Commonly known as the oldest golf club in the world, St. Andrews Links is located in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is a whopping 600 years old, and it boasts seven different courses. Golf was first played in the St. Andrews links in the 1400s after the land was given to the people in the area by King David in 1123.
Interestingly, golf was banned from the mid-15th century until the early 16th century, along with football and a few other sports. This was supposedly part of an effort to encourage the uptake of archery among young men for the purpose of military training. Eventually, Archbishop John Hamilton published a charter in 1552 that allowed ordinary people of St. Andrews the opportunity to play golf over the links.
The origins of golf in St. Andrews tell a tumultuous tale, and the history is one of great interest. Here are 5 other interesting facts about St. Andrews Golf Club, the oldest golf club in the world.
The Old Course Has an Interesting Configuration of Pars
The Old Course was very deliberately configured with regards to its pars – the sequence of pars is a palindrome. That is, the sequence is the same whether you read it from the first hole to the 18th or the 18th backwards to the first. Much like the phrase “red rum, sir, is murder” or the name Hannah are palindromes.
Gary Player Spent the Night on the Beach Next Alongside the Course
Back in the 1950s, upon Gary Player’s first trip to the area and his maiden round at St. Andrews Old Course, he wasn’t yet the world-renowned sporting star that he is today. Unable to afford the pricy hostels in town or at the golf course itself, Player chose to rough it. He put on a warm, woollen jersey and settled in for the night on West Sands Beach.
The UK’s Most Famous Couple Lived Just Down the Road
Prince William and his now wife, Kate Middleton, both studied at St. Andrews University where they met. William enjoyed the various courses during his time there as a young man, and has returned several times since his departure.
The Biggest Problem at the Course Used to be Rabbits
Back in the mid-18th century long before you could play at a Pakistan casino online, the Town Council needed additional funds and ended up selling the local links to rabbit breeders. This marked the beginning of what was referred to as the “Rabbit Wars” which involved locals fighting for the right to hunt the furry pests for 16 years. Eventually, the links were sold off to a local golfer and the problem of the rabbits became a thing of the past.
The Old Course’s First Tee is Marked by an Obelisk
During the 1500s, many Protestants died fighting for their faith in the area. This fight and the lives that were lost are honoured by what is known as the Martyr’s Monument which is a stone obelisk that looks out over the course.