In the late 1800s, the Old Course was getting too popular, largely due to the extra visitors flocking to St Andrews on the trains. The R&A decided to pay for the New course to be built in return for allocated tee times on the Old. These rights are still enclosed in an Act of Parliament passed in 1894, the precursor to the current Act of 1974, which specifies how the public St Andrews links courses are managed.
The New course was designed by Old Tom Morris and Benjamin Hall Blyth, an Edinburgh engineer, and opened for play in 1895. This makes it one of the oldest “new” courses in the world!
Situated adjacent to the Old course, the New is often referred to as the local’s favourite because it is tighter and more defined than the Old. It possesses some similarities to the Old, shared fairways, a double green at the 3rd and 15th and the traditional out and back layout. In many ways it plays and feels more "normal" than the Old – it’s certainly less quirky and perhaps prettier too, with swathes of dense gorse providing brilliance of seasonal colour.
The fairways are undulating, but they don’t have the same slopes and curves as the Old. Consequently, there are fewer hanging lies. There are some great holes on the New, especially in the dunes around the turn for home. The 10th hole is a tough 464-yard par 4 and it's a cracking hole which Bernard Darwin also liked, but thought that it was not in the Old course mould. In his 1910 book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles, he wrote: “This is nevertheless a really fine one, running down a narrow gorge between two ranges of hills, with a fine, slashing second shot with the brassey, albeit more or less a blind one”.
We think that if the New Course could be transported to virtually any other coastal stretch of the British Isles, away from the shadow of its auld mater, it would surely have a higher reputation and be recognised as the excellent links course it is. Who knows? If the course had not been in the shadows for so long and perhaps updated to a similar extent as many other links courses, it might well have played host to an Open Championship.
In 1910, Darwin wrote: “Still there occasionally comes a time when we grow sick to death of the crowding and waiting on the Old course, and then we are glad enough to steal away on to the New course and have a round, which will probably be at any rate a comparatively quick one.” Could this really be the answer as to why the locals prefer the New course?
If The New Course was located anywhere else I suspect it would get much more love. I liken her to the younger sister who is the Prom Queen, but will never measure up to the older sister who is Miss Universe. I feel the New Course is the fairest of the St Andrews courses. It is certainly easier to get on than The Old Course and pace of play is fantastic. Last time we played as a twosome in just over two hours. My favorite hole is the 9th, excellent par three.
Show The New some love.
After playing the Old and Castle courses the two previous days our last round was at the famed New course. I was again excited for my round and determined to do well having heard rumours that the New is a little easier than some of the other courses at St Andrews. I found the course to be just that and I scored well on the day. The New certainly gives you a chance and for me this is the most playable course at St Andrews.
The course condition as you'd expect was outstanding and with the sun blaring down we got to see the course at its finest. It is very flat barring a couple of holes but its the strategy and finer points that are the attraction. The New requires you to plot your routes and take care with the angle in which you approach the pins. The bunkers are placed expertly and almost always challenge every tee shot. The greens are firm and fast and were a pleasure to putt on.
Comparing it to the Old course (if thats at all fair) I found the fairways less undulating, with fewer odd bounces and hanging lies, and the greens although difficult were slightly easier to putt on. The bunkers were not as cavernous or quite as punishing and in general it lacked the exceptional touches that the old has.
The opening hole has a lovely setting with a large putting green and modern clubhouse beside it. Once away the course is another out and back with a couple of holes playing alongside an expanse of water. Holes 9 and 10 were the highlights. Hole 9 being a tough par 3 to a raised green and hole 10 a long blind tee shot to a sunken fairway between dunes. Two very pretty holes.
Barring those two there wasn't a great deal to shout about with most of the holes tough to remember. I think like many of the reviews you become a little under-awed and there are parts of the round where course is almost mundane. I enjoyed the round but I do have to echo that if it were not situated in St Andrews then i'm not sure it would feature in the Uk and Ireland top 100.
All in all the New course fell a little bit below expectation but I still had a great time. If I came again I wouldn't choose to play the New over the Castle or Jubilee but it is still good value for money and a good golf course overall. Just for me not an exceptional one.
The New is a great day out. A very nice course right next to the Old and the best par 3 in town. The 9th is a spectacular par 3. Conditions are superb. Every shot in your bag will be needed. Better to be out on the course than sitting in the pub. The terrain is uneven and more gorse is in play than on the Old.
I’ve played the New about 20 times in practice and competitive rounds in the Eden Tournament. It is definitely better appreciated the more you play it. While not as legendary as the Old nor as difficult as the adjacent Jubilee, it is a well-designed and maintained course which has the usual links challenges of rolling fairways, broken ground, subtle greens and, of course, gorse.
Each hole requires some thought in approach, even those often labeled by some as ordinary. The short 1st is a good example. Playing at about 300 yards, players must decide whether to lay up with a long iron to a relatively flat fairway (and leave a 9 iron or full wedge to a small green which is usually hard as a rock, as well as risk the gorse short and left if the shot is pulled or hooked) or pull the driver and hope for a good lie amongst the humps and bumps in front of the green (and risk pulling it left on or over the pathway adjacent to the Old or pushing it into the long fescue which encroaches towards the green on the right).
Having said all that, the first 4 holes are a fairly gentle introduction to the New, with accessible fairways and greens on 2, 3 and 4 offering birdie opportunities for well struck shots. From there it gets more interesting. 5 is a challenging par 3 with 2 yawning bunkers guarding the front of the green and a large ditch bisecting the right side of the green, making for a difficult 2 putt if you are on the wrong side of the green. 6 is a long par 4 with a sloping fairway that can direct any tee shot hit on the right side towards the ample gorse. The green is somewhat down the hill but sits somewhat elevated and long iron approach shots are often directed left or right. While 7 is a shorter par 4 with a wide landing area, the tee shot is partly blind and there are fairway bunkers that are easily reachable depending on the wind direction.
As many have noted, 8 is an interesting (but not overly difficult) par 5. The challenge is to avoid the fairway bunkers right off the tee (and the tendency is to hit to the right since there is gorse to the left and lots of room right in the adjacent 12th fairway) and the second set of very deep bunkers in front of the high dunes guarding the narrow entrance to the green. If you avoid trouble on the first 2 shots you have a semi-blind wedge or short iron shot to a fairly simple green. But the look of this hole as you play it (and the view from the fairway of the gaggles of players and caddies trudging around the adjacent and overpriced Old) always seems to leave me with a good feeling.
But then the trouble starts. Number 9 is a tough and long par 3 on the best of days, and when the wind is howling and the rain is coming down sideways (as it was the first competitive round I played on the New) it is an absolute bear. Standing exposed to the elements on the 9th tee you face deep gorse on the right and the estuary OB on the left. The green is about 230 yards away and, depending on the tee and pin placement you may not be able to see the flag. Intimidating to say the least. Par is a great score.
If you survive 9, 10 offers no respite. Standing at the highest point on the course, you hit a blind tee shot to a rolling fairway far below, guided only by a post roughly indicating the middle of the invisible short grass. A decent drive leaves a long iron to a somewhat tricky green guarded by dunes and fescue on both sides. Many golf balls have disappeared forever on this hole!
From here things get better. 11 is a nice medium par 4 with a heavily sloped green. 12 is a longish but open par 5. 13 is a tricky uphill par 3, especially if the pin is at the front. The entire green slopes back to front, and anything short will roll back down the hill in front of the green, and leaving the ball above the hole invites a slippery downhill putt that can often slip by the pin and even roll off the green and down the hill. 14 and 15 are medium length par 4s which require care in the placement of tee shots to ensure a good angle to the green. 16 is a long but straight forward par 4. 17 is a long par 3 requiring anything from a 6 iron to a driver, depending on the wind. The gaping bunker which catches your eye off the tee is in fact not in play as it is well forward of the putting surface. 18 is a shorter finishing par 4 that has its share of trouble off the tee but a simple approach to the green is the reward for a well placed shot. Do not go long as it is OB only a few feet over the green!
Overall the New is a very satisfying walk and well worth playing more than once. Like fine wine, it definitely grows on you with further sips. Enjoy!
It’s interesting reading the other reviews of the New Course - there’s the inevitable comparison to the Old Course, although this can, as a result, lesson the impact the New would have on you compared to if it was situated by itself in another part of the Country.
As our golfing trip came to an end, I picked the New to play as had played the Old last year and wanted to experience the 2nd best ranked course at the Home Of Golf. Today, the wind was up at around 25-30mph and gusts significantly stronger, plus for added measure, a few downpours with the rain blowing straight into your face. It meant this, on the whole, out and back course played significantly differently depending on whether you had the wind assisting, or blowing against/across you. As a result it presented very different challenges throughout the round.
I wont go through each hole, that’s been done may times before, but with the exception of the 6th, the 1st 8 holes play out towards the Eden estuary. The 6th, gave me a taste of what to expect on the inward 9 holes, a very strong wind, holding up your drive and pulling it left.
The other 7 holes of the outward 8, with the wind assisting meant straight drives were rewarded with substantial distance, as the ball bounded along the firm and springy close cut turf. The wind meant though that the approach shot to the green sites struggled to hold on the green, so I spent much of my early holes, chipping back on from the back of the green. By the time I adjusted to playing bump and runs or putting from long range to remove that issue, I was heading for the turn, where I would be faced with the very different challenge of very strong winds straight at you and across you from the right.
The best section is holes 8 -10. That isn’t to mark down any of the others as I thought the course was an excellent test, especially in todays weather. But the par 5 8th, with the green site sat behind a narrow entrance of 2 high dunes with the estuary behind you was a good looking hole from your drive to putting out. And then the 9th, a 230 yard par 3, which normally would mean driver for me, with the wind behind it was nice to nail a 3 hybrid 234 yards to the back of the green. And then the 10th, which like other reviewers have covered is a superb par 4 which rounds this little stretch at the turn off nicely.
As we moved towards the last few holes the wind picked up even more, blowing the ball off the tee and practically my wife over at the same time. But I loved the challenge, keeping the ball flight low, avoiding bunkers that on a still day wouldn’t come into play, adjusting to the wind holding up approach shots (which had been the opposite issue on the outward stretch). The greens were quick throughout, rolling firm and true.
Yes, its not the same as the Old Course but that’s a good thing. Not having the same sense of history around you as you play your round meant I just enjoyed the golf course for what it was, a quality links course with some excellent holes, undulations a plenty, fast running fairways, gorse framed holes and well designed green sites.
This is a course you must play; you will enjoy the experience, regardless of any Old Course comparisons.
St Andrews is the Mecca for golfers and it. Is interesting to read other reviews of the New Course. The condition is impeccable, as you would expect it to be. Fine turf, immaculate bunkers, thick gorse, rough rough, if you stray too far from the short stuff, but a fair course if you steer a tight line around it.
What left me slightly disillusioned was the memorability factor, or lack of. Yes, the 8th is a great par 5 and the 9th a really strong and difficult par 3, but apart from that, I am struggling to recall specific holes. There are blind drives where you need to trust your stroke saver, hidden bunkers that appear from nowhere and humps and hollows that give and sometimes take. Everything you would expect of a wonderful links course.
You have the St Andrews feel all the way round. You know you are playing at the home of golf, and that is special enough. When I look back at this trip however, the New Course won’t be the one that lasts longest in my memory.
Interesting to read a review that reflects my own feelings about the New Course as I was also a little underwhelmed, particularly when comparing it to the magic of the Old and given the course’s lofty reputation. Having said that, I’ve only played it the once so maybe it’s a course that reveals its subtleties the more you play it?
Running alongside The Old Course, the New has a good amount in common – you can putt from everywhere, there are hollows and humps to play with, it’s scoreable if the wind isn’t too bad. It’s a fun and impressive golf course.
There were at least half a dozen stand-out holes, the most memorable of which may be the par 5 8th. The green is nestled up a hill between dunes, and bunkers suggest you lay up. Afterwards you’re rewarded with a great view over the estuary.
If arranging a St Andrews trip, this course is worth prioritising rather than being a mere back-up. Its green fee is great value for the golf on offer.
I was lucky enough to play this course in mid December on a clear gusty afternoon. The winter green fees are £40 and are excellent value for money. There is no booking needed you simply report to the new course starter.
Due to is being in winter it was required to play of the matts when playing off the fairway. However, due to the tightness of the course I found ample opportunity to hit it out of somewhat forgiving rough. The course provides incredible scenery alongside the old course and the outlook over eden bay during the inter sun was second to none. In particular the 9th was my stand out hole. The 225 yard par three gave me the opportunity to launch my 2 iron onto quite a forgiving green. I would like to point out that on the winter tees the men and women play off the same tee for a lot of the course. I was playing with a 13 handicap woman and I would say she struggled with the length of the course. Often having to one put to make par and making the chance of making birdie incredibly hard.
Do not be put off by the winter greens. This course is in immaculate conditions with fast greens that blend into the fairway that would challenge the finest of courses in summer conditions. A few of the bunkers are currently GUR but this did not effect the course at all in my opinion. The ground itself is hard and remained true.
I would recommend that people play this course twice. Especially if you are like myself and playing as a visitor without a member. A lot of the holes really leave you guessing as to where the pin is (even with the course guide). The 10th in particularly really hides the pin with the course seamlessly blending into the natural undulations of the terrain and flora. A second time around might give you the chance to take more risks and let loose with the driver.
I have to say that the members of staff were incredibly welcoming throughout my visit and very helpful. It was a fantastic day out and not only enjoyed a great day of golf with family but got to enjoy views across the bay, town and other courses.
I'm lucky to have played the New quite a few times now - locals prefer it since the Old is too busy and slow, and the Jubilee and Castle are tricked up. Much quicker greens that you expect, and you can have a blast and a quick round. Some great golf, particularly around the turn on the Eden estuary, and the backdrop to the run for home reminds you that you are at St Andrews and about to have a very nice and long lunch ! Already booked for Summer 2020.
I too love the New Course - but I wouldn’t describe the Jubilee Course as “tricked up” - to me (I play off 9) it’s tougher than the other St Andrew’s Links, including The Old Course, but it’s a fair test. What you see is what you play - it’s all laid out in front of you.
Agreed, I enjoy all of them. I was passing on the Locals' prejudices - maybe they would rather say that Jubilee is much harder than it was, but the ones I know definitely play New in preference to the others for social golf.
The oldest ‘new’ course in the world, the second course at the Home of Golf was built by the Keeper of the Green Tom Morris in 1895 and it was imaginatively named to differentiate from its famous neighbor. Boasting undulating fairways and challenging greens, the New Course is a classic test of Links golf. Challenging, particularly when the wind is up. Narrow fairways greet you on the front nine. Excellent design, tougher than the Old and in some ways a better design. Holes 9 - 11 can make or break your round. Not my favorite but still well worth playing.