St Andrews is for golfers what an all you can eat candy store would be for kids or a Swedish summer evening that would actually stay above 20 degrees; in other words, a heaven on earth that you might only get a chance in a lifetime to experience. We were lucky enough to get three and the ever so important extra half day in this golfing Mecca. An amazing visit in great company with memories that will stay with us all for the rest of our lives.
All those images that pop up in your head from former British Open´s, Rocca´s putt from the Valley of Sin, Jordan Spieth´s nervous left hook off the 18th tee, Ian Baker Finch´s snap hook out of bounds on the first tee etc. Memories that were transmitted through a television that suddenly comes to life in your own head in front of your eyes. In many ways a surreal experience. Half of the group had already had the pleasure to experience the Old course before so when we got lucky in the ballot we made our spots available for the “newbies” and I must say that the pleasure was almost as intense watching them step up on that first tee, low handicappers with lots of competition experience that almost starting to shake with excitement and nerves for hitting that tee shot on the 100+ yards wide first fairway that suddenly looked so narrow and almost impossible to hit.
The schedule for the vacation ended up pretty intense even for us. The Thursday started with a lovely lunch at the wonderful Steak Barn in St Andrews when arriving which was followed up by 18 holes at the Castle Course. We took advantage of a three day all you can play deal on the St Andrews courses for 225 Pounds (excluding the Old Course). I had personally never played the Castle course and was really looking forward to it. Visually I would say that this one beats the other courses even though it still lacks a bit in condition in comparison with very slow greens. It is not considered a links course but is instead played on top of cliffs with spectacular views overlooking the area. Quite a tricky course with quite a lot of up and downhill walks. On a whole a decent course but nothing out of the ordinary.
Friday morning some of the others did their debut on the Old course at the wonderful tee off time 6.50, but getting up that morning was not really a problem for the guys that were to play, like a bunch of kids the night before Christmas day.
The rest of us put our focus on the Jubilee course, in my opinion the best St Andrews course after the classic “Old” one. That day we played three rounds of golf. 54 freaking holes and to all of those who still claim golf isn’t a sport might want to try it out. We had the first starting time in the morning and we were the last ones left on the course in the evening. We used Air BnB while staying in St Andrews and it worked perfectly apart from walking up three sets of stairs with golf bags after 54 holes of golf. The village really breathes golf and it really is such a special atmosphere.
Saturday morning was back to the Castle course for another shot at it and once again, beautiful views but lacks somewhat in condition. The afternoon was another highlight in the form of Carnoustie, the upcoming host for the 2018 British Open. Another course I have personally played before and since my feet had more resemblance to a chewed piece of meat after 54 holes Friday and 18 Saturday morning I decided to pass and walk around the course with my camera instead.
Carnoustie is one of those courses that speaks for itself the minute you set foot at the premises. It is such a beautiful course and you will feel in your own little dream for the entire time of playing it.
We got so extremely lucky to play Carnoustie in such amazing weather. The perfect golf challenge with really strong winds but blue skies and close to 20 degrees.
After 54+36 holes the group was getting a bit worn out but still in great spirits for the last day of golf at Murcar Links just outside of Aberdeen. This course is a little hidden gem in my opinion, a real links experience that will test your golf and your patience to its limits. Its always in great condition and a very tough challenge for all levels.
All in all a very satisfying couple of days in golfing heaven and an absolute must for every golfer out there at least once in a lifetime. You will not regret it.