Reflections on a Pilgrimage to the Home of Golf

Tiger Woods, The 150th Open Championship, St. Andrews,(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods, The 150th Open Championship, St. Andrews,(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images) /

Several weeks ago, I wrote a preview for the 2023 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, one of my favorite tournaments of the year. I wrote that preview knowing that I would be attending this year’s event at the Home of Golf, the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland.

For hardcore golfers, playing the Old Course is near the top of every bucket list. Its history and place in the game of golf is unparalleled. Every great player who has played golf has teed it up at the Old Course. Legend has it that even the most seasoned golfer can have trouble controlling their shaking hands long enough to get the ball on the tee.

I have not yet been fortunate enough to play the Old Course, but I did have the privilege and honor of walking those hallowed grounds earlier this month during the DP World Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

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Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Rory McIlroy, Georgia Hall, Swilcan Bridge at St. Andrews, The 150th Open Championship, (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images) /

The Home of Golf Feels Like Home

My wife, Rhiannon, and I arrived in St. Andrews on Tuesday of tournament week and quickly checked in to our hotel (the legendary Dunvegan) and then proceeded to our reservation for afternoon tea (a British tradition) at the Rusacks Hotel, located directly along the 18th hole of the Old Course.

As we were seated near the window and gazing out in astonishment at the views and of being here at this place, a feeling washed over me that it all felt remarkably familiar, like I had been there before. Then it dawned on me that I have spent so many hours watching major championships and other tournaments contested over the Old Course and that is why I had that feeling of familiarity.

Later that evening, we ventured out on the course to watch players finish their practice rounds. As we stood there near the 18th tee box, I couldn’t help thinking that I was now part of a (albeit large) fraternity of golf lovers who had made this exact pilgrimage to experience the history and aura this place holds in the game of golf.

From walking with friends inside the ropes during a practice round to having our picture taken on the Swilcan Bridge, the most famous bridge in golf, the memories created have already set hold in my mind, there to remind me what the game of golf is about and the impact it has on so many people around the world.

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And yes, those memories are also there to keep me satisfied until I can walk those historic links with a club in my hand.