Why is it best to play the famous Old Course, St. Andrews in challenging conditions?

04.05.2024 | Old Course

During the interview, Tiger Woods was asked to choose one golf course in the world on which he would play for the rest of his life. Without hesitation, he chose The Old Course at Saint Andrews. He referred to it as his favourite place on earth and highlighted the unique aspect of the course. Every round played here presents a new challenge with ample opportunity to approach each shot in different ways. The Old Course is ever-changing and provides a dynamic experience.

There’s only one way to have the full Scottish experience when playing in St. Andrews, and that’s to embrace the unpredictable and sometimes harsh weather.

That’s exactly what the Notre Dame men’s and women’s golf teams had to do upon arriving in St. Andrews for the first St. Andrews Links Collegiate Tournament.


When they arrived three days before the event, it was drizzly, cold and wet, just as one would expect in late October in Fife, except this storm was unusually severe.

“It literally couldn’t get any worse,” senior Chloe Schiavone said. “I feel like if every course in Scotland closed, it would have to be bad.”

With limited time before the first round, however, the teams set about preparing for the tournament. This training was particularly important as few team members had played links golf before.


Dressed in caps, arm warmers, puffy jackets and vests, the teams took to the range for their first practice rounds.

They said it would be cold and windy in Scotland, but not this cold and windy,” said senior men’s captain Angelo Marcon. “All the courses are closed and they never close in Scotland. Never! This is pretty crazy. I’ve seen a lot of wind, but never this crazy.”

The first two rounds of the tournament would be played on the Jubilee Course followed by the final round on the Old Course.

“I think when the conditions are as extreme as they were, you really get to know the essence of what links golf is,” said Assistant Head Coach Zac Zedrick. “It’s all about the angles, especially on the Old Course.”


  • Historical challenge: The Old Course at St Andrews has been around for centuries and was originally designed to be played in a variety of weather conditions. Playing in inclement weather can give golfers a sense of tradition and a connection to the history of the game.
  • Increased difficulty: bad weather brings additional challenges such as wind, rain and cold temperatures. Dealing with these elements requires golfers to adjust their strategy, club selection and stroke execution, making the game more mentally and physically demanding.
  • Strategic play: Bad weather often requires golfers to take a more conservative and strategic approach to the game. This may mean laying up on some holes, avoiding risky shots and focusing on accuracy rather than distance.
  • Better concentration: playing in adverse weather conditions requires increased concentration and focus. Golfers must block out distractions and maintain mental resilience to focus on each shot, leading to improved mental toughness and performance under pressure
  • Unforgettable experience: Overcoming the challenges associated with playing in adverse weather conditions can lead to a memorable and rewarding experience. It provides golfers with the opportunity to test their skills, adaptability and endurance and create lasting memories of their time on the course.


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