The Wiggles golf society visited St Andrews for our 10 year anniversary tour a couple of weeks ago…
Despite having visited some of the best golfing destinations in the world to date, all 16 of us agreed it was our best golf tour yet and with so many other courses up at The Home of Golf, another St Andrews golf tour is definitely on the cards!
Here’s how we got on this year…
We travelled up from London on an early BA flight from Heathrow to Edinburgh and were picked up at Edinburgh Airport by ‘Bonnie Wee Transfers’ – who were in contact the minute we had landed – and we were transferred to St Andrews in just over an hour. A smooth start to proceedings…
Located right in the centre of town, Ardgowan was within walking distance of all bars and restaurants and only a 2 minute walk to the first tee of the Old Course itself. Being so close to the heart of St Andrews added to the atmosphere of the trip and the hotel had perfectly comfortable rooms and an excellent breakfast…all you need really for a golf tour of this type!
The staff were efficient too and were really helpful when we had to book taxis to the courses on the Saturday and Sunday mornings. The general consensus was that we’d highly recommend Ardgowan for those concentrating more n the golf side of things and those looking for something a little less flash than the Old Course Hotel.
Only a 5 minute drive from centre of town, we headed up to Fairmont St Andrews on Friday lunchtime and after a good burger / club sandwich in the clubhouse, we teed off on the Kittocks Course at 13.30 with a strong chilly wind very much in play. All of us enjoyed the course.
I was lucky enough to play the Torrance Course a few years back and, in general, found the Kittocks to be more scenic, albeit a bit easier as it’s slightly more open. Overall we found that the higher handicaps in the group scored better on the day, but everyone came off the course nicely surprised as to how good it was.
Special mention must go to the guys in the proshop who were extremely helpful, even going so far as to give us all a miniature bottle of whisky to keep us going for the round!
Owned by The Old Course Hotel, The Dukes Course is only about 7 minutes from the Ardgowan, and the ideal choice for our round at 11:30 on the Saturday morning. When you enter the gates you’re properly wowed going up the drive to the course. The scenery is beautiful at the Dukes, with the gorse in full bloom and everything about the place being very grand.
Service in the super slick clubhouse is phenomenal too. Members of staff go above and beyond and the changing room is one of the coolest I’ve been in! Anyway…we did play some golf too and the overall feeling is that The Dukes is a great tree lined layout, which can get pretty testing as it’s quite tight at times and there are some long holes with a lot of gorse. All of the guys loved the course even though some found it tough. Beers on the balcony overlooking the course after the round are a must!
We went back into town after the round and had a few beers in the Jigger Inn – after getting team photos on the Swilken bridge of course – which is a must visit pub. Part of The Old Course Hotel, the Jigger backs out onto the 17th fairway of the Old Course and is a great place to start any evening out and about in St Andrews.
While the Castle Course is viewed by many as “The 7th Course a St Andrews”, we actually all found this to be our favourite stop on the tour and would have to recommend it as a must play. Having heard reports of “Mickey Mouse greens” from a few people, we were admittedly slightly nervous about our round here and while some were are a bit silly at times, the views, overall condition of the course, customer service and general layout of the course make it a very memorable place to play golf.
The Castle was a great course to battle out our Sunday morning singles in the final round of the tour, with highlights including the par 3 17th which is one of the great par 3’s, playing 180 yards over a cliff with a truly stunning view. We couldn’t talk more highly of this course and when I told the group that Kingsbarns is better they wouldn’t believe me!
I guess that’ll have to wait for a return trip to St Andrews.