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"Feel and breathe the atmosphere of St Andrews, a magical place, special, with a charm that is unique in the world"

Emilio Gené

Video produced by Jolumeca audiovisual production,

St Andrews, located on Scotland's east coast, in the county of Fife, is one of the oldest and historically most important cities in Scotland, despite its small size.

Here you will find St Andrews Cathedral, now in ruins, a castle (also in ruins) and one of the oldest (dating from 1413) and most prestigious universities in the UK.

In addition, it is considered "the home of golf", as it is home to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (the oldest golf club in the world) and, of course, the Old Course of St Andrews.

Legend has it that St Regulus (or Rule) brought the relics of St Andrew, patron saint of Scotland, here.

St Andrews received the status of "royal burgh" (ciudad real) in 1124, and became an archbishopric in 1466. Its cathedral began to be constructed in the twelfth century, but was not completed until 1318, during the reign of Robert I of Scotland. At that time, it was the largest building in Scotland, and St Andrews - with over 14,000 inhabitants in the 16th century - was one of the most important coastal cities north of Edinburgh.

However, during the violent religious reform of the sixteenth century, the cathedral was ransacked and left in ruins, and the city lost much of its power and influence at that time.

Today, the city of St Andrews consists of a small historic core, comprising mainly four streets (South Street, Market Street, North Street and The Scores) and a large expanse of modern housing intended primarily for staff and students of St Andrews University, as well as golfers and amateurs.


The Old Course

It is the oldest course in the world, the exact date of which is not known, although it is believed to have been more than 600 years ago. In fact, little or nothing is known about who built it, although we do know who improved it: Daw Anderson (around 1850), Old Tom Morris (between 1860 and 1900) and Dr Alistair McKenzie (around 1930).
It initially consisted of 22 holes, the front eleven and the back eleven, but in 1764 the Society of Golfers of St Andrews, which later became the Royal and Ancient, decided that some holes were very short and reduced it to the current 18 holes.
The first Open was played on the Old Course in 1873 and it is currently held here in years ending in 0 and 5, although, due to special circumstances and to commemorate the 150th Open, it will host the Open in 2021.

7 public courses

St Andrews Links has become the most iconic and famous place in the world with its 7 public courses, including The Old Course, the golf course par excellence, recognised worldwide as the course where golf was first played more than 600 years ago.

The 3 Championship courses, The Old Course, New Course and Jubilee Course run parallel to each other along the beach of St Andrews, the famous West Sands. Located on the opposite side of the links are The Eden, Strathtyrum and The Balgove, a 9-hole course. Finally, a five-minute drive from St Andrews takes you to the seventh links of St Andrews, The Castle Course, with spectacular views over St Andrews Bay, thanks to its extraordinary cliff location.

Brief origin of the history of golf

Golf originates in Scotland, although it shares similarities with other historical games that were played all over the world with balls and clubs (such as chuiwan in China, for example).

The oldest evidence (first writing on which the word 'golf' appears) of golf dates from 1457, when King James II of Scotland decreed a ban on football and golf and imposed archery instead. The links, the coastal zone between the sea and the cultivated land, were famous as places for activities and games, as well as being hidden enough to avoid being seen during the ban.

The story says it was St Andrewswho changed its course from 22 to 18 holes in 1764, as a smaller number of holes led to improved maintenance, and it was not until 1870 when the other golf courses began to follow suit. Thus establishing 18 holes as the total of one round of golf worldwide. It was in the rules issued in 1858 by the Royal&Ancientwhen this number of holes began to be used officially. It was also in Scotland where the first hole-in-one in a professional tournament took place, shot by Tom Morrisat the 1868 Open.

Golf in the 18th century

The world's first golf club was "The Gentlemen Golfers of Edinburgh", founded in 1744, followed by "The Society of St Andrews Golfers" a decade later. Societies or clubs began to become increasingly popular as men gathered to socialise, dine, and bet on sports such as horse racing, archery, and golf. When King William IV became the patron saint of "The Society of St Andrews Golfers" in 1834, its name was changed to "The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews", where at present the rules of golf are governed at worldwide level, in consensus with the USGA, because some of the current rules and norms of the game came from Scottish courses.

Beginning of the 20th century

On the cusp of the twentieth century a trio of golfers spearheaded professional golf. Known as the Great Triumvirate, James Braid, JH Taylor and Harry Vardon dominated the British Open by winning the championship 16 times between 1894 and 1914. In the 1930s, American golfers were breaking records; champions like Walter Hagen and famous amateur Bobby Jones further enhanced the game. Meanwhile, Poppy Wingate was the first woman to compete in a professional men's competition in 1933.

The Open

The British Open, the oldest golf competition, was first played in 1860 and won by Willie Park Senior in Prestwick. At first, golfers competed for the "Challenge Belt" until Tom Morris Junior became its outright winner after winning the Open 3 consecutive times; since then players compete for the iconic "Claret Jug".

The women's British Open was first played in 1976 and the amateur Jenny Lee Smith was the winner; it has become an official competition of the LPGA (Women's Professional Golf Association) since 2001.



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