Playing a round of golf at St Andrews in the Kingdom of Fife is an ambition of many Golfers. The kingdom has many of the finest golf courses in Scotland, including the world-famous Old Course at St Andrews, home to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, which is the the central focus of world golf.
St Andrews Links is known throughout the golfing world as "The 'Home' of Golf". This is where golf came into being and where the traditions of the game have been evolved over the last six centuries. It is place of international golf importance, and the famous 'Links' are now managed by St Andrews Links Trust, a charitable organisation which looks after all the St Andrews Links Courses, including the world famous Old Course.
The town of St Andrews is one of my favourite places; so full of history and beauty, glorious beaches, and the oldest university in Scotland (where Prince William studied; but it is the game of golf which has come to dominate the town. However, if you are visiting - please do take some time out to visit some of the Historic Buildings or wander round some of the parks and gardens, or enjoy some time looking at the Museums and Art Galleries, especially the Golf Museum. There's also the superb Visitor Attractions as well as the glorious Fife Beaches.
Everywhere you go, you see evidence of this town being the Golfing Capital of the world. But let's have a wee look at how it got its reputation as the 'Home' of Golf.
Golf was first played in St Andrews in 1400 and became so popular that King James II saw fit to prohibit the game 57 years later, supposedly because it was interfering with the archery practice of his subjects.
However, it didn't stop the popularity of the game and 300 years later, the Society of St Andrews Golfers was formed.
In 1764 the original course was reduced from 22 holes to 18.
King William IV approved of the game and became patronage of the society; which resulted in it becoming "The Royal and Ancient Golf Club".
The famous clubhouse was built in 1853, and 20 years later it hosted the first of the 25 Open Championships to be played there.
At the end of the 19th century the rules of golf were drawn up at St Andrews, again strengthening the town's role as the Home of Golf.
The Rules of Golf committee sat at 'The Royal and Ancient' for the first time in 1897.
The R & A was given the responsibility for the organisation of "The Open" by the group of clubs (26 in all) which had previously run the championship.
For all you Lady Golfers out there - St Andrews was also home to the first Ladies Golf Club, founded in 1867.
By the way if you're looking for a great selection of Golf Tips then do visit this site.
Ancient & Royal Clubhouse, St Andrews
St Andrews' Famous Golfing Son
Thomas Mitchell "Tom" Morris, Sr. or "Old Tom Morris" as he was known was born on 16 June 1821 and died 24 May 1908 was one of the pioneers of professional golf. He was born in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, the "home of golf" and location of the St Andrews Links and died there as well. His son Tom Morris, Jr. (who died in 1875), became known as "Young Tom Morris", was also a champion golfer.
Morris was an apprentice to Allan Robertson, who was regarded as the real first professional golfer. He worked as a greenkeeper, clubmaker and course designer, as well as playing tournament golf. He came second in the first Open Championship in 1860, and won the following year. He followed this up with further victories in 1862, 1864 and 1867. He still holds records as the oldest winner of The Open Championship at 46. Also he was part of the only father/son couple being winner and runner-up.
Morris played a role in designing courses across the British Isles, including Muirfield, Prestwick, Carnoustie, Warkworth in Northumberland, same year (1891) as Muirfield, Askernish links in South Uist and Rosapenna links in Ireland. There is currently a road in St Andrews, Fife named after him. The 18th hole at St Andrews golf course is named after the golfer in memory of his commitment to the course, and to golf in general.
Tom Morris was also the father of modern Greens-Keeping. He introduced the concept of top-dressing greens and introduced many new and interesting ideas on turf and course management, including actively managing hazards (in the past, bunkers and the like were largely left to their own devices, becoming truly "hazardous"). In course design he standardized the golf course length at 18 holes (St. Andrews had at one time been 23 holes), and introduced the idea of each nine holes returning to the club house. He also introduced the modern idea of placing hazards so that the golf ball could be routed around them. Before the, these hazards were thought of as obstacles that either had to be carried or were there to punish a wayward ball.
Old Tom Morris held the record for largest margin of victory in a major championship (13 strokes) in the 1862 Open Championship, which stood until Tiger Woods won the 2000 U.S. Open by 15 strokes.
Golf at St Andrews Today
Golf at St Andrews is at the centre of the town's tourism industry, with the British Golf Museum on the Bruce Embankment a focal point.
The town St Andrews attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. (Of course from October to May each year there is a huge student population with students from around the world wanting to attend Scotland's Oldest University). It is a very expensive place to live and property prices have escalated in recent years making it the third most expensive place in Scotland.
St Andrews has some fabulous courses and new ones are being built or planned right now. ()But please note there are many other fabulous courses throughout Fife.)
But of course it is "The Old Course" which is the focus of attention for the famous Open Championship.
The famous golfer Jack Nicklaus is reported to have said: "If a golfer is going to be remembered he must win the title at St Andrews".
However, you may be interested in generally improving your game - if you are check out this site - Probable Golf Instruction: Lower scores by making better choices on the course. New golf technology; more distance. "Master Your Own Game." Applied physics & math to improve golf. Free golf tips based on the latest scientific research.
If you've enjoyed this page on 'Golf at St Andrews' why not look at some of these other pages:
St Andrews - Have a look at the lovely old town of St Andrews itself. Discover some of the other things to do when you're not playing golf! golf courses in Fife - Make time to visit some of the other fabulous courses in Fife. Sports in Fife - I think you will be surprised at how many sporting activities there are in the Kingdom of Fife! Cycling in Fife - Enjoy the wonderful cycle routes around the Kingdom. St Andrew Golf Souvenir - Find yourself a nice Golf Souvenir. Things to DO in Fife - Have a wee look at some of the other fabulous things to do in the Kingdom. Place to SEE in Fife - Have a wee tour round the kingdom of Fife. Fife Beaches - Discover some of the award-winning beaches in Fife. Visitor Attractions - Make time to explore some of the excellent Visitor Attractions. Golf Links - Links to other Golf courses and Resources throughout the world.
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