The Old Course — St. Andrews, Scotland

The Old Course — St. Andrews, Scotland


  • Layout: 5
  • Conditions: 6
  • Staff: 9
  • Value: 6

TCS™: 6.5

— Not counted in TCS™, but just as important (imo):

  • Pace of Play: Slow.

*All ratings are out of 10 possible points.


Playing The Old Course is worth it, even if only for the memories. I played with a couple from Germany, and a school administrator from Arizona who stays summers in St. Andrews. I hit a great first drive. In a crosswind, it sailed about 250, just short of the little dug out stream that cuts through the first hole. It was the last great drive I hit all day.

Part of the challenge was the hellish, I mean flat out blowing flag sticks horizontal, wind that was sweeping across St. Andrews that day. However, other than a 2-minute dump, there was no rain, and the day was filled with sunshine.

I had a great time. I didn’t even try to keep score in the wind (and with my slice in full action). I was just soaking it all in. It was great to walk in the footsteps of Uncle Tom!

The nostalgia factor: 10+

That being said, stepping back and rating only the course experience against other courses I have played (keeping in mind it is about $300 US to play), the course really only shakes out at a 6.5. So, on to the rating:

The layout feels…cramped. I mean, who designs two holes to cross each other? Waiting on 8 for people on 11, no! Conditions. For a links, it’s above average, so I’m giving it a bit of a pass, but after playing places like Tullymore or Cape Kidnappers, I just can’t go higher than a 6. The staff are very friendly. The two Scottish caddies go’n round with the German couple were funny and even read some putts for this wanker, despite doing the reading pro bono.

Given the high cost, rough design, slightly above average conditions I am giving an objective 6 for value. Everyone should play this once, then, go play the other courses. I haven’t played any and if I’m in Scotland again I won’t be playing The Old Course again.