St Andrews Castle Course
Built on flat farmland, David McLay Kidd created a completely random landscape then routed St Andrews Castle Course.
The 9th and 18th greens are shared and located on a headland beneath the clubhouse.
Golf Course Review
The St Andrews Castle Course is its newest addition to the portfolio. The course was opened on the 20th of June, 2008. The clifftop location offers views of the old grey town of St Andrews, St Andrews Bay, and the North Sea. A former hunting ground, the 200-acre site at Kinkell Braes was used for agriculture purposes before being crafted in a golf course.
The Castle Course is the seventh course that was added to the portfolio to relieve the pressure on the other courses on offer. Uniquely, the golf course is not a traditional links like the rest but is found on a clifftop on arable land. The substantially undulating greens were built to USGA specifications and with recent tweaks have added to the average players’ enjoyment.
St Andrews Castle Course Synopsis
David McLay Kidd was the golf course architect of record. In routing the course, the majority of the front nine lies on the west side of the property where the back nine lies on the east side. With a clifftop location, the urge would be to use that property all in one go. However, on the front nine, it is not until the 6th green where you come near the cliff’s edge. The last three holes (7, 8, and 9) on the outward nine are played along the cliffs before returning inland. On the inward nine, you only again reach the cliff’s edge on the 16th green. The 17th and 18th then finish the loop back to the clubhouse on this prime real estate.
Despite its rocky start, the Castle Course has become one of the busiest in St Andrews. Reviews are still mixed from ardent golf course architecture nerds but for the most part, are overwhelmingly positive from the golfing public at large.
Tom Doak, David McLay Kidd & St Andrews Castle Course
Famously, Tom Doak rated the Castle Course a ‘Zero’ in his Confidential Guide. It is the only course to have earned the dishonour. What did this mean? A course is ‘so unnatural and contrived that it may poison your mind’ that it cannot be recommended ‘under any circumstance’ and that it probably would have been better if ‘not built in the first place.’!
Since the book was released, Mr. Tom Doak and Mr. David McLay Kidd put things right over a beer in Florida. It has also been reported the greens in question have also been toned down… Read how it all went down in Eamonn Lynch’s explanation and David McLay Kidd’s comments.
St Andrews Castle Course Reviews
St Andrews Castle Course - Videos
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Featured Architect: Alister MacKenzie
As taken from his book, Golf Architecture, Alister MacKenzie felt the following were essential: The course, where possible, should be arranged in two loops of nine holes. There should be a large proportion of good two-shot holes and at least four one-shot holes. There should be little walking between...