Reason for a Fairmont St Andrews review

A friend and I made the trip up to Scotland for The Open at Carnoustie and, having recovering from a broken wrist just a few days before, we organised to play a course at the last minute near to where we were staying for the weekend.

Where is the Fairmont St Andrews?

The Fairmont resort is about 10 minutes down the Fife coastline, so it couldn’t be a better location for a trip to one of the world’s finest golfing areas.

What to expect

The front nine of the Torrance Course feels every bit the resort course it is, with a high ball flight needed, particularly into the receptive greens.

But moving onto the back nine the course really starts to sink its teeth in. A number of tricky tee shots and greens await with gorse bushes lining plenty of the fairways. Keeping your ball straight from tee to green is an absolute must if you are to have any success.

Favourite hole

The 16th. A long iron or shorter wood off the tee will leave you good yardage into a green to which you are hitting down the hill.

From the fairway there are spectacular views of the surrounding areas and you can see the town of St Andrews to your left and you can also see where the towns of Carnoustie and Monifieth are situated across the water.

The 16th is the beginning of a wonderful final stretch which also sees you play the par-3 17th and par-5 18th which, as I found out, can ruin your card if you have started to become wayward off the tee.

My best bit

Thanks to a downpour prior to the round, it felt like the front nine played right into my hands with the greens softened for the approach shots but still running relatively quick when putting.

We joined up with a group in front on the 8th hole due to slow play, only to find out it was Zach Johnson’s caddie Damon Green, who was practising ahead of Senior Open qualifying the week after The Open. At that point Johnson was leading The Open heading into the weekend, so that was a fun couple of hours.

A chip in two on the 8th hole was particular highlight, moving me to 2-under par for the front nine and I could have easily been four or five under at that point.

Unfortunately, the round fell apart with around seven holes remaining and I carded a round of 77. Maybe it was the pressure of playing with a pro…

What to look for

The Torrance Course hosted the Senior Open in 2010 so there is plenty of memorabilia and signage around like the one on the first tee.

It’s also worth seeing where they tee off from during a professional tournament because I always find it interesting to see the type of angles and distances they have to hit into holes from the championship tees compared to the regular ones.

When I go back

If I were to go back to Fairmont St Andrews I’d definitely attack the back nine differently and wouldn’t use the driver as often as I did. The course is a little more exposed so you feel like you need the big stick off most tees but this isn’t always the case.