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Episode 68 – 18 Things You Didn’t Know About St Andrews

On the morning of the 144th Open Championship at The Home of Golf, St Andrews Ru Macdonald & Graylyn Loomis share some of the lesser known intricacies of the ‘Auld Grey Town’.

1. St Andrews, Not The Home of Golf?

Musselburgh Links, south of Edinburgh in 1672 lays claim to being the unofficial home of golf. Reports even claim Mary Queen of Scots played here as early as 1567.

2. St Andrews Golf Course, Which one?

The term ‘playing St Andrews‘ is banded about but in fact the town is home to 7 golf courses, one of which is the Old Course where the Open Championship is played.

3. St Andrews Golf Club

Graylyn explains that the courses in St Andrews is enjoyed by a number of clubs in the town all having access to the course. No exclusivity, joining fee or bar levy required.

4. Local Links Ticket

The best value ticket in golf. Local St Andrew residence are granted a links ticket when affiliated to one of the afore mentioned clubs. For around £700 annually locals can play all 7 courses including the Old Course.

5. Golfing Military Personnel   

The now inactive RAF base at neighbouring Leuchars would see active service personnel get very favourable local rates and an out of town Links ticket allowing them access to the course.

6. It’s a Public Course

Come Monday morning the course reopens to the public at the cost of £170 a round. A total of 45,000 rounds take place on the course annually and a total of 230,000 over the 7 courses.

7. Sunny St Andrews

Graylyn points out that the weather in St Andrews while not South Carolina summer is actually quite pleasant. The town sits within one of the sunniest regions in the whole of Scotland.

8. New Course is Old

The New Course which lies within view of the Old Course was commissioned by the R&A and designed by Tom Morris in 1895 in an attempt to manage the growing popularity of the Old Course.

8.1 R&A Members Have Right of Way

As part of the agreement the members of the R&A even to this day have the right of way when playing the New Course.

9. Jigger Challenge 

Students of St Andrews University often partake in the tradition of a late evening round on the Old Course and before playing 18 pop into the Jigger Inn, left of the 17th fairway and own and ran by the Old Course Hotel. Participants then drink as much points as they think they’ll need to play the last and if they fail, they do it all again. Please drink responsibly.

10. St Andrews Cathedral 

One of Europe’s largest and most sacred pilgrimage sights, the impressive ruin of the 12th centenary St Andrews Cathedral located on the south end of town was torn down during the protestant reformation in 1560,

11. University of St Andrews

One of the Europe’s oldest Universities and the third in the UK, academia has always been a part of the town’s unique culture. With 8,000 students and past graduates including Prince William it remains very prestigious.

12. Closed on Sundays

Not many know the Old Course actually closes on Sundays and is replaced by the public enjoying the links for other recreational pursuits.

13. Not Always 18 Holes

Tom Morris was integral to the evolution of golf in the town which included converting the 22 hole format into the conventional 18 holes as we see it today. The course was also played anticlockwise to help spread the wear on the links.

14. Bunkers 

Famous St Andrews bunkers include Hell, Coffin and perhaps best known Road Hole Bunker which make up the 112 bunkers on the course. Only two holes remain bunkerless – 1 & 18.

15. Hamilton Grand 

Graylyn shares one of the iconic landmarks on the town’s skyline, Hamilton Grand formerly known as Hamilton Hall. Read more here.

16. St Andrews Castle 

The final landmark Graylyn shares is St Andrews Castle which was built back over 450 years ago and proved to be a key location during the protestant reformation period. It remains open as a visitor attraction today.

17. No Clubhouse 

While there is a central clubhouse 10 minutes walk from the Old Course first tee there remains no clubhouse or driving range the immediate vicinity.

18. Course Record

The course record of 62 is held by Brendan Grace and Tommy Fleetwood. Will it get beaten this weekend?

Hamilton Grand behind the 18th green of the Old Course (Image Graylyn Loomis)

Hamilton Grand behind the 18th green of the Old Course (Image Graylyn Loomis)

For all things St Andrews visit Graylyn Loomis’ website with a whole secction dedicated to all that goes on at The Home of Golf.

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