Every year, thousands of golfers from around the world flock to St. Andrews for the opportunity to tee it up at The Home of Golf. For many, this is a once in a lifetime trip that’s filled with an abundance of golf and, sadly, not much else. The Good Life in St. Andrews, however, is just as exceptional as the golf itself, and usually plays an equally memorable role in the pilgrimage for those that are willing to invest the time.
Here’s a few of The Major’s favorite ways to enjoy the Good Life in St. Andrews.
A Walk with History
Easily the most effective mode of transportation for connecting with the history of St. Andrews is one’s two feet. From the medieval legends of this ancient city, to the traditions of the world’s third oldest university, and onward to the unequaled history of the game of golf, a guided walking tour of St. Andrews is a memorable and enlightening journey of discovery.
The Ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral
The 12th century remains of the city’s gothic cathedral is the most photographed landmark in St. Andrews, with the Old Course perhaps standing as the lone exception. Although the cathedral’s history is a compelling enough reason to visit – after all, it’s 900 years old – as with nearly everything in St. Andrews it is not without its own tie to the game of golf; both Old and Young Tom Morris are laid to rest here.
An Afternoon Stroll on the Pier
The St. Andrews Pier Walk is believed to have started in honor of John Honey, a student at the university who in 1800 rescued five men from a sinking ship in St. Andrews Bay. Ever since, students have gathered to walk the pier each Sunday, still dressed in their gowns from chapel service. Today, the pier walk is one of the city’s oldest traditions, and is a popular choice for an early evening stroll for both students and visitors alike.
A Tale of Two 19th Holes
After a round at the Old Course, tradition calls for a pint with your caddie at one of the most iconic 19th holes in golf: The Dunvegan. Inside the storied lounge, which lies a knock-down 9-iron from the 18th green, you’ll find an atmosphere that simply has no other match, thanks, in large part, to the hospitality of The Dunvegan’s proprietors – Jack & Sheena Willoughby. Don’t be surprised if you find an Open champion, an Oscar winner, or perhaps both, enjoying a pint at the adjacent table.
Of course, your post-round celebration is only just beginning. In total contrast to The Dunvegan lies the Road Hole Bar at the Old Course Hotel. The only thing which can equal the view here is the incredible selection of single malts – one from every operational distillery in Scotland, and then some (The Major suggests the Springbank 21). But it is that view which makes this famous watering hole a must-visit. The floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Old Course and the comfortable leather couches combine for the perfect end to any day in St. Andrews.
And don’t worry, we haven’t overlooked the Jigger Inn – it was previously covered as part of Sam’s favorite 19th holes.
A Chat with Old Tom Morris
If visiting the weathered grave of Old Tom Morris isn’t interactive enough, then why not schedule a dinner with the man himself…sort of. The Major considers the “Keeper of the Greens” a personal friend, and can arrange a meeting with the designer of the Old Course that is one part educational – two parts delightfully entertaining – as the members of Bernardo Heights Country Club can gladly attest.
The Farewell Dinner
A world-class Expedition to St. Andrews quite naturally merits an equally exceptional send off and the Rocca Bar & Grill delivers just that. The 3 Rosette award-winning restaurant is dining at its finest, with a view of the 18th fairway at the Old Course that will surely inspire a few clinks of glasses.
Meanwhile, the Locker Room at the Russell Hotel is a great choice for a farewell dinner for two reasons. For starters, to say the atmosphere is unique might be an understatement, as one is encircled by lockers bearing the names of past winners of The Open Championship at St. Andrews. More importantly, however, the Locker Room provides a private and casual setting for a group to toast the Good Life and reminisce on an unforgettable visit to the Home of Golf.
What is your favorite way to enjoy the Good Life in St. Andrews?