St Andrews (Castle) - Fife - Scotland

St Andrews Links,
Pilmour House,
St Andrews,
Fife,
KY16 9SF,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1334 466666


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at St Andrews

Six years after St Andrews Links Trust purchased land at Kinkell Braes outside the town – just along from the Torrrance and Devlin (now called Kittocks) golf courses – the much-anticipated new Castle course welcomed its first paying customers at the end of June 2008.

Laid out on a cliff top with more than a mile of waterfront overlooking the town, the Castle was constructed by David McLay Kidd and his DMK design company. Lead shaper, Mick McShane, deserves much credit for turning featureless farmland (described as a “hillside of rotten rock”) into anything remotely resembling a golf course, in much the same way as he did at nearby Kingsbarns.

The new seventh member of the Links Trust’s portfolio may be seen by some as the black sheep of the St Andrews links family due to its unnatural links character but the design and feel of the new links-like course is such that it blends in superbly with the other courses on the roster.

Routed in two loops of nine, the holes on each loop of the Castle course rise up from the clubhouse to higher ground alongside the A917 Crail Road before tumbling back down again, with the closing three holes of each strung out along the coastline. Clever mounding ensures many of the holes play in isolation to the others, intensifying the expectation of what’s to come next.

The feature hole is the par three 17th, played across a ravine on the edge of the cliffs, into the prevailing wind from St Andrews. It really is an all or nothing hole where anything right is gone forever so the safe play is to aim left, where the contours will hopefully funnel the ball right to the putting surface.

It will be interesting to see what reviewers make of the new kid on the St Andrews golfing scene.

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Reviews for St Andrews (Castle)

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Description: The Castle course is the newest member of St Andrews Links Trust’s portfolio and may be seen by some as the black sheep of the family due to its unnatural links character... Rating: 7.4 out of 10 Reviews: 59
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Martin Jordan
There are some questions that fully deserve answers. Questions like what do you get when you fall in love? And, why do birds suddenly appear every time I am near? (crows mostly). Both important questions, I am sure you will agree? But not nearly as important as why The Castle is only rated as a gem? As Toyah Wilcox opined, it’s a mystery! The seventh course at the home of golf is a tour de force, albeit with some contentious greens (I found putting at 4, 12, 14 and 16 like playing the circus wall of death and if PT Barnum had been tending the pins at these holes I wouldn’t have batted an eye lid ) and this undoubtedly may have a bearing on peoples opinion of the place but I feel that this is only part of the overall picture which yields brilliant routing and fantastic bunkering all played out before the stunning backdrop of the Auld Grey Toon. Providing a masterpiece where the standard never drops from the first drive to the last putt giving proof, if proof is needed, that there is quality at the often perceived unglamorous side of St Andrews. MPPJ
June 23, 2009
10 / 10
St Andrews (Castle)
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Jim McCann

“Bewitched, bothered and bewildered” was an old Sinatra song my dad used to play on his record player but the words also apply to the state I got into today putting on the greens here, leaving me both bamboozled and befuddled. I have honestly never had such difficulty with a putter on any course I’ve played before – and that was after having first played here 12 months ago, so I should have been prepared!

St Andrews (Castle) - photo by Jim McCannGreens apart – and it’s hard to dismiss their effect on a round when nearly half the shots on your scorecard are taken with a putter – The Castle is a fantastic track with a wonderful routing that returns the front and back nines to a (relatively level) double putting green in front of the very chic, modern clubhouse.

The SGU offer members a special discounted 4-ball green fee which is excellent value for money and one that all golfers who relish a challenge should snap up. The scorecard gives the course a SSS of 74 against a par of 71 from the back tees and I’ll bet that the three over par rating is rarely matched, even on days when pin placings are kind (if that’s possible) and the weather conditions are benign.

For all that green baize whingeing, it’s still worth a 6-ball rating as it's a great course with not a single weak hole.

Jim McCann

June 20, 2009
10 / 10
St Andrews (Castle)
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Shaun
Wasted a significant amount of time on the 18th looking for the ‘Arnie Palmer’ crazy golf bell. An exceptional course and friendly clubhouse spoilt by poor quality fairways and silly greens.
June 03, 2009
6 / 10
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AS
Prior to playing in April 09, I read an article by the architect saying that he wanted to create a course that was fun and, provided he achieved that objective, he didn't care if he received some criticism. Well, in my foursome, no one approached their handicap despite fine weather and what the locals probably call a breeze...but we all really enjoyed ourselves and found some fantastic golf holes (with 6 and 17 obviously real stand-outs) on great land. It was very hard - between 5 and 10 shots harder that the Old Course in our opinion - with some of the greens verging on the ridiculous (the 10th and 14th spring to mind). Apparently, the Trust will make some adjustments when the contract with the architect ends soon; if they tone down the most extreme of the greens then they will have the putting surfaces that the very good course, top rate facilities and stunning location warrant.
May 25, 2009
8 / 10
St Andrews (Castle)
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ken gallacher
i played this last in the first week in may. although the tees and greens were in excellent condition the fairways were poor esp for a course charging over £100 for a round. its a decent length course with a lot of blind shots and a fair bit of trouble in the way of rough and bunkers but to be honest they shouldn't realy bother most players. the greens are a big problem. they are not suiable for this type of course. there is barely a flat area on any of the greens with steps of at least 4-5 feet. when these greens settle in they will be almost unplayable. with no where to pitch the ball to and no way to play a bump and run. the staff where all very friendly esp he rangers on the course. if you are in the area then go to Carnoustie or Kingsbarns or save yourself some money and try some of the "lesser" courses such as Lundin
May 12, 2009
4 / 10
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Alex Westenfield
Played in August 2008 in 20-30 mph wind.I thoroughly enjoyed this course, it was in good condition. It is different than the other links trust courses and I liked the variety. The greens were actually fun to hit into, using the contours to play the shots. I hope they don't soften the greens, it sounds like some of the fairway grass mounds are being removed/softened. The views of the bay and town are spectacular. Very nice clubhouse as well.
December 05, 2008
8 / 10
St Andrews (Castle)
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Petter Claesson
Played the Castle Course in 2-3 clubs of wind after having played Kingsbarns the day before. My and a number of other players on that day I talked to, felt the course and especially the greens are just too difficult. I have two objections.1. You should not be panalized when hitting good, straight shots.2. The greens were just too undulated. I have never played a course with more undulated greens.It feels like they have combined the most difficult aspects of links golfs with the most difficult aspects of US target golf courses. It would be interesting to hear what the pros would say if they played a pro-tournament on the course with the most difficult set up.Go to Kingsbarns instead, that is probably one of the 5-10 best courses in the world.
October 17, 2008
6 / 10
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Martin
Fantastic golf course and first-class set-up. Friendly welcome and excellent facilities. The whole place reminiscent of Kingsbarns just down the road. Like Kingsbarns, some may find the links-like set-up a little manufactured, but for me, they’ve done a great job. Plenty of memorable holes – particularly those closest to the sea. Holes 6, 7, 17 and 18 in particular were first class. 17 especially a belter. Only slight criticism was that a few of the greens were a bit excessively (and maybe unfairly) contoured – notably 4 and 10. But overall, fantastic and worthy of a place high up in future top 100 lists
August 29, 2008
10 / 10
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Jim McCann
First of all, I was taken aback by the drop in elevation from the main road down to the clubhouse (at least a couple of hundred feet) as publicity photos seem to flatten out the terrain. St Andrews (Castle) - Photo by Jim McCannSecondly, I was surprised (and delighted) by how well the clubhouse merges into the landscape, in total contrast to St Andrews Bay next door. What of the course itself? The fairway and greenside bunker complexes are big and bold, incorporating the current trend of jagged edged design. Sand-capped fairways roll and tumble tumultuously, causing some tee shots and approaches to be played semi-blind. The rough, if you stray from the fairway, is wild and heavy and the links quality greens – well, I’ve seen some contoured putting surfaces over the years but these are amongst the largest and most undulating I’ve come across (the L-shaped 4th is one of the whackiest I’ve ever seen). I’m sure the greens will not please everyone as some pin placements are impossible to get close to so I cannot see too many St Andreans trying to maintain a handicap over the new course. The views towards the Auld Grey Toon at the 3rd and 6th are fantastic and the run of holes from the 15th (with its burn in front of the putting surface) to the 18th (which shares its green with the 9th) thrilling. Amongst these holes is the par three 17th which goes straight into my top 18 holes played in Scottish golf – simply sensational. I think the architect has delivered 18-holes unlike any other in the country that will tease and torment those who take it on. I for one will be following with great interest the comments from fellow reviewers in the months to come – For now, I think the Castle is not bad for a course that was built round the town s*** pit! Jim McCann
July 11, 2008
10 / 10
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