St Andrews Old Course: Walking through history

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St Andrews

Ricoh Women’s British Open at the Old Course, St Andrews on August 4, 2013 in St Andrews, Scotland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Accessing the Old Course

The Old Course is tucked into a corner of St. Andrews, between the town and the sea.  We stayed south of Market Street, where the majority of shops and restaurants are located.  We were even further south of the Old Course.

And yet, it was a twenty minute walk, tops, to reach the course.

The eighteenth hole is bordered, not with a tall hedge or solid fence.  There is no gated entrance.  There is merely a 4-foot high barrier fence that separates The Links Road from the links itself.  In fact, Windmill Road bisects the eighteenth and first fairways.

We first stumbled upon the course one evening when we were walking through town.  We were focusing on the ruins of the old St. Andrews Cathedral, then the ruins of St. Andrews Castle.  Walking another fifty yards, I looked up and said to my wife, Alice, “You know where we are, don’t you?”  There in front of us was the R&A Clubhouse and the eighteenth green.

We walked down Links Road along with a myriad of other golfing tourists.  A foursome from China  were taking photos of each other with the Swilken Bridge in the background.  We offered to take one of the four of them, and they returned the favor.

In the meantime, as dusk was definitely making it difficult to see, we witnessed foursomes finishing their rounds.  As soon as a foursome would finish, they would have the requisite photos made as they crossed the Swilken Bridge.

Then, to my surprise (and this happened after every group we saw in our short time there), a group of tourists would duck under the fence, run onto the course, and have their photos made on the Bridge.

As I said, it is an accessible course!

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