6 tips for playing the Old Course at St Andrews

04.05.2024 | Uncategorized

The Old Course at St Andrews is one of the most famous golf courses and has earned the nickname “The Home of Golf”, and for good reason! The last time The Open was held at St Andrews was in 2015. These tips and tricks will help you get through the course safely, or at least without losing an entire bag full of balls.

1. Avoid rough conditions!

At first glance, the Old Course at St Andrews may look quite simple. It has nice and wide fairways, so your tee shots will avoid the rough, right? If you can handle the tricky wind conditions, you should be able to find the fairway. The famous Swilken Bridge has been graced by the visits of many of the best golfers the world has ever seen in its estimated 500 years of existence, so you should by no means be complacent when playing here. If distance isn’t your best asset off the tee, focus primarily on a safe approach. The course is relatively short by today’s standards, so you should focus primarily on accuracy, not power. Keeping your shots safe in the fairway will be essential to keeping your score low.

2. Try to understand the wind

The first thing to understand is that the wind that swirls around St Andrews is constantly changing. You might be lucky to hit downwind on your first tee shot, but that can change in a matter of minutes. That, however, is what makes this course both a challenge and a lot of fun.

All of the pros who have won the coveted Claret Jug have had to battle the wind while playing this golf course, and they have often been lucky to have it blowing in their direction. Try to keep your shots low to the ground to limit the wind’s effect on the ball. American legend Tom Watson was a serial winner in the UK because he understood how to play in windy conditions. He said his approach to playing in windy weather was to treat his shots more like long chips, swing the club less and reduce spin. This helps prevent the ball from going too high and keeps it under better control by bouncing it down the fairway, much like Tiger’s famous stinger shots.

3. First tee

You’re teeing off on one of the most famous courses in the world, so expect to be a little nervous.Try to relax and focus on keeping the ball low and centered; you don’t really want to get too close to the green on your first shot.The Old Course will try to lull you into a false sense of security with a seemingly simple first hole. The fairway is wide, but if you’re downwind, you’ll end up too close to the green on your first shot, leaving you with a tricky second shot before you even tee off.The Swilken Burn is waiting to steal your ball if you misjudge your shot, so give yourself room to maneuver and leave the ball in the widest part of the fairway. You’ll thank us for it later!

4. The seventeenth hole

The seventeenth hole on the Old Course is considered one of the most difficult holes in all of golf.On the course known as the “home of golf”, there are always tests that will push your golfing skills to the limit.The Road hole is certainly the toughest test. You start by standing over your tee box and are tasked with hitting the ball over The Old Course Hotel, which is located between you and the flag.Most people’s shots end up either in the bunker or rough on the left, or on the road on the right, and each presents two completely different challenges.

If you head left off the tee, you’re faced with the unpleasant task of trying to carry the ball over a long stretch of unforgiving rough. If you head too far left, the best option is to hit the ball back onto the fairway, even if it means aiming far from the pin.

If you head too far right over the hotel, you’ll end up playing out of the way, or worse, against the wall. The safest option is to play a chip and run shot from there, but watch your bounce because if you run too long you’ll end up in the rough next to the green.

The fairway is incredibly narrow, which is a significant change from most of the rest of the course. You have the best chance of a successful tee shot here if you focus on a very specific target and don’t concentrate on anything other than aiming for that spot. A bogey is a decent result on this incredibly difficult hole.

5. Hell bunker

On the 14th hole is the devilishly difficult Hell Bunker. It lies about 100 yards from the green and causes all sorts of problems for golfers.The 14th hole is a long par 5, and if the wind is in your face, it can be a scary tee shot. If you can get the ball over the huge bunker with your second shot, give it a try, but count on the fact that getting stuck in the Hell Bunker could mean the end of your good round.Jack Nicklaus needed four shots to get out at the 1995 Open, and thanks to this incredibly intimidating and devastating bunker, he earned a top ten.

6. Don’t forget your best putting game!

You can expect several putts on each hole. The greens are massive and full of turns that require an experienced eye.The few putts you’ll face will be close to 100 feet, so you should practice your lag technique before heading out onto the Old Course.You can’t expect to launch many monster putts, so making your second putt as simple as possible is key to shooting a decent score on this course.Too short a first putt? You’ll probably be taking three putts, so learning how to gauge these delayed putts is essential to keeping your score low.



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