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|The new Castle Course at St. Andrews checks in at No. 65 on Golf Digest's "Top 100 Greatest Courses Outside the U.S." list. (Courtesy St. Andrews Links Trust)|
Golf Digest places the Old Course, the New Course, the Castle Course and the Jubilee Course, all at St. Andrews, and Kingsbarns Golf Links, near St. Andrews, on its "Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses Outside the United States" list.
From the oldest golf course in the world to Scotland's newest, St. Andrews remains an unbeatable golf destination home to some of the world's finest links.
Golf Digest recently announced its 2009 list of the "Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses Outside the United States," and five golf courses in St. Andrews (four Links Trust courses, plus Kingsbarns just down the road) grace the list. That's more Top 100 golf in one vicinity than anywhere else in the world.
Thirteen golf courses in Scotland make the list, which heavily favors links golf courses in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Here's a look at St. Andrews' fab five golf courses:
Tiger Woods, among many of the game's greats, has called The Old Course at St. Andrews his favorite course in the world.
It checks in at No. 2 in Golf Digest's rankings but remains perhaps the most coveted round of golf in the entire world, thanks to not only being the world's first golf course but, in so many ways, the most unique, including its seven, massive, rolling double greens that make the short game almost a course unto itself.
And despite its lofty status, the Old Course is incredibly accessible to the public in a variety of ways, from pre-booking each fall to booking with tour operators to the daily ballot. Green fees: £130.
When Kingsbarns Golf Links, no. 18 on Golf Digest's list, opened in 1999 about seven miles southeast of the heart of St. Andrews, it signaled a new era of links design.
The course is set on a leveled, man-made amphitheater, providing not only tremendous views of the sea (including two holes on the back nine that play over the water), but visibility from raised tee boxes to wide fairways are especially forgiving compared to more traditional links with their blind shots.
Each fall, Kingsbarns hosts the pros at the Dunhill Links, along with the Old Course and Carnoustie Golf Links an hour away. Green fees: £165.
No. 63 on the list, the New Course at St. Andrews hasn't been "new" for more than 100 years now, but it shares similarly striking dunesland right alongside the Old Course. It was built in 1895 by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club when the original Old Course had become overwhelmed with play.
Still a championship test today, the New complements the Old in a unique way despite the fact so many golf courses exist in Fife now. It operates daily mostly on a first-come, first-serve basis, which allows those groups who don't make the daily ballot on the Old Course a chance to play this lesser-known but still highly respected old-world links gem. Green fees: £65.
The Links Trust's latest addition, and the first of its courses not located on the original land next to town, St. Andrews' Castle Course, just a mile southeast of the city, is an entirely different golf experience, high above the town of St. Andrews and hugging the cliffs along the sea.
Currently ranked 65th, it seems that time will only make the Castle catapult higher on this list. Green fees: £117.50.
Nestled between the New Course and the sea, St. Andrews' Jubilee Course was named after Queen Victoria and was formerly a 12-hole course until 1905. It wasn't until a Donald Steele redesign in 1989 that the course came into international prominence and separated itself from the bunch.
Often overshadowed by the Old and New, not to mention scores of other historic links in Scotland, the 92nd-ranked course is a new addition to Golf Digest's Top 100.
"It is pleasing to see some well deserved recognition for the Jubilee Course," said Alan Macgregor, chief executive of the Links Trust. "This is no mean feat when you see the caliber of the courses from around the world included in the ranking."
At 6,742 yards, many St. Andrews locals consider the Jubilee the most difficult to play from the daily tees than any of the other Links Trust courses, and it has hosted such national events as the Scottish Amateur Strokeplay Championship and qualifying for the 2004 Amateur Championship. Green fees: £65.
Click here to see Golf Digest's complete list of the "100 Best Golf Courses Outside the United States."
April 21, 2009
Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Channel Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours.
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