The British Open returns to the Old Course this week, but the game’s oldest links isn’t the only great golf available in the area. If you’re headed to the Open and want to play another Scottish gem (or four), here’s a quartet of worthy tracks in the “Auld Grey Toon.”
St. Andrews (Castle)
($90-$180; 44 1334 466666, standrews.com)
Although David McLay Kidd’s controversial 2008 creation has since seen its mid-fairway tufted mounds removed and some of its wildly chaotic greens softened, it will still frustrate anyone who leaves his patience and imagination at home. An inspired routing — highlighted by the seaside par-4 ninth and the superb par-3 17th — will balance the vexing, three-puttable greens.
Kingsbarns Golf Links
($288-$336; 800-441-1391, kingsbarns.com)
Co-host of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, this 1999 Kyle Phillips design seven miles from the town of St. Andrews ranks 55th in Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Courses in the World. It also has the respect of links fans everywhere, who relish such holes as the 606-yard, par-5 12th, which arcs around the bay, and the 212-yard, par-3 15th, which demands a carry over the sea.
St. Andrews (New)
($56-$114; 44 1334 466666, standrews.com)
Now clearly misnamed, the 120-year-old New serves up a classic, exposed links that was designed by Old Tom Morris and that may actually be a shot or two tougher than the Old. While lacking in individually memorable holes, the testing trio of 8, 9 and 10 in the dunes next to the Eden estuary is the stuff you crossed the ocean to play.
The Duke’s, St. Andrews
($74-$141; 44 1334 470214, oldcoursehotel.co.uk)
Originally a long, wet slog just outside the town proper, the Duke’s fortunes changed in 2005 when Herb Kohler bought the Old Course Hotel as well as the Duke’s and invested in new drainage and a redesign by former Pete Dye protégé Tim Liddy. The Duke’s isn’t links golf, but its gorgeous, lacyedged bunkers and thoughtful design make it worth the diversion from seaside play.