Designed by Harry Colt in 1914, the Eden bears many of his hallmarks – more strategic than punishing – especially with the greens which established the benchmark for modern putting surface design. Colt built contoured greens to allow good drainage and the putting surfaces of the Eden course are said to be the most undulating of any of the St Andrews Links Trust courses.
Colt also included partially buried field boundary walls in the Eden design with a result that the routing is very natural and flowing. Deep pot bunkers are scattered liberally around the course to catch errant tee shots or approaches to the green.
Donald Steel produced a masterplan for St Andrews Links Trust in the mid-1980s, which involved reconfiguring the first two and last two holes on the Eden to make way for practice facilities for The Open and create space for the tented village.
Most fairways are generously proportioned; though out of bounds threaten wayward strokes on many of the holes. A sliced shot on the 417-yard, par four 3rd, for instance, will see you out of bounds and onto the Old course – don’t linger too long looking for it though as their marshals will soon know that you’ve gate crashed your way onto the tourist course!
The Eden may be one of the few low-scoring opportunities to be had at St Andrews, however, between the sloping greens, strategically placed bunkers and fairway humps and hollows, above average approach play and a good game plan will be required to make a net score around par.
Several holes are worthy of consideration: The green of the 144-yard, par three 5th has two tiers, with a seven feet slope in between that will severely test the very best of putters. The 350-yard, par four 14th and 170-yard, par three 15th feature a pond – added by Donald Steel in 1985 – which is the only inland water hazard on all of the St Andrews Links Trust courses.
The toughest hole on the course is the 432-yard, par 4 17th which is routed along the curve of the old railway line with out of bounds to the right of the fairway. The line for the tee shot is the most distant visible bunker. The green is relatively deep but there is not much room between the protecting bunker left and the out of bounds right.
One other good point about playing the Eden course is the use of the new Eden and Strathtyrum Clubhouse which affords a quiet respite from the masses who flock to the nearby clubhouse for the Old, New, and Jubilee courses.
As St Andrews’ 5th course I bet the Eden often gets over looked on many a golfing holiday. I think this is a seriously under rated course. When we were students here the Eden was always our favourite course to play. The New probably would have held that title but you couldn’t pre book it back then. The Jubilee often had knee length rough and was always a battle. The Old required going in the ballot. The Eden is the only course that gives you the option of playing 9 after lectures and before the pub (I accept the Castle now offers 9 but that is out of town).
But it wasn’t just convenience that made it the go to choice. This is a Harry Colt course so it is no push over. You feel like you can score on it, on the tee sometimes it looks like you should, but underestimate it at your peril. For instance, the two short cross over par 3s at the 5th and 8th. They look simple, but both have multi tier greens and club selection is not always easy in the wind. The short par 4 dog leg 7th, you will probably have a pitching wedge in hand for your approach, but the drop to the estuary is feet from the edge of the green, and theres often a cross wind.
Its not just the front 9 though, it also has the 2nd hardest 17th in town. An absolute brute with OB all the way down the right and deep hidden bunkers down the left. In Golf Monthly they recently did a feature on the best 2nd courses in the country. I doubt anyone could find a 5th course better than this.
On my recent trip there I was pleased to let two young lads through, both playing in all their uni gear, as it confirmed this course is still the student favourite. Or maybe they just wanted to squeeze 9 in before they went to the newly reopened pubs.
The front nine of the Eden is one of the best nines in St Andrews. It is gently sloping links-land that plays firmer than its well-manicured sibling next door, with some of the best green surrounds in town and holes playing in all directions. Plus, there are more holes along the estuary so I’d say it has the best views. Sadly, the back nine is flatter and further from the water, and so plays a little lusher at its far end. The 17th is a nice, scaled down 6th at Carnoustie though, where you have to flirt with the OOB to have a bunkerless line into the green.
On the front, the two par 3s which criss-cross are the highlight - the 8th has as big a false-front as you’ll find (pictured). The short par 4 4th (pictured) along the Eden will tempt long-hitters if they don’t mind a potential slice heading to sea. From the yellows this is one of four par 4s under 330 yards, whilst there are four over 400 – a healthy and fun mix.
Given this diversity, scenery and the lower price, I’d put the Eden above the Jubilee but not the New, Castle or obviously the Old. I’ve seen (understandable) complaints about the 14th’s pond, it’s not great but we took it to be natural so it’s matured well enough. It’s a shame the Eden’s no longer pure links for 18 holes but the greens alone punch well above their pricing, so have a go if you have the time.
My favourite of all the links courses at St Andrews, the slope on the greens, the views of the bay, so much fun.
The Eden complements its sister courses at St Andrews perfectly. Clearly it lacks the gravitas of the Old and the demands of the New, It is closest in character to the Jubilee but the latter is more challenging. The Eden is tremendous fun to play and particularly suited to double-figure handicappers like myself. While there are mixed feelings about the presence of a water hazard (as opposed to a burn) at the Home of Golf, to me that only enhances the enjoyment of a round here and emphasizes the Eden's unique qualities.
The Eden course is a delight. It isn't long and won't beat you up, and has plenty of interesting holes. It is overlooked by the Old, New and Jubilee, but if you have time, the Eden is the perfect course to unwind, or maybe play a twilight round after a morning on the New etc.
Stand out holes 4, 5, 7, 8 and 17. 4 is a fantastic par 4, only about 250 yards, to an elevated green, running parallel to the Eden estuary. 5 and 8 are lovely par 3s that cross over, like an X. These 5 holes are the stand outs, but holes 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16 and 18 are all also good holes.
I hate to admit that I was a bit snobbish and did not play the Eden for many years, feeling that it was a lesser course. The starter is located on the other side of town next to the 14th on the Old. This course is now one of my favorites in St. Andrews. The green complexes are the most interesting of any in St. Andrews (ok, the Old may be in the running for this) and the holes are great fun and varied. Upon its open, Alistar Mackenzie declared it to be the second-best course in the world trailing only The Old. Excellent match play course with several drivable par 4s and some tremendous par 3s (the crossing 5th and 8th are highlights). Several of the holes parallel the Old Course and provide some wonderful views of the "Auld Grey Toun". The new holes on the far end around a pond are nice holes but feel a bit out of place here. Regardless, this is a course not to be missed.
Last year I was very close to play the Eden Tournament but finally it didn’t happen. This year I took the decision and when confirmed there was no stepping back and I did it. It was the Centenary Edition and one of the best golfing weeks (not because of my game) of my life, to compete at The Home of golf with people from many countries, experience the adrenaline of facing a 5 footer worth “something” and the courses set for competition was just great.
I played 2 rounds at Eden Course, the practice on Sunday under steady rain for 14 holes and the competition one on Tuesday on a sunny windy morning. The practice round was just to make myself familiar with the course which I had not played before and try to analize it as during competition it is tough to get pics, focus on design and usual thing when properly reviewing a course.
I really liked it and although it is not the original Colt Design (the part of the water hazard added to replace the holes which were located where the Academy is now), it has many features I really enjoyed.
The tough openers are great, 1st not long but you need to hit the fairway and a severe sloped green, long 2nd & 3rd which played into the wind are a serious test. Then 4th a very nice short 4 with the Ocean on the right side, 5th and 8th similar par 3s but with two very good greens, 7th might be the toughest tee shot on the course (very similar hole to Jubilee’s 8th) and the end with amazing 16th, 17th playing like Road Hole at the Old Course and short 18th a good chance of birdie.
It is of course not as good as Jubilee and New, but a very enjoyable round and if you haven’t yet experienced Eden Tournament it is a great value for Money event and a chance to meet people from everywere. And this course looks “easy” and of course you can score low but if you feel the pressure as I certainly did and not sharp around the green, it can be embarassing!
I've played the Eden several times now, and to echo the other reviewers it would be foolish to overlook what is the best value course in the Town - on a fine day, it's an ideal second round after one of its bigger siblings.
It's certainly a brilliant taste of St Andrews for a group of mixed ability - a quick round, some fun green complexes, ground game opportunities but not so long and narrow that you don't have a chance to score if you don't nail it off the tee (unless you develop a block on the back 9, from personal experience !).
”Mickey Mouse” I almost hear you think as we tee it up on the 300-yard opening hole. Unless you pay attention your drive may find one of the gorse bushes. You, however, find the fairway after having gone with a 3-wood off the tee. The wedge you hit into the green, however, ends up on the wrong side of the ridge and a tricky two-putt later I can spot a grimace. Are you beginning to take this course seriously?
Most visitors opt for the big beasts (TOC-Kingsbarns-Carnoustie) or stay with the New, the Jubilee and the Castle without giving this (partly) Harry Colt-designed little jewel a second thought. Their loss is your gain!
I was no exception: it took me four visits to St Andrews to finally get to play the Eden. Having done that, my recommendation is clear: mix old/traditional (TOC, the New or the Jubilee) with new/modern (i.e. Kingsbarns or the Castle Course) and then add the Eden as your third course! You will enjoy the respite as much as the variety. If you play with your brain fully switched on, you might even score...
The Eden is always going to be over shadowed by the other courses on the links but in terms of condition it is an equal to the Jubilee/New etc. The course isn't the biggest challenge in golf but that does not detract from what is a very fine layout. I played in the summer of 2018, later in the day, I zipped around at a fine pace. There was something tranquil about the clubhouse and initial tee box, a vibe that lasted all the way around. I wouldn't rush to play it again but that isn't to discredit it. It was fun and straight forward.