Hi All, Leigh here. For those that haven’t seen me on the blog before, I’m Flick’s partner and the blog below is a little contribution I wanted to make to the Fly With Flick community.
During our time in the UK, Flick was kind enough to surprise me with a round at the home of golf!! I played the St Andrews – Jubilee Course. When I have told people that I have played St Andrews, all I have been asked is “Was it worth playing”? As an avid golfer, my obvious answer was ‘YES!’, however I will discuss in this blog, why playing any course at the Home of Golf should be on your bucket list.
Unfortunately, due to holiday planning and timing, I wasn’t able to play the Old Course (I will one day). However, it was extremely easy to purchase a round at the Jubilee Course online. This ease of booking will obviously fluctuate with the seasonal demand, but playing in September was a breeze.
The day of my round, we traveled from Edinburgh (closest big city), which was a 30 minute drive through beautiful country side. Driving through the St Andrews town, around the 18th green / 1st tee of the Old Course, to the main car park was an incredible experience (would recommend walking this as well as driving).
From the car park to the first tee was very easy, as friendly staff helped with our booking and organising clubs (which was only 30 British Pounds). The hire clubs was a relatively brand new set of Callaways and they even had a set with stiff shafts. I would recommend checking out the change rooms before or after your round. I know this sounds a little odd, but the walk down there was draped in framed photos and memorabilia, and some of the change room lockers had the names of the famous golfers who had used them. I am sure this is the change room they use during most of the Open Championships played at St Andrews.
Stepping up to the first tee was a very surreal moment. The layout of the Jubilee Course was very similar to that of the Old Course; tight fairways, ominous deep bunkers and difficult long rough. With all that going through my mind, it was even sweeter to smash a good drive 40 yards short of the green. My first thoughts walking down the first hole was ‘This course is easy’. That particular day there was blue skies all around, no wind and a cool kick to the air, absolutely beautiful conditions for golf!
The first few holes follow the same layout as the first few of the Old Course. I was surprised how large the greens actually were. You’ll understand when you will have a 100+ foot putt for your birdie or par. The course itself is in immaculate condition; true rolling greens, trimmed fairways, groomed tee boxes and manicured bunkers.
By the time we reached the 12th, the famous Scottish weather had set in. Low clouds had rolled over, the breeze had picked up to almost gale force and it looked liked rain the closer we got to the 18th. Some of the holes were insane to play, especially the holes with the wind from the left. I remember the par 3, 17th hole. It was a 200+ yard par 3 with a relatively large green, surrounded by the classic St Andrew style bunkers. The safe play would be to aim to the left hand side of the green and use the wind to bring it back to the center. I did this perfectly, however underestimated the strength of the left to right wind. The ball ended up in the right hand side of the right bunker, leaving a difficult up and down. This sort of misjudgment happened pretty much on every hole after the 12th, making the course almost Tiger proof.
I took my time walking up the 18th hole. The course, the way it played, the way it looked and the way it twisted my thinking was all running through my head. From the 18th hole on the Jubilee, you can seen the 17th and 18th of the Old Course as well. With all this going through my head, I three-putt the 18th for a round of 81 (my handicap at the time was 12 and par for the Jubilee Course was 72) so not bad at all.
After the round, I walked up and down the 17th and 18th of the Old Course and had my photo taken on the Swilken Bridge. Typical tourist move but an absolute must!
I cannot put into words what it felt like playing the Jubilee Course and spending time at the Old Course at St Andrews. I would recommend it to any golfer that wants to experience a tough, links style golf course. Playing any of the courses at St Andrews, the Home of Golf, is a must and a priceless experience.