- Michael Cypher
More than The Old Course and Pebble Beach
Tell a golfer they won the lottery and can go anywhere in the world to play you would hear them tell you they have always dreamed of playing St. Andrews and/or Pebble Beach. Do you imagine crossing The Swilcan Bridge walking up the 18th fairway on The Old Course? Maybe you are standing on the tee of the par 3 Seventh looking at the Pacific Ocean off the back of the green. These are iconic images of the game that echo across history and through our imagination.
Each of these courses anchor their respective golf complexes. Arriving in city of St. Andrews Scotland and making your way to the golf course you find that The Home of Golf is more than The Old Course. In fact the complex is made up of seven different courses.
Old Course – The oldest and most iconic golf course in the world. The Swilcan Bridge and Hell Bunker are recognized across the globe, yet the greatest feature of the Old Course is that despite its grand status it remains a public course, open to all.
The Castle Course – The newest addition to St. Andres Links, The Castle Course opened in 2008 becoming the seventh course at the Home of Golf and part of the largest public golfing complex in Europe. Set on a rugged cliff-top with spectacular views over St Andrews, The Castle Course offers a memorable golfing experience.
New Course – The oldest ‘new’ course in the world, the second course at the Home of Golf was build by the Keeper of the Green, Tom Morris in 1895 and it was imaginatively named to differentiate from its famous neighbor. Boasting undulating fairways and challenging greens, the New Course is a classic test of links golf.
Jubilee Course - The third championship course at the Home of Golf, the Jubilee is considered by many to be the most challenging course on the famous Links. Build in 1897, it was originally intended for use by ladies and beginners; however, after seeing its prime golfing location between the New Course and the sea, the Jubilee was converted to a championship layout in 1988.
Eden Course – Only slightly more forgiving than its contemporaries on the seaward side of the Links, the Eden Course was built in 1914 by Harry S. Colt whose use of natural boundaries and severe bunkers provides a course full of character.
Strathtyrum Course – Designed to complement the tougher championship layouts at the Home of Golf, the Strathtyrum was opened in 1993. Although few in number (15), the bunkers are cunningly placed and there is considerable emphasis on iron play accuracy. The greens themselves are large and have slopes and borrows which can test even the most confident putters.
Balgove Course – The Balgove is the only nine-hole course at the Home of Golf and primarily caters for families, children, and beginners. Featuring bunkers and a double green, the Balgove is the perfect practice ground for links golf and consolidates St Andres Links’ reputation as a destination that caters for all ages and abilities.
Descriptions curtesy of Courses - St Andrews Links : The Home of Golf
In the summer of 2019 I had the opportunity to visit the Home of Golf and walk onto the Jubilee Course. Like the description says it was one of the hardest courses I have ever played. It was an amazing experience and a memory I will cherish the rest of my life. In 2023 I will return to Scotland to play the Old Course and The Castle Course.
Just like St Andrews is more than the Old Course the Monterey peninsula is more than just Pebble Beach. You will find five courses to challenge both your game and nerves.
Pebble Beach Golf Links – Unanimously rated the No. 1 Public Course in the Country. Pebble Beach hosted its sixth U.S. Open in 2019, more than any other course over the last 50 years. Future championships include a first U.S. Women’s Open in 2023 and a seventh U.S. Open in 2027. Every February, the PGA Tour visits for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, a tradition that began in 1947.
Spyglass Hill Golf Course – If Pebble Beach is the Greatest Meeting of Land and Sea, then perhaps Spyglass Hill should be dubbed the Greatest Meeting of Sad and Trees. The defining takeaway at Spyglass Hill is how starkly the first five holes juxtapose the rest of your round. Sweeping ocean views with holes darting through a daring dunescape give way to the understated natural beauty and brawn of the Del Monte Forest. Pine Valley-by -the-Sea meets Augusta National as Spots Illustrated eloquently described it.
Links at Spanish Bay – Meandering among sweeping sand dunes along 17-Mile Drive, The Links at Spanish Bay unveils some of the most spectacular seaside views in Pebble Beach. The rolling fairways flow through and around the gorgeous dunescape, briefly weaving between towering Monterey Pines, before returning to the white sand of Spanish Bay Beach for a thrilling finish along the wind-swept coast. A twilight round is punctuated by the tunes of the famed Spanish Bay bagpiper, who puts the course to bed every evening.
The Hey – The Hay has been a fixture at Pebble Beach since 1957, when famed Head Professional Peter Hay revolutionized the concept of a short course. Hay’s vision was to create a fun place where juniors, families, and friends, regardless of their ability, could gather around the game of golf.
Del Monte Golf Course – Del Monte is a landmark course that has played an instrumental role in popularizing golf out West since its inception in 1897. The birthplace of the California State Amateur and oldest course in continuous operation west of the Mississippi retains much of that classic charm today, challenging the game’s best golfers with its small, sloping, old-school greens.
Descriptions courtesy of Legendary Golf Courses at Pebble Beach Resorts, California (pebblebeach.com)
Michelle’s Dad was able to check off one of his bucket list items when her brother was able to take him to Pebble Beach in March of 2021.
Do you have a dream to play one of these iconic golf complexes? Do you see yourself following your ball down the fairway walking among the echoes of the history of the game? Have you been fortunate enough to turn one or more of these dreams into memories? Share your dreams and memories below.