St. Andrews Castle Course racks up the awards in 2008

By Brandon Tucker, Managing Editor

In a town with more than six centuries of golf history, it's the newest course that's stolen the spotlight from the Old Course in 2008. Opened this summer, the Castle Course at St. Andrews, just two miles from the town center, is receiving loads of acclaim in its inaugural season.

The Castle Course - Hole 17
The par-3 17th at The Castle Course is as dangerous, playing over the Kinkell Braes (or ravine), as it is lovely.
The Castle Course - Hole 17The Castle Course- View from 6th GreenThe Castle Course - No. 18The Castle Course at St. Andrews

It has scored three prestigious awards in particular: The first, comes from Travel & Leisure Magazine, naming it the "New Golf Course of the Year." It was also named International Development of the Year by Golf Inc. magazine, narrowly edging the new Els Club in Dubai.

In August, the Castle Course was recognized as the 2008 Turf Professional Project of the Year by the Institute of Groundsmanship, the British and International Golf Greenskeepers Association and leading turf care journalists.

"For a new golf course to receive this level of recognition at such an early stage is quite remarkable," said Alan McGregor, general manager of the Links Trust. "When we began working with the architects David McLay Kidd and Paul Kimber, we knew we were going to create a special course, but I don't think anyone realized just how dramatic and eye-catching it was going to be."

David McLay Kidd, a Scottish architect, built the course overlooking the town of St. Andrews. It comes complete with cliff carries, blind shots, severely sloped greens and loads of stunning vistas. While the Trust's six other courses are set on low-lying dunesland tucked along the sea in the heart of town, the Castle Course plays on cliffs overlooking the sea and the historic townscape below, making for one of golf's more unique stages.

The course closed for the winter on Oct. 31 but had already hosted more than 14,000 rounds of golf since its inauguration date on June 28. Over the winter, adjustments to the course will be made. Some mounds in the fairway will be cut back and reduced, while adjustments will be made to some green complexes as well. Some golfers have criticized the course for being unfair in some spots, while others have praised its old-world approach.

"We have received a large amount of positive feedback, and, it is fair to say, some questions about the challenging nature of the course," acknowledged McGregor. "We had always anticipated making some changes as the course matures, and we will be working on it over the winter."

While the course will be closed until April 1, 2009, advanced bookings can be made through the St. Andrews Links Trust. Also, a select number of Scotland golf packages have a limited number of guaranteed tee times to the Old Course in 2009.

For more information on how to play the Castle Course and the rest of the St. Andrews courses in 2009, from the Old Course to the New Course and Kingsbarns Golf Links, click here.

Brandon TuckerBrandon Tucker, Managing Editor

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. 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. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment