St Andrews, the Home of Golf…

Winning at St Andrews is every golfer’s dream:

St Andrews, Scotland

St Andrews, Scotland

St Andrews is where golf was born in the 15th century.  On our journey here we cross the Firth of Forth Bridge, a bridge that was completed in 1890.  The Forth was heavily over-constructed in an attempt to regain the public’s confidence after the tragic collapse of the Tay Bridge.  It was a daring design for its times and when completed, it was the longest span in the world.

Brief History of Golf

The earliest known reference to golf dates to 1457, when King James II of Scotland banned golf and football on the grounds that they were keeping his subjects from their archery practice!  What good is golf when one’s kingdom is being beseiged?  The ban was repeated in 1471 by James III and also in 1491 by James IV for the same reason. It just goes to show how golf-crazy the Scots were even at that time.  The first surviving written reference to golf in St. Andrews is contained in Archbishop Hamilton’s Charter of 1552.  The charter reserves the right of the people of St. Andrews to use the linksland “for golff, futball, schuteing and all gamis”.  Initially, there was no standard number of holes on a golf course.  St. Andrews for example had 22 holes until about 1764 when 4 were merged to make an 18 hole course.

St Andrews Links today

Even non-golfers like myself know of the reputation of St Andrews and no government today would dare ban golf in their country in spite of the hours people spend glued to their television set during championships!  It’s quite exciting to be on location where so many world championships are held.  The seven Links courses are open to anyone looking for a golfing holiday, but the links are extremely busy and very advanced bookings are required.  We are told that you have to book a minimum of 3 months ahead.  It must be every golfer’s dream to walk on St Andrews Links and every professional’s dream to win a championship here.  Even for non-golfers, it’s interesting observing the golfers and caddies getting ready for their tee-off, some of them are strutting around and very showy.  I must say that I had expected St Andrews course to be a grander site than what it is…. but then, I’m not a golfer!

Film buffs would know that St Andrews is also one of the set locations for the 1981 movie ‘Chariots of Fire’.  The beach was used for the Olympic team training scene.

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