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St. Andrews

The University

The University of St. Andrews was founded in the year 1412, and is the oldest university in Scotland. A student of the university - James Melville - made one of the earliest known references to golf in his diary in 1574.

Melville's jottings stated that his father had given him "glub an' bals fur goff but nocht a purse fur catch pull and tavern."

This means that he was given "club and balls for golf but nothing for hand tennis or drinking in the pub."

David Joy, Golf Historian & 4th generation St Andrean David Joy, Golf Historian &
4th generation St Andrean

The Royal and Ancient

Membership of the Royal and Ancient (R&A) golf club in St. Andrews (originally called the 'The St Andrews Society of Golfers') was at one time mainly limited to noblemen and gentlemen. The 'uniforms' that the members originally wore consisted of red jackets with yellow buttons.

The R&A was established in 1754 and now governs the rules of golf everywhere except in the USA. It was also the R&A which paid for the construction of The New Course in 1895.

St Andrews is a city in the Kingdom of Fife. It is home to the world-renowned Royal and Ancient Golf Club and was the ecclesiastical capital and first seat of learning in Scotland.

St Andrews has now become known as "The Home of Golf".

St Andrews is also the home and birthplace of David Joy, the golf historian. Another famous name in golf was also born here, namely Tom Morris Snr. and later, his son Tom Morris Jnr.

Some 6,000 years ago, St Andrews was known as "Muckross" which is a Pictish word for "headland of swine" or "land of the wild boar."

The Royal and Ancient Clubhouse St Andrews The Royal and Ancient Clubhouse St Andrews

The Open

The Open Championship has been played on the Old Course, St Andrews since 1873. The 18th hole of the Old Course is named Tom Morris, in honour of the great man's memory.

Golf has been played upon St Andrews Links since approximately 1400 AD and the Old Course is often referred to as the Home of Golf. Many of the local families (even those who did not play golf) were involved with the game in some way or another, whether it be as caddies, ball makers or club makers. Golf was an integral part of life in St. Andrews.

St Andrews had been neglected and run-down since The Reformation, until Lieutenant Colonel Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair, in the 1840's, knocked it back into shape.

In his role as Chief Magistrate and Provost, he imposed "Forty Rules and Regulations which must be obeyed." He was involved in building The Royal & Ancient Clubhouse in 1854 and The Town Hall in 1858. Sir Hugh died in 1861 before he could see the town rise and prosper again thanks to his efforts.

The game increased in popularity in 1850. Suddenly the ball was affordable and the course more accessible. With trains linking-up the 'Linksland', The Old Course became more heavily used. This meant that golfers at the same hole going out on the front nine, began to meet those coming home on the same holes playing them backwards. This slowed down play and was the root-cause of the now famous double greens being created by Allan Robertson in 1857. More ground was acquired in 1870 and the 18 holes as they are known today were put in place.

Nowadays, the worldwide increase in popularity of golf has seen the construction of over 40 parkland, heathland and links-type golf courses in the Kingdom of Fife, many of which are of championship standard and are used as qualifying courses when The Open is played at St Andrews.

Lieutenant Colonel Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair
Lt. Col. Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair

Tom Kidd the first Open Champion at St Andrews
Tom Kidd, the first Open Champion
at St Andrews

Links Golf, St Andrews - a golf tour operator based in St Andrews, organise the finest golf tours throughout Scotland, Ireland and England. They can be contacted by:-

Links Golf, St Andrews - click to visit their website
Click to visit the Links Golf website

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