One of the world’s oldest and most exclusive golf clubs, St Andrews has been associated with many internationally renowned golfing champions. Founded in 1843, it runs five tournaments each year, and is in the picturesque medieval town of St Andrews, pictured, home to one of Europe’s oldest universities, and also where Prince Wiliiam met Kate Middleton!
Formally known as St Andrews Links, and featuring 18 holes, it attracts a significant number of tourists throughout the year, and benefits from good transport links to several other acclaimed golfing venues such as Panmure and Scotscraig. It’s also the home of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, which celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2004 and is one of the world’s oldest golfing organisations.
Hosting 11 Championships
The most notable event taking place here is The Open Championship, which is one of the four major golf championships and the only one of its kind in Europe. St Andrews also hosts numerous amateur events such as the Boys Amateur Championship and the St Andrews Trophy, and now organises a number of events for female golfers, such as the Women’s British Open.
Europe’s Leading Golf Course
Despite the rapid growth in popularity of the game across the world, St Andrews is still Europe’s largest golfing venue open to the public, with seven world-class courses where participants and spectators can witness superb views of the photogenic North Sea coast. Although the sport was not widely known until the Victorian period, it was played in St Andrews as far back as the 15th century, and was recognised as a public right by the Archbishop Hamilton’s Charter in 1552.
The Birthplace of the Game
In fact, it was on this stretch of coast that the game of golf was born, catapulted to global prestige by legends such as James Braid and Old Tom Morris, who inspired many other golfers across the world to make a name for themselves right here.
As you would probably expect, St Andrews now has four large technology studios, with dozens of practice bays, and advanced coaching systems. The course is managed by more than 300 people during the busiest season, which ensures that all seven courses are in optimum condition for the hundreds of thousands of rounds of golf that are played here. In 2015, these golf courses span an area of nearly 300 hectares, nearly a third of which is occupied by The Castle Course.
Another often overlooked benefit of playing at St Andrews is its temperate climate. Unlike many other golf courses in warmer locations, temperatures here are rarely too warm or too chilly, and this area of Scotland is reasonably sheltered from the prevailing westerly winds.
Book Your Very Own Golf Package Holiday
Today, golfing enthusiasts can choose from a wide range of outstanding St Andrews golf package holidays, with flights from Edinburgh or Glasgow international airport, and a great selection of budget, mid-range or luxury accommodation.
There’s also plenty to see and do in the town of St Andrews itself, from the fascinating British Golf Museum to the town’s striking ruined 12th-century castle and cathedral. Just a few miles away is the beautifully preserved Craigtoun Country Park, which is known for its charming Dutch Village and elegant Cypress Avenue.
Adrian Stanley is the founder of AGS Golf Vacations, which specialises in arranging golf tours to the home of golf.