St Andrews - The Home of Golf
Whilst St Andrews has so much to offer, many flock to this Scottish destination for one reason: to play golf. St Andrews boasts a rich heritage which includes the establishment of the modern game of golf. Known as the birthplace of golf, St Andrews is considered the Mecca of the golfing world. With such an exceptional claim to fame, Scottish golf courses have a high reputation and the seven courses in the St Andrews Links are some of the most impressive in the country in addition to some of the most iconic in the world. The Old Course at St Andrews was the first official golf course established and is considered a pilgrimage site in the world of golfing.
Golf history in St Andrews
Golf was established in St Andrews in the early 1400s when it is thought the earliest games of modern golf were played. Whilst disputed by the Netherlands, claims are weak and St Andrews is widely accepted as the birthplace of golf. Golf quickly grew in popularity and in 1457, golfing was outlawed alongside football by King James II of Scotland as it was deemed citizens should be at military training. It was instead encouraged to attend Church and practise important skills required for the army such as archery. The act introduced to ban golf is the earliest documented evidence of the existence of the game. Succeeding monarchs kept the golf prohibition in place until 1502 when King James IV became a golfer and changed the ruling.
The Old Course of St Andrews Links is the oldest golf course in the world and the most popular to play in Scotland. The Old Course originally featured 22 holes but was condensed to 18 after some holes were deemed too short and combined. This change sparked the standard game of golf we know across the world. St Andrews Links has expanded to seven courses over the last 600 years. In addition to the seven courses of St Andrews Links, a further three courses can be found in St Andrews.
In 1854, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club was founded and became the governing body of golf across the world with the exception of the US and Mexico. In 2004, a spin-off organisation, The R&A, was created separating the governing body from the golf club. The R&A has headquarters in St Andrews and continues to be the ruling body of golf across the world with the exception of the US and Mexico where it is governed by the UGSA. The R&A also hosts and runs the Open Championship.
Golfing in St Andrews
Whilst pros golf the St Andrews Links and tournaments are a frequent event, in general, golf is a relaxed affair in St Andrews. Whilst golf is often seen as an elitist sport in many parts of the world, in the land of its birth, golf is enjoyed across the social spectrum. With a mixture of courses set within luxury estates to relaxed courses on council grounds, there is something on offer for every golfer. The golf courses of St Andrews are also open to the public with only the Old Course requiring a handicap.
Built upon a naturally formed coastal margin, St Andrews golf courses boast outstanding scenery surrounded by the sea and the countryside. The very definition of golf with a view, players at St Andrews can tee off with an exceptional backdrop. St Andrews is also home to some of the most impressive golf clubs. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, set in its honey-coloured citadel overlooking the 1st and 18th holes of the Old Course, is the most prestigious golf club in St Andrews. The private members clubhouse was built in 1854 and may only be entered by invitation except on St Andrews’ Day when the ground floor is open to the public for tours.
Golf enthusiasts will truly appreciate the significance of visiting St Andrews, however, non-golfers will also enjoy the golfing community here. The relaxed environment of St Andrews golf courses welcomes everyone from professional or experienced golfers to complete beginners. The town is also home to The R&A World Golf Museum offering a fascinating introduction to the world of golf through immersive and interactive exhibits.
How much does a round of golf at St Andrews cost?
Rates to play golf at St Andrews vary by both course and season with prices peaking during the summer months. The most sought after course to play on is the Old Course. In 2022, peak rates (April and October) are £270 with shoulder seasons costing £190 and low season (November to March) coming in at £135.
Can anyone play at St Andrews golf course?
Home to seven golf courses, the St Andrews Links are open to the public. All courses can be enjoyed by members of the public but the Old Course has handicap restrictions. To play at the Old Course, you must have a handicap of 24 (men) or 36 (women). The Old Course is also the most difficult to secure a tee time. If you have difficulty securing a tee time, you can visit the Old Course on Sunday’s when the course is open to the public as a park.
How much does membership cost at St Andrews golf course?
Membership pricing varies by course in St Andrews and there is a golf club to suit every budget. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club is the most iconic St Andrews club and membership is available by invitation only. Meanwhile, The St Andrews Golf Club is one of the most prestigious and oldest in the world with a clubhouse overlooking the Old Course. Many golf clubs, including St Andrews Golf Club, keep their pricing structure close to their chest. You can obtain accurate and detailed information regarding membership fees by contacting the course or club directly.
Can non-members play St Andrews?
Yes, all of St Andrews courses are open to the public. The majority have no restrictions however, the Old Course has handicap requirements of 24 for men and 36 for women.
The Home of Golf
You owe it to yourself to experience, at least once in your lifetime, the commonly accepted birthplace of golf – St. Andrews. St Andrews Golf Links has six beautiful courses.
Where To Stay
St Andrews has a range of quality accommodation, from hotels to guest houses. Here we recommend accommodation for you to book in order to fully enjoy your stay in Fife.
What makes St Andrews & Fife great?
About St Andrews has visitor information for accommodation in St Andrews, things to do when visiting and enjoying the spectacular selection of world famous golf courses in Fife, Scotland.
Education At St Andrews University
St Andrews is Scotland’s 1st University and the 3rd oldest in the UK, upholding academic excellence.
Exciting Outdoor Activities
A wide range of activities in St Andrews keep adults & children occupied and content.
St Andrews has a range of quality accommodation, from hotels, guest houses and self catering.