I have had the pleasure of playing the Old Course 6 times in the last 4 years. I've played it on beautiful and calm sunny days, under torrential rain, windy and cold days, and even with a little bit of snow dropping from above. I truly believe this to be the best golfing experience around. And what they say is true: the more you play, the more you love.
It is not the most spectacular of layouts as far as natural features are concerned. It is much flatter than some other great links suchs as Cruden Bay or Royal Dornoch. But the subtlety of every bump, hollow and break on the green is second to none. It is a thinking man's course. On beautiful days, in you drive it long and avoid the miss to the right, you can really score. But on windy days, it can show a lot of teeth. And for the amount of play this course gets, conditionning is tremendous.
When you add in the surrounding of St-Andrews, with the R&A building and the whole town itself, it really makes it all a unique experience. Many people say that if it were built anywhere else but St-Andrews and if it weren't as old, it would not be talked about in such revence. That might be the case... But who cares! Yes the setting makes it unique, and that's part of the whole experience. The best golf course is not always the one with the most impressive features, elevations changes, over-penal hazards and crazy fast greens.
The one thing that stands out of playing the Old Course, and that is also a feature of many older (and some newer) links course, is FUN! It is not the most difficult course, yet it is not easy. It gives you chances at birdies, even eagles, with some shorter holes. Bu then, the home stretch from 14 to 17 wreck havoc into your scorecard if you're not carefull. And nothing beats coming home over the bridge on the 18th. What is also so great about the Old Course is it seems to adhere to what many great architects have always thought: not every par 4 is meant to be played in 4 shots and not every par 5 is meant to be played in 5 shots, what is important is that courses balance tougher holes with birdie opportunities.
The course is great, the surrounding is unique and the experience is well... Brilliant!
Date: October 26, 2016