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2 miles inland of St Andrews
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The Duke’s is the course belonging to the famous Old Course Hotel and it’s one of the few non-links course in St Andrews. The Duke’s is situated a couple of miles inland but, if you are lucky enough to stay at the hotel, they’ll provide transportation to and from the course. Despite the hotel being strategically sited next to the infamous Road Hole, no hotel can guarantee tee times on the Old course. Naturally, the Old Course Hotel decided to build their very own course.
Peter Thomson, who was affectionately nicknamed the Melbourne Tiger, designed The Duke’s course with his partner Ross Perrett. The five-time Open Champion's motto was that “a golf course should be a bit wild” and they certainly created a seriously challenging layout, which measures 7,512 yards from the tips, but with five tee boxes the Duke’s is manageable for all golfers. The Duke’s opened for play in 1995 and the name presumably came from Prince Andrew the Duke of York who hit the first tee shot in an opening match with former Scotland Rugby Captain Gavin Hastings.
A gentle opening par five called “Highland” takes you quickly away from the luxurious clubhouse with the first real challenge coming at the 2nd, a hole called “Drumcarrow”. This tough par four is flanked by trees and a solid drive down the left will leave a tricky long approach shot to a long, narrow green which is very difficult to find in regulation. When you reach the turn, spectacular views open up over St Andrews town and the sea beyond.
“Braw View”, the par four 13th, is one of the most scenic holes in St Andrews. Panoramic views to the north and of the “Auld Grey Toon” might make your mind wander but beware as you will require an accurate tee shot to a bottleneck fairway, avoiding fairway bunkers on the left and right, to set up the best approach shot that requires precise clubbing to hold this small, downhill green. The 18th provides a great climax to an enjoyable round. “Ice House” is a challenging uphill par four, an accurate drive is required followed by an approach shot to an elevated green that will require an extra club. Enjoy the view of St Andrews before heading for the sanctuary of the 19th hole.
The Duke's course was revised and renovated in 2006 by Tim Liddy, an understudy of the renowned golf course architect Pete Dye. Significant bunker changes were implemented coupled with three new closing holes and alterations to the greensites on holes 13, 14 and 15. Additionally, the club has made significant improvements to fairway drainage such that the course now plays in a more traditional heathland style.
In 2009, complimentary use of the driving range was introduced for all golfers and strategic areas of rough cut back to allow a wider latitude for play, making for greatly improved scoring and enjoyment.
St Andrews is one of only a few places in the world whereby you can enjoy stunning links golf and, just a couple of miles away in the shape of the Duke’s course, outstanding inland golf. Let’s hear it for St Andrews – the Home of Golf.
The Old Course Hotel is one of our Top 100 Golf Resorts of the World
It is so unfair when great courses get overshadowed by their famous neighbors … It happens to New and Jubilee (and Eden) by Old, Dumbarnie and Kingsbarns and The Duke’s as well with all the Links Gems around and people wanting to play only Links Courses … don’t make that mistake if a chance to go back to Scotland appears!! This course has everything and it is an absolute must play from the very first tee shot till the approach at 18th. It is now 11 years since my first trip to Scotland and had never the chance to even give it a look so when the round was confirmed I decided not to read anything about it and just let her surprise me and hell it was a good one!!!
Despite some cold weather the first couple of holes and playing into the wind then sun appeared and the views you enjoy at 6th, 7th and from 12th to 15th are second to none including the Eden Estuary, The Hamilton Grand, The Old Course Hotel and The Auld Lady … why to miss it!!
Again, not many golfers will have the chance the go more than once to The Home of Golf but if the Golf Gods give you that chance go give The Duke’s a chance, you will not be disappointed at all. And if you add gorse in yellow bloom on a nice spring morning, the experience will be certainly even better. And if lunch happens in that terrace with that picture of St Andrews then the combo is just perfect!
Let’s go to the Golf Course, which in style might be similar to Gleneagles PGA Centenary but this one I feel has more creativity, variety in holes and some memorable shots to play:
1st into the wind with that brilliant bunkering might be one of the best starters in Scotland. Looks friendly, go miss and you will see!
3rd is a fantastic first par 3 to a Golf Course, big green and a brilliant bunkering.
Go to the very back tee at 7th and see what you face … God!!
10th might be the toughest hole and the most precision demanding … you need to draw the tee shot and then go with a mid iron to an elevated well protected green. Brilliant!
10th a downhill risk reward par 5 with a burn to be carried if you want to make it in 2.
Downhill par 4s13th and 14th are great to unleash power especially on the first one and get to the bottom of the fairway.
I loved 17th and it brought to my mind some Parkland Classic Holes from USA maybe Winged Foot or Oak Hill.
One final mark to the bunkering style, just beautiful and blended with wild edges and some heather. Add the Gorse, the Sea Views and the smell of St Andrews and you are in a phenomenal Golf Course. A very recommended experience.
Played the duke’s on 10/3/22 lovely day started with a warm up on the driving range. There’s some really great holes holes at the duke and all the pars 3 were great. The bunkers were insane by far the biggest bunkers I’ve ever seen and really enjoyed how they played a major part in the course. Found the course very enjoyable and quite a hard test at time but a very enjoyable test.
Dukes course St Andrews is great fun. Its a seriously tough test from the back tees, one of the longest in Scotland. Interestingly for a course in St Andrews it is a Parkland course, with not a links pot bunker in site.
I especially enjoy the dog leg holes 7 and 10 and the par 5 11th is a monster.
Our only inland course on the 5 day golf trip to St Andrews and it was a nice balance in comparison to the links golf we played. I can certainly see why its rated so well, the facilities and course layout are great but sadly we played at a period were the greens we under going a lot of work and for me it really detracted from what could have been a really awesome day. Nevertheless I left feeling like I wanted to come back rather than annoyed that condition was not great, for the time of year its acceptable. I would definitely recommend putting this Course on you list if you are making a short trip to St Andrews and want to experience some inland golf as well as the links.
The Dukes course is a perfect place to get away from the wind and sea for 4 hours, and breakup a links trip. You have the option to play it at about 7700 yards, but be wise and play it off a forward tee, where you'll have the most fun. Huge bunkers and sand areas are the courses main feature, as well as ocean views.
If you're playing a week in St Andrews, put the Dukes in the middle of your itinerary and you won't regret it.
Another great course near St Andrews, managed by the hotel not the links trust.
Some super holes and a great view from the balcony.
Again well worth the drive inland.
I had not played the Duke's in a long time and certainly not since the significant changes.On a fine autumn day the trees were simply beautiful and the course looked a picture. I must immediately say that the greens were in splendid condition running fast and true. We played the back nine first which I believe increased our enjoyment as holes 1 and 2 are in my opinion the least interesting on the whole course and would not get the round off to a promising start. As it is the entire back nine is a sheer delight. Playing off the green tees (how sensible to provide such a wide choice of tees) virtually every par four is reachable in two and the four par 3s are as good a collection as anywhere in the land. The Duke's is a supremely fair course : no blind shots, bunkers placed to catch errant shots and little rough. There are several outstanding holes such as 3,4,7,13,16 and especially 17 where for a moment I thought I was back at Woodhall Spa! Throw in the location and the views and the Duke;s must be one of the most enjoyable places to play golf in the whole of Scotland.
Played at the end of September 2017 and was incredibly disappointed (I could have been on any number of great links courses within 15 miles!). The condition of the course was terrible - my trousers were covered in mud by the time I reached my first tee shot; I had to clean my ball after every shot; several of the bunkers were full of water in spite it not having rained for 24 hours; and the greens were very poor.
From the other reviews on this site, there is clearly a decent course here but I found it impossible to see past the soggy conditions. In spite of the marketing, "heathland" this isn't!
Comfortably the least enjoyable round of golf I've had this year and I cannot see how this can deserve to be ranked in the top 100 in Britain & Ireland. A '2' ranking might seem harsh but based on this website's criteria, I'm afraid that it's all it deserves in my opinion (I've played 12 other top 100 courses this year and would rank them all at least a '5').
I'm so looking forward to getting back to links golf tomorrow!
I think that Peter Thompson - the original designer of the course - should be given credit for his decision to steer away from the inland links-like concept that many designers adopt when designing new courses nowadays.
The Duke's is a full-fledged & challenging parkland championship golf course, and - despite its young age - has settled in the surroundings very well. Visually attractive and technically challenging are the combination of the wild bunkers & the gorse on the Duke's. Every hole is unique and most are separated from the next one, giving a very secluded feel when playing the holes. Given the quality of the design and the length of the course, I'm not surprised the venue has been used for top tournament events already.
I was only surprised by the quality of the greens. The designs are very good & the undulations are challenging, but - given the fact that it is an inland track - I would expect the greens to run much faster. I image the Duke's would really stand out as a class of its own, if it would be presented with proper running greens offering a fair putting test at every hole.
The Duke's will definitely be on the playing list next time we visit Fife.
Lovely contrast compared with the other St Andrews courses and well worth playing. Apart from the 3rd, the rest of the par 3s are circa 200 yards. This is not only tough but lacks variety. The holes are very decent though. The front 9 is “prettier” than the back as the colour from the gorse is more apparent. The 1st sets the tone and is a pleasing start both architecturally and aesthetically. The par 4 2nd was my least favourite hole as the trees are close to the fairway on both sides which feels “tight” especially, as a very long par 4, where you have to hit driver. If I could hit the ball 275 and straight I would probably love it. The 3rd is a lovely par 3 with a nice use of waste bunkers. The 4th is a great par 4 with an interesting green entrance. The green is almost surrounded by trees and a swath has been cut through them at the front of the green. Unusual feature, I just don’t know what I think about it ! The 7th is possibly the best hole on the course, long par 4 left to right which finishes with a distant view of the town. The back 9 starts well with an excellent par 4 with a stream that needs to be considered playing the second shot. Holes 11 through 15 are brutes although there I a feeling of room off the tee. I like the waste area off the drive on 17. Hate to say it but although the 18th is a very strong par 4 from a scratch golfer perspective its appearance is slightly ordinary in comparison with what gone before with a slightly “meadow” look. This however is nit-picking and the Dukes is, in many ways, majestic.