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Love it or hate it, the new St. Andrews Castle Course is already drawing reader controversy

Castle Course at St. Andrews
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The new Castle Course in St. Andrews has become a lightning rod for debate. (Kiel Christianson/WorldGolf.com)

Into just its first summer, the Castle Course at St. Andrews, the Links Trust's seventh golf course, is receiving plenty of raves - and its share of rants, too.

It's been one of WorldGolf.com's most reader-reviewed golf courses this year, and while it's universally considered one of the most beautiful courses, its design is receiving very polarizing opinions.

Nine-handicap Vaughan Clarke wrote the course is far too difficult for not only him but any single-digit handicapper when he played the course in July.

"I played with a group of friends who all play off single-figure handicaps, and the best score was a 90, and this was on a calm day," wrote Clarke.

Clarke added:

"There comes a point where a course is so brutal that the game ceases to be fun, and this course goes way beyond that point. Penal doesn't even describe it."

Norm Keevil, an R & A Member, defends the course design.

"The complaints about hairy bumps in the fairway should be ignored," Keevil wrote. "They are part of golf and not invisible. Ditto the greens, which have severe slopes here and there but which are obvious to the eye and part of golf as well."

Seven-handicap John Clarke Muir said it's the greens that made the course over-the-top hard when he played the Castle Course on Oct. 8.

"Every green is a humpback roller coaster requiring the touch, skill and patience of TIger to make a two-putt from anywhere but a very select area!" he wrote.

"What we have is just eye candy - not a golf course."

One-handicap John Cuffe disagrees and says the greens are part of what makes the golf course so enjoyable.

"The greens will never be lightning fast due to the humps and hollows," wrote Cuffe. "But that makes the course so entertaining.

"Some of the best views offered anywhere in the world of golf. The course is tough, but when played from the correct tees, it is fair for all golfers."

If you have played the Castle Course yourself and would like to add your two pence, you can do so by visiting the course guide for Castle Course.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.

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