St Andrews Castle Course Review

A spectacular layout offering wonderful views of St Andrews.

St Andrews Castle Course Review
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

A spectacular layout offering wonderful views of St Andrews. Very different to the other St Andrews Links courses, it provides an excellent alternative.

St Andrews Castle Course Review

Top 100 Ranking 2021/22 - 89

Previous Rankings

2019/20 - 84 2017/18 - 85 2015/16 - 90 2013/14 - 91 2011/12 - 90 2009/10 -

Summer Green Fees

See website for details

Medal Tee: Par 71 – 6,759 Yards


Changes since previous ranking

Practice putting green re-contoured to provide more useable space. Contours on range softened to better see where ball lands. Some out of play bunkers filled in: RHS 5th fairway, LHS 16th fairway, behind 17th green, hidden ones in first grouping to the right of the fairway.

St Andrews Castle Course Review

The latest addition to the St Andrews Links portfolio, the Castle delivers a different view, different terrain and a different test. It’s an undulating roller-coaster of a course delivering great fun and tremendous variety throughout.

Related: Top 100 Courses UK and Ireland

Set on the cliffs around Kinkell Ness to the south and east of St Andrews, The Castle Course was constructed to a design by renowned architect David McLay Kidd.

Castle Course 14th hole
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Quite different from the courses on the links to the west of town, The Castle was built on land used over the centuries for hunting then farming. 

The terrain has been sculpted to create a natural looking course with rolling fairways and severely undulating greens. Hugging the rugged coastline, the course offers stunning views out to sea and down to the historic town of St Andrews.

Due to its elevated situation, the wind is even more influential here than down by the water, and the direction and strength will be key to any round.

The course opens with a relatively gentle uphill par 4, before crossing the entrance road to a tough left-to-right dogleg with the first glimpses of the town beyond.

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

A major feature of the course, and indeed one that has attracted criticism, is the severity of some of the greens. They have been softened a little since opening, but you will certainly encounter some challenging putts.

There are a number of spectacular holes on The Castle, but the par-3 17th stands out. It’s played over a yawning ravine to a green perched on the cliff edge with the attractive clubhouse and town’s towers and spires as a backdrop.

Assessor Feedback

The Castle Course offers a real test of golf. Bunkers are in play on every hole and shot selection from both the tee and with your approach shots is crucial which really makes you think.

It has a divisive reputation, but you have to appreciate the design that has produced a course of such quality on land that was previously farmland. The routing of the course up and down from cliff edge to road provides plenty of outstanding views.

GM Verdict

A spectacular layout offering wonderful views of St Andrews. Very different to the other St Andrews Links courses, it provides an excellent, additional option.

St Andrews Castle Course scorecard

St Andrews Castle Course scorecard

(Image credit: St Andrews Links)
Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?