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What is it about “The Old Course” that gets everyone so wound up? Every pro dreams of winning there. Sooner or later just about every golfer who gives the game any regard at all dreams of playing The Old Course even just once to test their mettle. The old golf course on the grounds of The Home of Golf at St. Andrews Scotland is in many respects the Mecca of golf.
Some might suggest that this is all just about the pure nostalgia of playing a really old golf course but The Old Course is not likely the first golf course. That said, we do know that King James IV was buying golf clubs at St. Andrews in 1506 so the place is pretty damned old. No need to split hairs on that one. So the place is old, but does that automatically make it good? Surely today’s great golf course architects are building better golf courses. Aren’t they? And, heck, that old track didn’t even have an architect. How could a track that almost formed itself be that good? According to most accounts of how the place happened it seems pretty much like people just started hitting balls around and it kind of just sprung itself up on some seaside land that wasn’t useful for much else 5 centuries ago. The more arable ground lay more inland away from the stiff salt breeze that robbed these grounds of any real value as farm land. Fortunately for us all, what made the links land at St Andrews unsuited for more practical use made it ideal for the evolution of a golf course....