Welcome to St Andrews Links,
the Home of Golf, where golf has been played for over 600 years. The Old Course is the oldest and most famous golf course in the world. Every great golfer has played here at least once. Every amateur golfer aspires to play here. It’s not uncommon to get a little nervous on the 1st tee. After all, many hundreds of people can be watching you as you drive off. We occasionally see low handicappers or even scratch golfers have an air shot, a complete miss. In a couple of months, we look forward to hosting the greatest amateurs in the world to the St Andrews Links Trophy. This year, for the first time, this will be held in association with Allianz, our new Global Partner. In 2010, we will host for the 28th time the Open Championship. The anticipation is already building. We’re certain that we’ll have a truly great Open Championship in 2010. So why don’t you now treat yourself to the delights of the Old Course.
(Alan McGregor, Chief Executive of St Andrews Links Trust)
Allianz – The Global Partner
Allianz is proud to be the first and only Global Partner of St Andrews Links. It is a partnership founded on a deep belief in tradition and commitment, and the shared values of quality, excellence, attention to detail and forward thinking. Pioneering environmental sustainability is of key importance to both partners. Allianz also sponsors the St Andrews Links Trophy.
“600 years after inventing the game, St Andrews Links has found a partner to play with. St Andrews Links, the Home of Golf, has entered into a global partnership with Allianz, one of the world’s leading financial services companies. We share common values with Allianz. We’re both committed to quality and excellence, both dedicated to detail and forward thinking. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship. St Andrews Links and Allianz – where tradition meets commitment.”
Alan McGregor, Chief Executive of St Andrews Links Trust, at the St Andrews Clubhouse
The courses and challenges of St Andrews Links
Home to 117 holes of golf – one 9-hole and six 18-hole courses – St Andrews Links has something for everyone. For a real challenge, golfers can head for the three championship courses – the Old, the New and the Jubilee. The beautiful Eden Course is less intimidating but still offers an amazing experience. The Strathtyrum Course is ideal for high handicappers, while the 9-hole Balgove Course is perfect for beginners. The new Castle Course – opened in 2008 – completes the group of seven challenging, breathtaking courses.
Evolution of the Courses
The original course at St Andrews was simply called St Andrews Links. With the addition of a second course in 1895, the commonsense Victorians of St Andrews called it the New Course and the former Links Course became the Old Course. In 1897, the Jubilee Course opened, named in honour of the 60th anniversary celebrations of Queen Victoria’s coronation. The Eden Course was created in 1914 and these four courses made up St Andrews Links for almost sixty years. The 9-hole Balgove course was laid out in 1972 and redesigned by Donald Steel in 1993. Steel also built the Strathtyrum Course, which opened in July 1993. The latest opening was The Castle Course in 2008, bringing the total to seven.
Named after the farm on which it is built, the popular nine-hole Balgove course is one of the seven courses that make up St Andrews Links. It opened in 1972 and was remodelled in 1993. The Balgove is very popular among families and beginners, not just because of its length – it also has bunkers and a double green for the full, authentic golfing experience. The majority of the local children learn to play on the Balgove.
The Castle Course
Opened in July 2008 by HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York, The Castle Course is the latest challenge at St Andrews Links. This coastal course is located two miles from St Andrews town centre and was created on a former potato farm. It was designed by David McLay Kidd, a Scot renowned for his work on courses such as Bandon Dunes in Oregon, who succeeded in designing an exciting links course out of the formerly flat farm land. After only four months in operation The Castle Course was included in the prestigious Golf Digest Top 100 Courses ranking.
By 1913, the Old, New and Jubilee Courses were so popular that a fourth course was called for. A year later the Eden Course was born. The acclaimed course architect Harry S. Colt made the most of the area’s natural assets and partially buried field boundary walls to create a course of organic beauty. The Eden Course was updated under the direction of Donald Steel in 1989. It is a course packed with stunning beauty and character, and is slightly more forgiving than the other three.
Now well into its second century, the Jubilee Course, named in honour of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, has developed from a basic 12-hole layout into perhaps the toughest golf challenge at St Andrews. It was created on a narrow strip of land between the New Course and the sea and originally intended for ladies and beginners. Around 1902, David Honeyman, Tom Morris' right-hand man, suggested extending the course to eighteen holes – completed in 1905 at a cost of 150 British pounds. Willie Auchterlonie, Open champion of 1893, supervised ongoing improvements to the course between 1938 and 1946. He famously declared: "some day, this will be a championship course". Then, in 1988, the Jubilee Course attained championship standard following Donald Steel’s redesign. It was officially opened by U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange in 1989, and Willie Auchterlonie’s prediction had finally come true.
Located in the shadow of its illustrious neighbour the Old Course, the New Course was opened in 1895 in response to golf’s growing popularity. It was designed by B. Hall Blyth and laid out by Old Tom Morris and his right-hand man David Honeyman. This classic links course has the traditional out-and-back layout, shared fairways and a double green at the 3rd and 15th holes.
The history of the Old Course is bound tightly to the history of the game of golf itself. The standard 18 holes that we play today were established on the Old Course in 1764. It was originally 22 holes but it was decided to reduce it by two short holes on either side to create an 18 hole course. The original track through the bushes on which the course evolved was so narrow that golfers played to the same holes going out and coming in. As the game’s popularity exploded, golfers in different matches found themselves playing to the same hole from opposite directions. To ease the congestion, two holes were cut on each green and marked with white flags for the first nine and red flags for the second nine.
When Old Tom Morris created a separate green for the 1st hole it became possible to play the course in an anti-clockwise direction. For many years, the course was played clockwise and anti-clockwise on alternate weeks, but now the right-hand circuit has become the accepted direction.
The Open Championship was first played on the Old Course in 1873. With the 28th staging of the world's premier golf event taking place again on the Old Course in 2010, St Andrews has held the event more often than anywhere else. In modern times, the Dunhill Cup and the subsequent Alfred Dunhill Links Championship have been played at St Andrews since 1985, while the Walker Cup, the Amateur Championship and a host of other professional and amateur competitions for men and women have been held over the fabled Links, including the Ricoh Women’s British Open and the Curtis Cup.
Swilcan Bridge & Swilcan Burn
The Swilcan Bridge on the 18th hole is one of golf's most famous landmarks. It is thought to have been a gateway into the town for pilgrims and packhorses entering St Andrews from the old harbour at Guardbridge. The 1st hole on the Old Course takes its name from the Swilcan Burn, which guards the front edge of the green.
Road Hole and Road Hole Bunker
The 17th hole at St Andrews Links, the infamous Road Hole, has often been cited as the hardest par 4 in the world. Named after the turnpike road running immediately behind the green it also features a tee shot played over a building and a green that slopes into the treacherous Road Hole pot bunker. The Road Hole has been the nemesis of many of the top golfers: it cost Tom Watson the 1984 Open, and its bunker held Tommy Nakajima for four shots in 1978, derailing his bid to win the championship.
The famous Hell Bunker lies in wait on the 14th hole of the Old Course – the longest hole and the biggest bunker on the course. Its sheer face has almost defeated many a professional golfer: Jack Nicklaus himself took four shots to get out of this bunker in 1995. To make it even more exciting, the 14th fairway sits on a plateau above the second half of the hole, which makes the bunker disappear from sight.
The history of St Andrews Links is the history of the generations of greenkeepers, caddies, golf coaches and the legions of people working behind the scenes to maintain the excellence, environmental well-being and mighty heritage of the Home of Golf. The tireless dedication of these teams, both to the game and to every detail of the courses, coupled with the passion of the great golfing champions of history, have made playing St Andrews Links an unforgettable experience for millions of golfers.
St Andrews Links employs up to 65 full-time greenkeepers, with 12 full-time keepers on the Old Course alone. It is a busy job: mowing, fertilizing, irrigating and setting up the pins and tee markers every day, as well as maintaining the quality of the turf. Since the days of Old Tom Morris, the father of modern greenkeeping, St Andrew Links greenkeepers have been the most dedicated in the business. They keep the greens in tip-top condition using only the most eco-friendly processes and products.
Morris, Old Tom
Thomas Mitchell “Tom” Morris Sr., otherwise known as “Old Tom Morris”, was a phenomenal player, club maker, greenkeeper and course designer – the pioneer and father of professional golf. Born in St Andrews in 1821, he was involved in the design of a host of courses across the British Isles. He pioneered groundbreaking technology in turf and course management, standardised golf course length at 18 holes and introduced the concept of course circuits returning to the clubhouse. He won four of the first eight Open Championships and came second to his son in the 1869 Open. Old Tom died in St Andrews in 1908. The 18th hole of the Old Course is named in his honour – a permanent tribute to this remarkable personality.
St Andrews Links hosts a number of tournaments for pros and amateurs. The Open Championship and the Dunhill are the only men’s pro competitions. The Open 2010 marks the 150th anniversary of the greatest golf tournament on earth and will be played over the Old Course at St Andrews Links in July 2010. The top amateur events every year are the St Andrews Links Trophy, in association with Allianz, for men and the St Rule Trophy for women.
The Open Championship
Open Championship 2010, 15-18 July 2010
The Open 2010 marks the 150th anniversary of the greatest golf tournament on Earth. Tiger Woods will be seeking a third straight win at the Home of Golf.
There have now been 27 Opens held on the Old Course, and 22 different winners. Each has walked in triumph up the final fairway into the great arena surrounding the Home Green. Many thousands have been in their footsteps, but fewer than two dozens people have walked off the 18th as Open Champion.
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is a 72-hole pro-am played over three courses: the Old Course, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie. It carries on the tradition of the Dunhill Cup, the foremost international team competition, held on the Old Course from 1985 to 2000. The pro-am pairings for the Dunhill have included many celebrities such as Samuel Jackson and Hugh Grant.
St Andrews Links Trophy
The St Andrews Links Trophy, in association with Allianz, was inaugurated in 1989 and is now one of the most prestigious amateur events in world golf, sponsored by Allianz. Top golfers today such as Ernie Els, Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Justin Rose and Paul McGinley all gained valuable tournament experience playing in the Links Trophy early in their careers. The competition is contested over both the Old Course and Jubilee Course.
Bobby Jones was the first player to win the Double – both the U.S. Open and the British Open – in the same year (1926). A native of Atlanta, his relationship with St Andrews got off to a rocky start: the first time he played the Old Course in The Open Championship. He withdrew after eleven holes in the third round, declaring his dislike for the course. But he developed a deep love for the Old Course and the town. When he won The Open there in 1927, he even requested the trophy remain at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. In 1958, he was named a Freeman of the City of St Andrews. Today, a prestigious scholarship exchange program, the Robert T. Jones Scholarship, exists between the University of St Andrews and both Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Bobby died in 1971. A year later the Old Council named the 10th hole of the Old Course after this great golfer.
The legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus, affectionately known as the “Golden Bear” because of his mane of blond hair, is inextricably linked to the history of St Andrews. He won two of his three Open Championships on the Old Course in 1970 and 1978. The 2005 Open in St Andrews was his final appearance in a tour event. He waved his fans goodbye from the famous Swilcan Bridge.
Golf was introduced to the world at St Andrews Links where it has been played since around 1400 A.D., making it truly the “Home of Golf”. Golf became so popular it was banned in 1457 by King James II of Scotland – he felt it was distracting young men from archery practice. But the ban was lifted again and in 1552 Archbishop John Hamilton confirmed the rights of the townspeople of St Andrews to use the links for a number of purposes, one of which was golf. Today, it is still the ultimate dream of most golfers to play the Old Course and become part of its thrilling heritage. Tiger Woods once said: "To win at St Andrews is the ultimate."
Even though St Andrew Links is the Home of Golf and a mecca for golfers from all over the world, it remains an integral part of the local community. Every Sunday the Old Course is closed to players and open for recreation, allowing locals and visitors the chance to stroll around its beautiful hills. This tradition goes back to Archbishop Hamilton’s Charter of 1552, which reserves the right of the people of St Andrews to use the linksland “for golff, futball, schuteing and all gamis”.
“In the old days the Links land was used for various past-times. For archery practice for young men. For breeding rabbits. For bleaching clothes in the rose bushes. In the early 1400s, golf started on the Links. In 1457 King James II of Scotland banned golf, because he was concerned that his young men were not getting enough archery practice to repel the English invaders. Successive monarchs also banned it until in 1502 King James IV of Scotland lifted the ban and took the great game up himself. Golf then expanded throughout Scotland. To this day, we have a ballot system open to everybody, young and old, men and women. About half the times of the Old Course are given up to the public. The ballot is drawn randomly and the people can play the Old Course and enjoy this great game.”
(Alan McGregor, Chief Executive of St Andrews Links Trust, at the St Andrews Clubhouse)
Innovation has been central to St Andrews since the time of the Old Tom Morris. The 18-hole format that is standard today was introduced at St Andrews Links and it has been a place of innovation ever since. Today, at the Golf Academy state-of-the-art equipment such as the video analysis system “Trackman” has radically changed the face of training. And high-tech maintenance systems on the greens keep the courses in prime condition while preserving their natural balance and beauty.
St Andrews Links puts great importance on nurturing young talent and training and motivating them at the Golf Practice Centre and the Golf Academy. Young players from the town are participating in the junior programmes and children can play the Balgove Course with their parents. In 2001, St Andrews Links Trust formed St Andrews Links Junior Golf Association (SALJGA) in partnership with local golf clubs. One or two of its members have already become national champions and some have competed in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Preservation of the environment at St Andrews Links has been deep in the hearts of generations of course managers and greenkeepers – long before the word “sustainability” was used to describe it. Protecting the coast and courses through non-intrusive technologies and enhancing the natural variety of the habitat has earned the Links an Environmental Excellence Award and made it an example to all.
Environmental Excellence Award
St Andrews Links Trust won the prestigious Environmental Excellence Award in 2004 for its commitment to best environmental practice, both on and off the courses. It is one of only twenty-four golf venues throughout Europe to achieve this award.
St Andrews Links Trust is committed to environmental sustainability and the preservation of the Links for future generations. Practices include keeping the use of fertilisation, pesticides and water to a minimum, conserving water and energy, and recycling. This comprehensive 360º approach to protecting the environment demonstrates an enduring respect for the Links and their place within the community and nature.
The beautiful St Andrews coastline protects all the Links courses. Taking the best possible care of its dunes, beaches and cliffs is of paramount importance to St Andrews Links Trust – and has been since the earliest days of the Old Course. The Eden Estuary, the wide White Sands beach and the coastal paths not only offer breathtaking scenery, they provide a home to a huge variety of bird species and wildflowers. Allianz supports St Andrews Links Trust in preserving this unique coastline.