Growing up playing golf with my buddies, we would always talk about this mystical place in Scotland, St. Andrews. This name rings bells for golfers because we all know it to be the home of golf. All golfers, from the first time you took a golf club in your hands, dream of one day golfing at St. Andrews. It’s a place that I, myself, thought only exisited to those with exceptional wealth and skill enough to play it. But here we are with clubs in our hands, and playing the rolling Scottish hills ourselves.
Golfing at St. Andrews, Scotland
We first walked through the Golf Hall of Fame located conveniently behind the Royal & Ancient (R & A) Clubhouse. This is a comprehensive museum that’s filled with amazing golf history and artifacts. This is a great place to visit, and very fitting to be located in St. Andrews. Upon exiting, we peak around the corner of the Royal & Ancient Clubhouse, and we see the first tee along with the famous 18th green next to it.
As a lover of the game of golf, it is difficult to restrain myself from letting out a yell of excitement and doing cartwheels. I succeed in keeping my composure so as not to disturb the golfers, but I cannot contain the wide smile across my face. I just can’t believe that this place of distant mystical proportions is staring at me in the face!
Walking the Old Course
After looking around and taking in some of the history, we noticed non-golfers casually walking up the first hole. “What you can walk on the course?” I say to Liz enthusiastically. Barely able to contain my excitement at this point, we decide to go for a walk down the course as well. We figured we would see how far we could go on the old course without getting into anyone’s way.
It is difficult to get a tee time on the Old Course, and you must have PGA certified proof that you are good enough to play the course. However, we had heard about a sort of minature/advanced putting course place located in between the Old Couse and the New Course at St. Andrews, called the Himalayas, so that was where we decided to head. As luck would have it, the path that we were walking lead directly to it.
Himalayas Putting Golf Course, St. Andrews
The Himalayas Putting Course is located right in between two of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. On the other side was the ocean and beaches, which brought in those famous (and brutal) St. Andrews winds. We had to say that we went golfing at St. Andrews, so the Himalayas was the perfect option! Due to the rough wind and spotty rain, we are lucky to be the only ones playing the Himalayas Course on this blustery day, so we quickly grab our putters and head out.
We learned quickly that this is no ordinary putt putt course, it was actually more of a miniature version of the actual course. We played 18 holes and during this time, I probably told Liz 28 times what an awesome experience this was. The benefit of playing the Himalaya Course is that we got to play golf in St. Andrews without having to drag our clubs over to Scotland; nor did we have to pay an arm and a leg! Perfect for backpackers or budget golfers.
Walking up the 18th & Swilcan Bridge
After finishing our round, we walk back toward the R & A Clubhouse via the fairway of the 18th hole. As long as you are careful not to get in the way, it is perfectly acceptable to walk on the course. Several other people walked with us as we followed a group up 18. This group of golfers didn’t seem to mind that they had a small audience walking behind them, in fact, they gave us a nod a couple times. “What?” I’m thinking to myself, “I’m walking up 18 at St. Andrews…this a dream come true for me!”
As we come across the famous and iconic Swilcan Bridge on the 18th, we politely wait our turn while other golfers and visitors take pictures. Then it was our turn. We walked up to the bridge and took a couple shots of each other, then some other visitors who were politely waiting their turn offered to take a picture of the two of us. Chills came over me to have this dream now come true.
Another great part was that I got to share this lifelong dream with Liz. Were we in heaven? I certainly was. Sometimes I pinch myself because I can hardly believe that I was able to go golfing at St. Andrews. And even though we didn’t get the chance to play on the Old Course that day, this memory of St. Andrews will always have a special place in my heart.
For more information about golfing at St. Andrews, click here.
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