Sunday Mystery: Why is the Old Course, St. Andrews, closed?

04.05.2024 | Old Course

It’s the most famous golf course in the world, but when it comes to Sundays, golf is not allowed to be played here.

If you’re lucky enough to drive past St Andrews on a Sunday morning, you might be in for a big surprise. You’ll probably see people jogging, walking their dogs, having a picnic or even kicking a ball around. But when it comes to golf, that’s completely out of the question on a Sunday at the home of golf. So why is the old course closed on Sundays?

St Andrews is the birthplace of the sport and abounds with a rich history and unique traditions. One of these is that golf is not allowed to be played on the Old Course on a day of rest.

Traditional Prohibition: A Heritage from the 16th Century

The history of Sundays on the Old Course -Sleep Sundays on the Old Course date back to the 16th century and historians explain this tradition by religious reasons. It is said that the people of St Andrews faithfully observed a religious rule that forbade such activities on a day of rest.

The wisdom of Old Tom Morris, or why the golf legend advocated Sunday closure

Fast forward two centuries and locals then lobbied for Old Tom Morris to abolish the rule in the late 19th century. Unfortunately for them, the legendary figure upheld the Sunday closure, claiming his iconic course needed a rest. “If a golfer doesn’t need rest, the course certainly does,” he said. Morris’ wisdom still holds true today and the Old Course remains closed on Sundays.

Important Exception: Opening for Major Tournaments
The one exception, of course, is for tournaments held in town, such as the Open Championship, the oldest tournament in the world.



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