10 Tips to Get the Most Out of a Golf Trip to St Andrews
In some respects, it could seem to be a rather unremarkable town. For much of the year, it is battered by wind and rain driven in from the North Sea. and even on the most glorious of summer's days, morning and afternoon can feel like they belong in different seasons.
But we are talking about St Andrews, the home of golf, the place where it all began - allegedly. The place that boasts the Old Course, where Tom Morris senior and junior were born and honed their skills. For golfers from all around the world, it is the Mecca. So how do you make the most of a trip to the Auld Grey Toon?
We have a few ideas.
1. You cannot visit St Andrews without playing the Old Course. In truth, you may be a little diappointed by much of it, but your heart will beat a little faster when you stand on the first tee, and who can play the first, 17th and 18th holes without stopping for a moment to consider all the legends who have been there before them? See if you can get up and down from the Road Hole bunker - in fact, see if you can get out of the Road Hole bunker. And stand on the Swilcan Bridge as you stroll down the 18th and remember the emotions as the likes of Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer crossed it for the very last time.
2. Don't run away with the idea that the Old Course is the only links in town - you must also play the New, Jubilee and the Eden, all of which are fantastic challenges and every bit as good as their famous big sister. In total there are seven "public" courses in St Andrews.
3. The Jigger Inn. No trip to St Andrews can be considered to have been completed without visiting the Jigger Inn, located not far from the 17th green. If you are looking for somewhere to sit down and reflect upon your round with like-minded people, this is the place to do it.
4. The local bagmen. If you really want to find out how to play the Old Course, hire a caddie. They know every twist and turn, they know where every pot bunker lurks and they know the right - and wrong - lines to approach every green.
5. British Golf Museum. If you have any feelings about the game of golf, or any interest in its history, then a trip to the museum is an absolute must. It is full of treasures that will delight any golf fan.
6. The seat of learning. St Andrews University was established in 1413 and has attracted some of Britain's finest minds. Make some time to wander around the campus of this historic university.
7. Fish and chips. The town has some of the finest fish and chip shops in Scotland, but DO NOT ask if they sell deep-fried Mars bars!
8. Kingsbarns. OK, so it is not cheap, but Kingsbarns is a fabulous links. The scenery is breathtaking and the course features a series of stunning holes. You will be welcomed like an old friend by the starter, the professional and the clubhouse staff.
9. The beach. West Sands Beach was the setting for the opening scene in Chariuots of Fire. The 2-mile-long beach is adjacent to the Old Course - take time to go for a stroll and enjoy the sea air. Sand dunes on the beach, which have long protected the golf course, are in danger of eroding away, and are the subject of a restoration project.
10. Put your best foot forward. The Lade Braes Walk is a scenic public footpath of about 11⁄2 miles following the route of a medieval mill lade through St Andrews. The walk starts in the town centre near Madras College and runs westward, through Cockshaugh Park to Law Mill.The lade's function was to transport water from a higher upstream point on the Kinness Burn to the water mill in the grounds of St Andrews Cathedral Prior,y where it arrived at an elevated level simply by following the contours of the land. The remains of Law Mill, its grain drying kiln and water wheel are a category C listed building.
For more information about trips to St. Andrews, visit Golfbreaks.Com.