It is spelled Old Course, it reads home of golf. The oldest course in the world, for the 30th time in its history, is preparing to host The Open. On this path, the oldest major champions such as, among others, Sam Snead (1946), Peter Thomson (1955), Jack Nicklaus (1970, 1978), Severiano Ballesteros (1984), Nick Faldo (1990) and Tiger Woods have won.
St. Andrews, Old Course
The 150th edition, starting tomorrow in St. Andrews, Scotland, will be a show within a show. Which will be staged on a mythical course, where golf is history and tradition. 112 bunkers, among endless hills, where the wind is often the protagonist.
The Old Course at St Andrews is one of the oldest golf courses in the world and probably the oldest in Scotland. The Old Course is a public course located in the town of St Andrews, in the county of Fife, 16 km southeast of the city of Dundee and 50 km northeast of the city of Edinburgh.
The course is run by an entity called “The St Andrews Links Trust” under the supervision of the Scottish Parliament. The clubhouse of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A) is located next to the start of hole 1, and although it seems that the course belongs to the club, the truth is that there are several clubs that enjoy the privilege of playing in that field.
There is no record of when golf began to be played on the land that today forms the Old Course. The first written document that we have is a license granted in 1552 that allowed the community to raise rabbits in the links and “play golf, soccer, schuteing…
and other types of pastimes” The first record of the game of golf at the Old Course dates back to 1574, which would make this course the fifth oldest links in Scotland. Archived 2011-08-25 at the Wayback Machine. However, documents dating to the reign of James IV of Scotland show that he purchased land at St.
Andrews in 1506, just four years after he had purchased other land in Perth, which would indicate the Old Course is significantly older than written evidence shows Archived 2006-12-30 at the Wayback Machine. The course has evolved over time.
Originally, it was played on the same ground that had a small number of holes. As interest in the sport increased, the course was extended by a second course, as well as increasing the size of the greens and shortening two holes.
One of the main characteristics of the Old Course is its immense double greens, where seven of them are shared by two different holes; in fact, only holes 1, 9, 17 and 18 have a single green. Another unique feature is that the tour can be done clockwise or counterclockwise.
Currently, the usual method of play is counterclockwise, although one day a year counterclockwise play is allowed. Originally, the direction of play was changed every week to allow the grass to recover better. Another differentiating element of the Old Course is that it is closed on Sundays to allow the course to “rest”; In fact, the route is transformed on Sundays into a huge park for the enjoyment of the inhabitants of the town, where they can walk, go for a picnic or simply contemplate the landscape.
As a general rule, it is only allowed to play golf two Sundays a year: The final day of the Dunhill Links Championship, an annual event organized by the European Tour. The final day of the British Open (provided it is staged on the Old Course, i.e.
every five years or so). If winning the British Open is a huge success for any golfer, winning it at St. Andrews takes that success to the next level, not least because of the course’s long tradition. Some of the best golfers in history have won at St.
Andrews: Tiger Woods (twice), John Daly, Nick Faldo, Severiano Ballesteros or Jack Nicklaus (twice) have been some of them. Sunday matches can also be played when the Old Course hosts another tournament, for example in August 2007 when it hosted the Women’s British Open for the first time in its history (won by Lorena Ochoa).