The most storied golf course in the world, St Andrews’ original layout has more quirks than we have space to write. We’ve pick out a few of our favourite nuggets

Because we know you love this sort of thing, here is some good 19th hole fodder on the Old Course at St Andrews…

The Old Course was originally called St Andrews Links. The building of a second course in 1895 then required a distinction between the two, so St Andrews Links became the Old Course and the second course became the New Course.

The Old Course originally had 11 holes. These were played as 11 holes out and the same 11 holes in, making it a 22-hole course. In 1764, the course became nine holes out and the same nine holes in. In 1832, it then became an 18-hole course, with nine holes out and a different nine holes in.

The Old Course is laid out to be played both as we know it but also backwards. You can play from the 1st tee to the 17th green, 18th tee to the 16th green, and so on. It is still played in reverse on special occasions.

If you add the numerical value of the holes that share a green, it always adds up to 18. So the 2nd and 16th holes share a green, as do the 3rd and 15th, 4th and 14th, 5th and 13th, 6th and 12th, 7th and 11th, and 8th and 10th. The only stand-alone greens are the 1st, 9th, 17th and 18th.

The Old Course scorecard is a palindrome. This means the par sequence of each hole from 1-18 and 18-1 is exactly the same.

Old Course St Andrews

The Old Course is closed every Sunday. Historians have traced it back to 16th-century religious reasons, but the official answer is to allow it to rest. You can walk your dog, picnic, or toss a frisbee on the famous links, just don’t play golf!

The Old Course was originally free for all golfers until 1913. Locals continued to have that privilege until 1946. It costs a bit more now, mind.

There are a total of 110 bunkers on the Old Course. Tiger Woods famously avoided them all at The Open in 2000 when he won the Claret Jug by eight shots.

A stone obelisk overlooks the first hole. Known as Martyrs’ Monument, it marks where Protestants died in battle fighting for their faith in the 1500s.

Old Course St Andrews

Two mounds on the 15th hole are fondly known as ‘Miss Grainger’s Bosoms’. They are named after Agnes Grainger, a – shall we say? – popular member of the Ladies Putting Club.


Visit our dedicated Open website for more features from golf’s oldest major


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