest course in the world is one of the most revered.
The New Course
Nowadays, The New Course is anything but. It was built in 1895 by the legendary Old Tom Morris and was given the name purely to differentiate it from its more celebrated neighbour. Rolling fairways and challenging, undulating greens are prominent throughout the 6,625-yard par 71 course, although not to the extent of The Old Course. Situated adjacent to The Old Course, it is neither as expansive nor quite as well regarded. Still, many locals prefer it, perhaps as it offers a quieter round with less waiting than its permanently in-demand sibling.
The Jubilee Course
The 6,742 par 72 Jubilee Course is the Home of Golf’s third Championship course and many people’s idea of the most difficult. Named after Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1897 it opened the same year as a beginner and ladies course, but its location between The New Course and the sea saw its status elevated to Championship layout in 1988. Dunes come into play while it’s also hillier than The New Course or Old Course. Well-placed bunkers are prevalent, too, and they often guard the quick, undulating greens.
The Eden Course
The Eden Course was built in 1914 by Harry S Colt, who made full use of the natural beauty and rolling landscape to produce an exhilarating course with natural boundaries. There are also plenty of deep and strategically placed bunkers to test the most experienced player throughout the par 70 6,250-yard course. Solid putting is also a must on some of the most undulating greens at St Andrews. There are plenty of pot bunkers throughout, although not many straddle the centre of the fairways, Old Course-style. Notably, a pond was added to the par 3 15th by Donald Steel. It’s the only inland water of all seven courses.
The Castle Course
Opened in 2008, The Castle Course is the most recent addition at St Andrews, and is named after Kinkell Castle, which stood on the land in the middle ages. The 6,759-yard par 71 course is set on a rugged cliff top and offers breathtaking views over the North Sea and St Andrews Bay. Just to the west is the famous Auld Grey Toon itself, St Andrews, which the course unveils gorgeous views of, most notably its famous castle and cathedral. If anything, The Castle Course is an anomaly as it seems more manicured and modern than the rugged natural beauty found on the others, but that is by design – it is meant to offer a truly different experience. Undulating greens and rolling fairways abound, making it a genuine test for players of any skill level.
The Strathtyrum Course
Opened in 1993, The Strathtyrum Course is a par 69 5,629 yards effort and is an intermediary between the strictly beginner-friendly Balgove and St Andrews’ Championship courses. The Old Course is world-renowned for its bunkers, and The Strathtyrum Course continues that tradition, albeit with just 15 rather than 112. Nevertheless, they are placed strategically to demand strong iron play. Meanwhile, the greens are frequently undulating and expansive, bringing to mind the Home of Golf’s most famous course.
The Balgove Course
The Balgove Course opened in 1972. It’s the only 9-hole course at St Andrews, a par 30 1,520-yard affair. The course has three par 4s, the longest of which is the 298-yard sixth. Of its six par 3s, the 103-yard seventh is the shortest. The course is primarily for beginners, families and children. Its main features are bunkers and a double green.
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.