Golfmagic plays the strongest course at The Home of Golf

Bob Warters's picture
Bob Warters
Mon, 4 Jun 2012
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As the grim weather began to subside by the 11th, one of only a handful of skeletal trees appeared, forming a lone sentry in the fairway.

The 12th is an S-shaped par-5 with strategic bunkers on its flanks that we all fell for, funnelling to a narrow green while the par-3 13th - named Hale Bopp, presumably after a comet discovered independently in 1997 by Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp - demands accuracy between two bunkers.

The 14th is immortalised by the late golfing politician and R&A member Willie Whitelaw. With echoes of the Old Course, it shares a double green with the 4th after which the 15th - Steel’s Gem - stands as the signature hole.

Dominated by a mound as tall as a house, your tee-shot is steered toward a narrow entrance to the green, while the flagstick on an upturned saucer green has the illusion of looking much nearer than it is, with the deep swale on the right gathering many an under-hit approach.

The 16th - named after Freddie Tait, a long-hitting contemporary of Old Tom - features new, subtle mounding in the centre of the fairway and two new pot bunkers short and right of the green.

The par-3 17th – Ladyhead - demands both length and accuracy while 18, alongside the Jubilee sheds which houses the bulk of St Andrews’ green-keeping machinery, needs precision to avoid a nest of protective greenside bunkers.

My two companions decided the Jubilee was more a test of endurance on the day than their playing skills but despite the weather, thoroughly enjoyed the experience, as did I in their company.
Verdict

I can see how the locals either love it or hate it - the course can both bewitch and destroy in moments if you’re not on your game. The Jubilee may still be a work in progress stretched over more than a hundred years and created through the hands of several generations of designers but it’s easy to see why it’s rated the strongest of six 18-hole courses governed by the Links Trust.

Fact File

Green fee: £70 adults; £35 juniors (April - October)
How to book: Visit www.standrews.org.uk or call 01334 466 666
Getting there: East Coast operates four services per day in each direction between Peterborough and Leuchars (nearest station to St Andrews) via York. Customers travelling First Class can enjoy East Coast’s complimentary food and drinks offer plus unlimited Wi-Fi. Advanced return fares, booked online at www.eastcoast.co.uk, start from £35 standard class or £101 first class. Times and fares can also be found via 08457 225 225 or from any staffed stations.

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(Images courtesy of Pip Warters)

 

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