Hotel review

Old Course Hotel Reviews in St Andrews

The Old Course in St Andrews will host the 150th Open Championship next July. As the ticket rush confirms, everyone is pretty excited. The Open is coming home.

I have been fortunate to have an association with the ‘Auld Gray Toun’ for many years.

Family vacations, then university vacations and countless golfing trips; every time i come back i feel like a part of me is coming home too.

When I returned last time, I had the chance to do it in style while staying at the famous Old Course Hotel which is next to the iconic 17th Road Hole.

Owned by Herb Kohler, who also owns Whistling Straits – the Wisconsin site where the United States claimed their unmistakable Ryder Cup victory in September – this is one of Scotland’s finest hotels. From the wholesome spa to the Road Hole bar, everything is of the highest standard.

The bedrooms offer stunning views of the immense links and, pulling the curtains back one morning, any golf enthusiast will be inspired by the prospect of following in the footsteps of the golf titans who roamed these famous fairways.

It was a reminder of why I love playing the Old Course, maybe more than any other track in the world.

St Andrews Old Course

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best in the world

The feeling of playing in the Old Course is like no other. From the intimidating first tee shot in front of the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse to the final putt, you feel like the eyes of golfing legends are on you.

Much on the outward and return journey you head to the Eden Estuary from the 2nd hole and play through rills and hollows past bunkers and walking stones all the way to the bend.

There you come across the famous loop, including the magnificent par-3 11th, which is devilishly protected by the Hill and Strath bunkers.

As for the house, the 12th fairway is riddled with invisible bunkers and the challenge intensifies on the difficult 13th – where are you supposed to hit it?

The 14th includes the giant “Hell” bunker and, just above it, the brilliantly named “Pulpit” from which you can gaze into Hell.

The hairs start to stand on your neck as you play towards the Old Course hotel around the 16th. The infamous 17th is waiting for you. Drive (hopefully) on old railway sheds, miss the Road Hole bunker (and the road) that cost so much in the past, tap into it and breathe a sigh of relief.

The final drive heads down a wide fairway, with nerves still restless as you take a final peak at one of the golf course’s stunning views all the way to the 18th fairway.

Try to miss Granny Clark’s Wynd and Sin Valley before you get in front of the curious passing by. It’s an experience every golfer should have at least once.

And the city offers so much more as there are five other routes to explore. My choice among the peloton – and one that should be considered an excellent track in its own right – is the new course designed by Old Tom Morris.

After a superb and filling burger in the old, characterful Jigger Inn, St Andrews’ traditional shopping cart hangout, it was to the New Course that we headed next.

The holes are difficult and varied, and the course of the course takes the golfer on a most enjoyable journey around the central part of the St Andrews West Links. The firm, undulating fairways lead past well-placed bunkers to greens that are always true and can be fast.

The new is a course that requires traditional golf skills.

Old Course hotel and golf packages

W: oldcoursehotel.co.uk

Links to St Andrews

W: standrews.com


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