“The Home of Golf” at St Andrews is the only venue in Britain that can lay claim to having seven courses in its portfolio and the Jubilee, the third oldest course at St Andrews, is perhaps the most underrated of them all.
In March 1897, John Angus was presented with the challenge of designing a course suitable for beginners and having it ready for play the same year. The 22nd June 1897 was a public holiday to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and on this day a rudimentary 12-hole course was ready for play. In commemoration, it was called the Jubilee. At the turn of the century, the course was extended to 18 holes, and in 1946, Willie Auchterlonie made further improvements to the layout. In 1988, Donald Steel gave the Jubilee a complete overhaul and upgraded the links to championship standard. The course now measures over 6,800 yards.
The Jubilee plays on a narrow strip of links land, wedged between the New course and St Andrews Bay. Some of the holes thread their way through low sand dunes. It’s a much more “normal” layout than the Old and the New. The Jubilee has no double greens or shared fairways, but it does play in the same out-and-back fashion. The Jubilee’s raised tees provide unparalleled views across St Andrews Bay to the east and the fluttering flags on the other St Andrews courses to the west.
It would be fair to say that the Jubilee was an ordinary course before Donald Steel got his hands on it, but it’s now full of variety and character with a very strong collection of par threes. So it’s no surprise that since Steel’s changes, the Jubilee has already played host to a number of important amateur championships.
You will be fed up hearing this from me by now, but how many courses adjacent to more reknowned links get overlooked when they are excellent courses in their own right? Yes, this is yet another one of those that would standout if it was miles from any other golfing venue.
Greens are smaller and fairways are tighter than the Old and New next door and the dunes give it far more definition than the other two big brothers. As expected in winter time, plenty of bunkers were out of play due to repair work but that's no great hardship if you land in one!
There is a great run of holes when you finally head for home from the par 5 12th and they make good use of the low dunes for green placements and teeing grounds. I like the New better than the Old and I think I now like the Jubilee even better than the New. Play for half price without a mat as a winter warmer and you will not be short changed.