St. Andrews is enjoying renewed popularity of late as the hookup spot for the Royal Newlyweds, but it’s been revered by golfers as “The Home of Golf” since the game was invented here in the 1500s.
The vaunted Old Course and neighboring links are not like those in America. There’s not a lot of trees, the outlying seagrass is left wild, and the natural bumps in the terrain haven’t been flattened. There’s an almost raw naturalness to the game in Scotland.
Most travelers fly into the moody medieval capital of Edinburgh. About 90 minutes northeast, St. Andrews is tucked away in the uppermost reaches of the Scottish Lowlands. North of that, the mountainous Highlands are known for their Scotch distilleries, Loch Ness and Braveheart bravado.
Avid golfers will feel a slavish appreciation while walking across the ancient Swilken Bridge on the 18th fairway of The Old Course, where some of golf’s most storied rivalries have played out during the British Open. When Tom Watson ended his career here in 2010, he famously bowed down to kiss the small stone span.
Apparently, there’s a lot of that.
“This is Mecca for golfers,” confirms Tom Goodfellow, sales director for Fairmont St. Andrews. “We see guests all the time come here and the first thing they do is kiss the ground.”
The 209-room seaside resort is situated alone on the outskirts of town overlooking two golf courses, including the Torrance Course (above) used for qualifying rounds for the Open.