Scotland’s Golf Coast
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over the planet St Andrews is renowned as the spiritual home of golf. For many
golfers playing on St Andrews Old Course is a bucket-list ambition. But there
is much more to St Andrews than just the Old Course and far more to this
historic city than golf.
beautiful coastline of fast-draining fairways, sand dunes, wispy white grasses,
hobby falcons hovering above clumps of Scottish thistle and yellow bursts of
gorse, the Old Course is just one of 11 courses running along the shores of St
the land on which St Andrews Old Course is publicly owned, men - with a
handicap of 24 or lower - and women with 36 or lower - have an opportunity of
playing this historic course - but demand is colossal, and players have to take
their chances in the ballot. If you are hoping to play the Old Course remember
to pack your handicap certificate.
you are unlucky in the ballot you can taste golf as the professionals play it
at the two courses within the 520 acres of the Fairmont St Andrews. Recently 11
holes from the Kittocks course and 7 from the Sam Torrance course have combined
to create one of the final qualifiers for the British Open. In 2019, 80 golfers
completed for just 3 places at Port Rush and in 2020 a further 80 will compete
for places at the British Open Royal St George’s at Sandwich.
Kittocks and the Sam Torrance course with their babbling brooks, impenetrable
rough, double greens, stone walls and steep braes (Scottish/ Sassanach
translation: hills) channel the spirit of the Old Course. With golfers often
hitting blind from the tees, St Andrews’ cohort of professional caddies earn
their haggis, tatties and neeps by showing visitors around the courses, telling
them how to read lines on the emerald velvet greens.
St Andrews golfers are not just playing against their opponents, they are also
taking on the elements. If a gale blows in, it may be worthy of mentions on
Radio 4’s shipping forecast. Since the days when shepherds first crafted a
wooden club this has been a tough, capricious coastline for golf. Swirling
winds make golf as much as a mental challenge as a physical test. In this
ultimate golfing landscape this is a place to take a wee nip from the hip-flask
and summon up the spirit of Braveheart before teeing off into the jaws of the
Rabbie Burns, Scotland’s national poet, was thinking of golf when he wrote
those famous lines, “The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley”.
(Scottish: Sassenach translation: The best laid plans of mice and men can often
matter how much those golfers, competing for a place at the open planned and
trained, the hand of fate can pull their ball into oblivion in the rough or
into one of the timber-revetted bunkers. These are deep, deep bunkers,
sometimes with wooden steps leading down into the golfing abyss. Or will fate
carry your ball out towards a bobbing boat catching seafood for your supper.
golf and spas are going hand-in-hand. The Fairmont St Andrews has a
physiotherapist and masseurs to soothe away the tightness of golf and travel.
Golfers travel from the USA, Japan and sometimes beyond for a taste of golf in
its ancient home.
there is far more to St Andrews than just golf. Scotland’s oldest university,
over six centuries old, with its Oxford and Cambridge style quads, had brought
fame and fortune to this coastal town. After all it is as one cafe’s slogan
tells visitors, “Where Wills and Kate met (for coffee).” With such unofficial
royal endorsements, it’s no surprise that St Andrews is blessed with more than
its fair share of chic cafes, trendy boutiques and excellent eateries. And, of
course, returning to golf, the St Andrews Old Course shop ...
St Andrews makes for a good base for playing its two courses and visiting
the town too.
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