What an amazing surprise!
I was hoping to be able to get out on the Old Course at St Andrews, but it didn’t work out. As a single player, it’s only (unless you want to buy a package and pay a fortune) possible to show up early in the morning and hope to be teamed up with a two or three ball later that day. I did exactly this at 7am two days in a row, but more people were their earlier, so no Old Course for me this time.
Rather disappointing, but I’m also happy this happened because I now got a tee time at the newest course at St Andrews – Castle Course.
The Castle course is the 7th course at St Andrews and it’s designed by David Kidd, creator of Bandon Dunes at the West coast in USA. It’s only been open two years for play and it’s not really a true links course because the fairways are created upon clay.
This though a stunning creation from a course design perspective as well as scenic. It’s set on a rugged cliff line overlooking the town of St Andrews. It’s a combination of breathtaking beauty and challenging very good links golf.
The clubhouse is just worth a visit with it’s circular shape and stunning view.
The course is exceptionally fun to play and it’s a good variation of holes. It’s by no means an easy course and it’s a real challenge. Yes, the wind comes in play again and will determine how tough the course will be.
I thought I never would say this about any course among the St Andrews course, but the Castle Course is more enjoyable and you’ll remember more holes from this course then the Old Course. The Old Course is of course the Old Course and magic, but Castle Course is a tremendous experience already now.
There are so many stunning holes, but the following stand out more in my mind:
Hole 6 – 399 yards par 4
Stunning blind hole. It’s like an infinity pool where the fairway melts in to the dark blue ocean in the background. Aim for a white pole that almost sits on top of the water. Also aim left for the ball will kick right. The ocean is not as close as it may seem like and after a good drive you have an easy approach shot. Very good drive followed by a solid iron and two putts for a par 4.
Hole 7 – 429 yards par 4
Dramatic hole with the cliff line on the entire left hand side. Favor right hand side off tee and as well for the approach shot, unless you want to run it up on green. Distance and accuracy needed. A drive, to trouble on the far right side in the rough. Short wedge out of the rough followed by a good iron and two putt for a bogey 5 – OK.
Hole 17 – 174 yards par 3
Very dramatic hole with very deep cliffs between tee and green – a carry is needed all the way to green. Keep your nerves under control and strike a solid shot without fear. The strong wind in my face required a fairway wood. Good strike to the left of green, but the slope brought the ball on to the green. Two put for a par – life is good!
Hole 18 – 533 yards par 5
Dogleg right hole with the dramatic cliff line on the entire right hand side. You need to get over a diagonal ridge (180 yards off tee) with your tee shot to get in position. Second shot is all about avoiding all the bunkers (10 or so) and cliff line on the right. Approach shot to a huge green. Solid shots all the way for a par 5.
Disappointment for not being able to play the Old Course turned in to inspiration and joy when playing the Castle Course. I played really good golf today in the very strong wind. 39 on the front nine, 41 on the back for a total of 80 (gross).
My playing partner from Carnoustie, Michael turned up and we played one more time together. We had a good and enjoyable day – Thanks Michael.
It's a fantastic experience spending a few days at "the home of golf", St Andrews. It's the holy grail of golf and feel it is tremendous and as well learn about the history of the came on site is certainly worth a visit for all golfers.
Here's a short video clip on different ways of playing the famous Road Hole at the Old Course
Castle Course, St Andrews