Old Course

The 'Old Lady' is unique among the world’s great golf courses. From the nerve-racking 1st tee shot onwards, you take up a challenge that has humbled many of the world’s best. Despite its age, St Andrews' Old Course has stood the test of time and continues to challenge the golfers from around the world.

The Old Course is unique in that it owes very little to mankind in its design and layout, thanks to a stunning natural setting, a ready-made landscape of legendary beauty and suitability. Created by nature and only touched by humans in the later stages of her evolution, the Old Lady serves as a masterclass to any would-be golf course designer. Beat that if you can!

From the moment you arrive at the first tee in the shadows of the majestic Royal and Ancient Clubhouse, you can't help but feel a very special sense of occasion, anxiety and excitement. The sense of exhilaration never dissipates as you walk in the footsteps of hundreds of years' worth of golfing greats. And you’ll experience a multitude of famous features along the way, like the enormous Hell bunker, the Road Hole - site of so many famous Open Championship moments – plus the famous Swilcan Bridge.

The traditional way to play a round on the Old Course is to enter your name in a daily ballot. The course is almost always hugely oversubscribed and tee times are precious. Luckily our contract with the St Andrews Links Trust means we provide guaranteed tee times on the Old Course between April and October.

About Old Course, St Andrews – A short history

  • Golf has been played on the Links at St Andrews since around 1400 AD, a fascinating 600 year history
  • In 1552 a charter granted the townspeople of St Andrews use of the land for – amongst other things – golf. It remained in public hands until 1797, when financial difficulties forced its sale. The St Andrews Links Act was passed in 1894, returning ownership of the land to the town. These days the land is owned by Fife Council 
  • The Old Course was never formally designed. It evolved naturally over 500 years
  • The course was originally played clockwise. Now it's anti-clockwise
  • At first a 22 hole course, in 1764 the first two and last two were combined into an 18 hole course, which soon became the standard model for all golf courses
  • Seven double greens were introduced in 1832 and the two separate holes on each double green during the 1850s
  • The R&A clubhouse was built in 1854
  • Old Tom Morris was made Conservator of the links in 1864 and built the 18th green a year later
  • An Act of Parliament in 1974 created the St Andrews Links Trust, who manage all the courses on the Links
  • In 2012 the Old Course was significantly improved
  • The St Andrews links is the first Open Championship course to win a GEO Certified eco-label in recognition of its commitment to sustainability

St Andrew’s Old Course Information

  • Caddies Available: Available on request and subject to availability
  • Golf Trolleys are only allowed on the Old Course after 12:00hrs between the months of April and October
  • Golf Buggies - Golfers who are registered disabled with a permanent condition of disability may request a buggy for use on the Old Course.

    - Available April to October only
    - Driven by a qualified caddie driver
    - Buggy is provided free but the appropriate caddie fee is payable
    - Disability documentation should be provided at booking

  • Practice Facilities: Driving range, putting green and short game area
  • Dress Code: Appropriate golfing attire while on the course, smart/casual in the clubhouse
  • Soft spikes required
  • Handicap Requirement: All golfers playing the Old Course must be in possession of a valid handicap certificate showing 36 or less. Make sure you bring your handicap certificate to the first tee and present it to the Starter.


Old Course scorecard

View The Old Course scorecard


Featured hole – Hole 12

Hole 12, Heatherly, at 348yds and a Par 4, is a deceptively short hole better known for more bogies than birdies. It features four nasty bunkers, all of which are completely hidden from the tee. The green has two tiers, however, and plenty of pro players tend to attempt the green from the tee. Bear in mind it's all too easy to overshoot green three.


Known for The Open

The Old Course has held more Open Championships than any other golf course in the world. In 1873 Scotsman Tom Kidd won the championships, the first of a run of seven Scottish wins, and in 2015 the Old Course hosted its 29th and the world's 144th Open, won by the USA's Zach Johnson.  But its extraordinarily large greens are its most unusual feature, not far short of an acre with very little definition between the fairway, fringe, green stops and starts, and super-fast, dry fairways.


St Andrews Golf Vacations

The Experience St Andrews is proud to provide world-class golfing packages to golfers the world over, complete with play and accommodation at every St Andrews course, including the legendary Old Course. It's the golf experience of a lifetime.

Featured St Andrews Old Course Package:

St Andrews 6 Night Golf Package - six rounds of Golf and six nights’ accommodation in a choice of 4* or 5* hotels. Includes guaranteed play on the magnificent Old Course, as well as your choice of three rounds at a selection of St Andrews other championship courses. Discover More >