Have you guys ever read lists like 101 Things to do Before You Die? I have, latest about five minutes ago. On the top of the most these kind lists are things like travel around the world, see the World’s Seven Wonders, learn a new language, run a marathon, write a book etc. All good…
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All good ones for sure! But I quickly made a donkey bridge in my mind and started to think, what are the things every golfer should do before they die? In the last post I pondered, Where’s the Future Home of Golf, but this time I’ll be more traditional 🙂
Did I draw bends too straight since the idea first occurred to my mind what every golfer should do is that you really have to play a round in The Home of Golf, St. Andrews Old Course. Are there really any other options?
City of Golf
I got the opportunity to make a dream come true in late October 2008. At the same time, that was my first round at real links golf course. Any better place to take first steps on links than The Old Course, I doubt! This trip to Scotland was organized by a travel agency, so tee time was guaranteed. But if you plan to make a trip to St. Andrews by your own, there’s a daily ballot system for golfers who have not managed to secure an Old Course tee time in advance.
If you have a bad luck in the ballot and you fail to get a tee time to the Old Course, there’s absolutely no need to feel depressed. There are six other courses – all good level, and the whole St. Andrews’ small city is like Legoland for the golf lovers.
Singnboard outside the house where four-time Open Champion Old Tom Morris lived.
Old Tom Morris’ old house he lived, British Golf Museum, small boutiques full of golf stuff, friendly people who all knows, what birdie means – totally unique atmosphere there. And I couldn’t help myself thinking while having coffee, that maybe I’m sitting exact on the same chair, which has been under Nicklaus’ butt back in the days!
Why, oh why, I didn’t bought that one…
About the Old Course: visually, there are more spectacular courses around (for example Kingsbarns and Carnoustie, which I played on the same trip). Still, Old Course is Old Course. I felt cold vibes on the first tee and I dare to say I’m not the only one. Course is pretty friendly for the player in my opinion. Flat, unambiguous, friendly and rewards you for good shots. It’s a very good course, one of my all-time favorites.
From the club tee, the Old Course is an easy links course, depends how many times you will face the bottom of pot bunkers. I shot 77 and made triple bogey on 16th. Luckily I saved par on the 17th, Road Hole, which is maybe the most famous par 4 in the world. Damn you 16th, still annoys me. Working to get over that. Some day 🙂
Respectable row of tables about the golfers we all know – The Open Champions during the history of the oldest Championship in Golf.
What annoys me more is that I didn’t bought the corny souvenir from the gift shop after my round. It was a golden patch with text “I played The Old Course under 80” or something like that. Hahah, how cool that patch would be on my bag 😉
And because every travel posts should give restaurant recommendations, I have to respect the trend too and give you one: right side of the Road Hole, where’s the famous Old Course Hotel stands too, is a restaurant called Jigger Inn. I heard that’s Tiger Woods’ favorite restaurant and place where he first went after winning his first Open in 2000. What did Tiger ordered, cannot remember – I ate fish and chips, the best I ever had in my life.
“Must-take” picture from the Swilcan Bridge on Old Course’s 18th hole. Just wanted to prove I’ve been there 😉