After Zach Johnson’s Open triumph, here’s how you can play a round at the home of golf on the hallowed turf of the Old Course…
Much like Wimbledon inspires the Great British public to clog up the tennis courts throughout July, so The Open has a similar effect upon golf.
The Old Course at St Andrews hosts this year’s event, as it has done on 28 previous occasions.
What makes St Andrews special is not just that it’s the home of golf, that no other course in the world is so steeped in history or that virtually every great golfer to have ever swung a club has played there. There is also the fact that it’s accessible to the public.
So if you crack open a cold one to watch the final round of this year’s Open on Sunday afternoon and think to yourself ‘next year I’m going to play St Andrews’ you can indeed make the magic happen.
Playing the Old Course
There are two ways to get a tee-off time to play the Old Course. You can enter into the ballot or you can buy a package deal.
Because plenty of people will be having exactly the same thought, the year following an Open at St Andrews always attracts the most bookings.
In fact it is estimated that the odds of you being successful in the daily 4pm ballot can be as high as 5-1 during the peak months of August and September.
If you’re not of a gambling persuasion and actually like a sense of order when you take a break then getting a package deal is without doubt the best bet.
And if you can’t wait until next summer then the Fairmont St Andrews Resort has an offer available from October through to the end of this year (see below this story for details).
Fairmont took over the running of the St Andrews Bay Hotel in 2006 and gave it a £17m makeover in 2009. The investment was rewarded when, in 2012, it was crowned the European Golf Resort of the Year.
A short drive from the centre of town, this five-star venue boasts arguably the best spa of any hotel in this part of Scotland and can list Prince William among its patrons as he regularly used the facilities at Fairmont when he studied at St Andrews University.
There is even a massage treatment at the spa specifically designed for golfers to ensure that you don’t approach the first tee feeling about a limber as the Tin Man.
Aside from its royal seal of approval, Fairmont is also famous for having been the venue for the Northern Ireland peace talks in 2006. Four years later the world’s most powerful leaders gathered there for the G20 summit.
The town of St Andrews itself is rich in recent and ancient history. Local shops do their best to make hay from the fact that aforementioned Prince met Kate Middleton at the University. You can also visit the Cathedral that was built in the 12th century and situated right in the heart of St Andrews.
But if it’s golf that draws you here then it is worth nothing there are 10 other courses in the area.
During Director’s trip we got to play three of them – The Torrance, The Castle and Kittocks. All three boast stunning views of St Andrews Bay and all are challenging in their own ways.
Torrance is perhaps the best for the relative novice, whereas Kittocks serves up a host of dramatic holes running alongside the cliff edge. The Castle was without question the toughest, especially the daunting 17th hole – a death or glory par three playing into the wind, over a ravine, with the green positioned close to the edge of a cliff.
And if all this still doesn’t whet the appetite for a trip to the home of golf then this weekend’s live TV coverage of The Open surely will. Ryan Herman
How to play golf at St Andrews, home of The Open:
Old Course Winter Golf Offer
Enjoy two nights luxurious accommodation at Fairmont St Andrews with three rounds of golf on the St Andrews Links courses, which includes a guaranteed tee time on The Old Course from £269.00 per person. Add a round on The Torrance or The Kittocks from £40.00 per person.
Two nights’ accommodation in a Fairmont Guestroom
Full Scottish breakfast in The Squire Restaurant
54 holes of Golf (Old Course, Jubilee & New Course)
Between Monday 19 October 2015 and Thursday 31 December 2015
All rooms and tee times subject to availability