Yes, that’s me in the middle of the picture below at the famed “Old Course” at the home of golf, St. Andrews. It was always a dream of mine to be able to play at St. Andrews and when my family moved to England back in 2003, I thought this was going to be the best chance for me to fulfill my dream. A few of my golfing buddies here in Ottawa joined up with me in St. Andrews for a “once in a lifetime experience”. One thing I did not know about St. Andrews, is that it actually is a public course, which means that anyone can play, providing they have a proper golf handicap and lots of money. Back in early 2005, the green fees were approximately 110 pounds sterling, which in Canadian dollars equated to approximately $230 per person, per round, but thankfully the golf package that we got made it much more affordable. See below for more information on the Craigmore Guest House.
When we checked in at the pro shop, each golfer was given a one foot long by six inch wide peace of astro turf mat. We, of course, asked what this was for and they explained that if our shot landed in the fairway, we were to pick up our ball, put the piece of astro turf mat on the ground, and then place the ball on that before making our next shot. The reason for this was because the year we played there (2005) also happened to be the year when the British Open was once again going to be played, and they didn’t want any divot marks in the fairways. If our ball landed in the rough, then it was okay to play out of the rough as you would normally do. What I found out afterwards was that the astro turf mats are actually used on all courses between the months of November and February every year, with The Old Course and The Castle Course using them until the end of March.
If you’re interested in checking this item off your bucket list and want to play golf at St. Andrews, here is the email of the CRAIGMORE GUEST HOUSE where we stayed as part of the golf package. They will make the arrangements and book the tee-times on your behalf, at least they did when I played there back in 2004. You will also need to provide proof of a handicap card that you would get from your home course. Without that, you won’t be able to play.
If you do manage to get a tee time at the Old Course, and you don’t want to pay for a caddie, which is always an option, this link provides information on how to play the course, hole by hole, complete with pictures. I hope this helps, it sure did when I played!