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st andrews old course

Want to play the Old Course in reverse? Here’s how…

From 1st tee to 17th green, and from 2nd tee to 18th green… That’s how the Old Course will be playing in the spring!

 

Ever wondered how the Old Course at St Andrews would play the other way round? Now is your chance to find out.

The Home of Golf will switch to its reverse routing over six days in March and April next year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of St Andrews Links Trust.

A limited number of packages are available to play the world’s most famous golf course in this alternative way.

The history of the reverse layout

Go back into the history vaults and you’ll find the Old Course, which has existed in some form since the 1400s, could be played in either direction.

The tradition, which was regularly practised, fell away in the early part of 20th Century as the current routing became standard. But that often left golfers asking questions, such as: ‘why is that bunker there?’ These posers were revealed when you turned round and looked at how the course ran in reverse.

The Old Course has played host to the Open Championship on 30 occasions, with the most recent of those coming in 2022 when Australia’s Cameron Smith lifted the Claret Jug.

But it’s reverse routing is only usually laid out once a year. It proves a special experience for those who get the chance to try it.

In 2019, Huddersfield member David Hall was one of those lucky few.

“On the 1st, you hit towards Swilcan Bridge, which was a 260 yard run out. I was aiming as far left as possible,” Hall said about his experience.

Old course reverse

“It’s still a really simple, easy, opening drive but my ball fell off the tee about four or five times I was shaking that much.”

Neil Coulson, St Andrews Links Trust chief executive, said: “We are excited to introduce Old Course Reversed, which will give more of our ticketholders and golf visitors the opportunity to experience something unique in the world of golf. 

“The anti-clockwise routing is such a vital piece of the history and evolution of the Old Course we feel it is important to celebrate this during a dedicated event open to all golfers from near and far.

“We believe the introduction of Old Course Reversed will be hugely popular and will capture the imagination of golfers around the world.”

How can you play the Old Course in reverse?

Applications will be open for just 48 hours – on December 11 and 12. There are a range of packages available for golfers to grab their chance of playing the Old Course in reverse between March 28 and April 2, 2024.

One package, priced at £575, will include playing the Old Course twice, including once in reverse, along with a round on the Castle Course as well. That package also includes food & drink vouchers, and vouchers for the Academy.

Check out the St Andrews Links website for more information.

Now have your say

Have you been lucky enough to play the Old Course in reverse? Is it something you would like to do? Have you been lucky enough to play the Old Course at all? Let us know your thoughts with a post on X!

Matt Coles

Matt Coles

Mention a European country, and Matt will tell you which resorts make the National Club Golfer Top 100s: European Resorts list. He might even throw in who designed the golf course and how many rooms the hotel has got at each one…

Matt got into the game of golf from a young age, following his old man to the local golf club. He fell for the sport, and now can’t seem to go a day without thinking about how to improve his game (Thanks Dad!). Matt has been a member of Howley Hall GC in Leeds since 2020, and is just about managing to maintain a single-figure handicap. He likes to remind people that he once broke 75, but won’t tell people that it was on a shortened course during the winter.

He moved to Leeds after graduating from the University of Central Lancashire with a First Class Honours degree in Sports Journalism. Matt joined NCG after almost five years travelling the world with the Professional Squash Association, working on events in all four corners of the globe.

Matt currently plays a Cobra King LTDx driver and RadSpeed 3-wood. TaylorMade monopolise the rest of his bag, with a SIM UDI, M5 irons and both Milled Grind and HI-TOE wedges, along with a Monza Redline putter. He uses a Vice Pro Plus golf ball, because he’s a bit different…

Away from golf, Matt is a Manchester United fan, and a keen runner, having ran the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon (his first and possibly last), in May 2023.

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