5 Things to Know About St Andrews

5 Things to Know About St Andrews

St Andrews is hosting the 150th Open Championship and all eyes are on the Old Course. Take a look at some of the most interesting facts about St Andrews, known as the Home of Golf.

1. St Andrews has a lot of nicknames

Well, The Old Course has a number of nicknames. St Andrews is widely known as the "Home of Golf", but the Old Course is affectionately known as the "Old Lady" or the "Grand Old Lady" Hey, if they're gonna call you an old lady, you might as well be grand.

Even the bunkers on the Old Course have been dubbed with descriptive monikers. The traps waiting for wayward golf balls on the Old Course are known by names such as Kitchen, The Seven Sisters, Principle's Nose, Spectacle and well.. Hell. The last seems fairly self explanatory. 

And a small editors note, there is no period after the St in St Andrews. You can impress all your buddies with that little nugget of knowledge at your watch party this week.

2. The Old Course at St Andrews set the standard for the 18 hole course

Prior to 1764, the Old Course featured 22 holes. However, as the popularity of golf grew it became clear that the course needed a redesign.

The redesign is part of what makes the Old Course so special.

The current course map out has 7 double greens, the largest of which is shared by the 5th and 13th hole. It's 37,846 square feet. The average putting green size at the Old Course is 22,267 square feet. The half acre lots that many suburban Americans live on are 21,780 square feet.

For reference, the average putting green size at Pebble Beach is 3500 square feet. Augusta's average is 6435.

So it's not unheard of for a golfer to hit the green and still face a 100 foot putt. Jordan Spieth has been there a time or two.

But if you're planning on making a trip to Scotland to play the Old Course, check out some of these tips on the St Andrews website.

Old Course

 

3. The Old Course at St Andrews has hosted The Open Championship 30 times

The Old Course is nicknamed the "Home of Golf" because legend says it is where golf began nearly 600 years ago. Golf might have started there, but St Andrews did not host the first Open Championship. Prestwick gets those honors.

The Old Course has become associated with the Open because it has hosted more championships than any other course. The Open Championship has made the Old Course home 30 times, the first was in 1873, which is also the first time the Claret Jug was lifted by the champion.

Claret Jug

Photo Credit: GolfNewsNet.com

Tom Kidd was that champion, in case you were wondering.

He took home £11 for his win over the 4-time returning champ Tom Morris Jr. Interestingly enough, Tom Kidd's name isn't the first on the Claret Jug even though he was the first to lift it. The first noted win on the Claret Jug was backdated by a year and Tom Morris Jr. reads as the first name. The trophy wasn't ready at the time of Morris Jr's win, so he is listed as the first name, but wasn't the first to receive it. Perhaps, Kidd's cinderella caddie to champion story wasn't what The Open was looking for as the first name.

4. St Andrews has 7 golf courses on the property

Though the Old Course is steeped in the most history and is one of the most visited golf courses in the world, it's not the only course available to golfers at St Andrews.

In addition to the Old Course, St Andrews offers the New Course, though it's not so new anymore. It was the second course built at St Andrews in 1895.

New Course St Andrews

The Eden Course was built in 1914. Golfers can also play the Strathtyrum Course, Jubilee Course, Balgove Course (the only 9 hole course at St Andrews) and the Castle Course, built in 2008.

5. St Andrews is a public golf club

That's right. You don't have to be a member to play at St Andrews and take on the Old Course. In peak season, a round at the Old Course will cost you £270.

Seems a little far fetched doesn't it? Pay a green fee and walk on to the historic Old Course. If it sounds too good to be true... it usually is. 

If your goal is to play the Old Course, it's going to take a bit of prep. Over 230,000 rounds of golf are played at St Andrews every year, and as you can imagine, the Old Course is the most in-demand golf course in the world. 

Prior to Covid, the Old Course would open up a lottery for tee times at the end of the summer.

Now, there is a daily ballot. You can apply to be on the ballot for any tee time that is leftover. You'll get two days advance notice if you're in. That makes it a bit difficult if you're traveling and only in St Andrews for a specific and limited amount of time. 

Another option is to book through a tour group who is an authorized dealer of tee times. Though this gets you guaranteed access, it's also one of the most expensive options.

And finally, the old fashioned way. Camp out at the starter shack overnight and hope that you're the first in line for any available tee times that are handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Bring your libations.

Any of the other six St Andrews courses typically have walk on availability.

If you want your piece of the 150th Open Championship, check out Vessel's limited edition 150th Open Championship commemorative collection.