Review of the Month April 2020 – St Andrews (Castle)
Whoever built this modern addition to the St. Andrews Links Trust's collection was always going to be under extreme pressure, and this course is controversial and can completely divide opinion. For example, I’ve spoken to many people who would have it right up there as one of their favourite courses, and you only have to compare this to Tom Doak's ‘0’ score given in The Confidential Guide.
For me, it’s somewhere in the middle. I may be a “soft marker”, but it would take a lot for me to not enjoy a round of golf, as I definitely abide by “a bad day on the golf course is better than a good day in the office”. However, in general this course is fun, there is mostly width and strategy, and there aren’t many flat putts.
Where I think this course can come undone is the contours are just sometimes too strong, and seem out of place for the difficulty of a hole. For example, readers will be aware of my affinity for short par 4s or short par 3s that have really interesting greens… For example 6 at Kingsbarns or 7 at Barnbougle. Where they aren’t fun is when you are hitting 200+ yards into crazy greens, and inevitably have a 20-foot+ putt for par at best.
Some of the memorable holes include the 9th and 18th, and I enjoyed David McLay Kidd's ode to The Old Course with the shared double green. The par 3 17th played off the cliff is also a fun shot, but again the length makes it a very hard shot to one of the course's smaller greens.
All in all, it is worth a look to see if you do indeed love it or hate it, but for me its somewhere in the middle!
Review of the Month April 2020 selected by Editor-in-Chief, Keith Baxter, and sponsored by TaylorMade – click to read more about St Andrews (Castle).