ST ANDREWS CASTLE COURSE

St Andrews castle course

Those excluded by the handicap ceiling on the Old Course can instead satisfy the boast to have “played St Andrews” by taking the opportunity to pit themselves against the St Andrews Castle Course

  

Opened 2008
Yardage Championship white tees 6759 yds
Par 71
Scottish Ranking 27th
Handicap Restrictions No handicap restrictions apply

 

St Andrews Castle Course

The Course itself

There is perhaps something slightly divine about the the St Andrews Castle Course in that it occupies a more lofty position perched above the town of St Andrews looking down onto the home of golf from the heavens. It is the most recent addition to the clan St Andrews, and its probably the one which is most out of kilter. To no small extent, this owes everything to available parcels of land forcing the development south.

‘The Castle’ isn’t strictly a links course in the truest sense, yet it borrows heavily from the links tradition. A lot of commentators draw the comparison instead with ‘Pebble Beach’. The reasons are obvious. The St Andrews Castle Course winds its way along a cliff-top. This is probably just a bit too simplistic though to say ‘Pebble’. The Castle course overlooks an ancient town, and try as we might to imagine it, the North Sea ain’t the Pacific! It would perhaps be more helpful to view it exactly as it is, a stimulating cliff-top course in St Andrews

The course plays on two loops of nine, which involves climbing from the club house to the higher tees, and then cascading back down again only to reproduce the procedure for a second time. The introduction of hillocks that have been moulded to obscure, does ensure that unlike its illustrious neighbour a lot of the holes give the impression of playing in isolation. In ambience, they’re perhaps closer to the classic dune systems of Cruden Bay, or Royal Aberdeen. The humps and hollows of the fairways are definitely of a links nature, so to is the thick gorse and whins. The bunkering is a notable point of departure however, and is much closer to American ‘sand traps’ than traditional Scottish pot bunkers.

The sea is an omni-present partner, and nothing short of awe inspiring at this elevation as you look out over it. Perhaps the most beguiling thing about the St Andrews Castle course however is the way the town of St Andrews below is used to frame the aesthetic experience. Let’s not forget that St Andrews is a pretty town with a skyline of ancient towers and university buildings. The golf course succeeds magnificently in bringing these viewing lines into your game.

The Old Course pretty well corners the heritage market, but let’s not forget it’s a very old design. Modern architects have many more options open to them. The Castle has a few ‘contenders’, and is a long way from being a push-over. Perhaps the most intimidating is the 17th; the par-3, ‘Braes’, which involves flying a ravine. ‘The Braes’ can exact a particularly high tariff on anything wayward

The Old course is comparatively bleak. We have little doubt that the Castle course is aesthetically the more pleasing, but it will always be ‘the other’ course alongside its iconic neighbour – a bit of a shame really, but both understandable, and unavoidable

 

TO VIEW THE HOLE-BY-HOLE GUIDE OF THE ST ANDREWS CASTLE COURSE CLICK ON CLUB CREST

Buggy hire, Trolleys, Caddies and Clubs

Driving Range Available Yes
Rental Carts Available No
Rental Trolleys Yes
Caddies Yes – gratuity at own discretion
Rental Clubs Available Yes
Pro Shop Yes

 

When playing Scotland you are very much in the heartland of the sports traditions. In a lot of cases this won’t extend to 20th century inventions such as buggies/ carts. You are invited to take a step-back into history to a large extent and play a round in the manner more akin to how the game was originally conceived. This is quite normal for the top courses. St Andrews requires a medical certificate before allowing the use of a course vehicle.
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