The Oldest Golf Course in the World

Mar 1, 2021 | Golf


Dating back to around 1400 AD, the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland is famed for being the oldest golf course in the world. Widely considered as the home of golf, its history has shaped the game of today.



Early golf

Despite golf fast becoming a popular sport in Scotland, James II of Scotland banned it in 1457. It was only in 1502, when King James IV became a fan of golf, that the ban was finally lifted.

The Society of St Andrews Golfers was formed in 1754, which later became known as the Royal and Ancient (R&A). Today, this is the global governing body for golf.

In the early days, the course wasn’t just used for playing golf. Rabbit farming was introduced on the course, which caused intolerable friction between golfers and rabbit farmers. Eventually, in 1821, a local landowner bought the course, which saw the end of the rabbit farming.

Archbishop John Hamilton gave the local people the right to play on the Old Course, and it remains a public course to this day.


Influences on modern golf

The Old Course has shaped many of the common features of modern day golf – for a start, it was the first to introduce the standard 18 holes. In fact, the Old Course is noted for one of the world’s most famous, The Road Hole. The Swilcan Bridge is also one of the most iconic features of a golf course in the world.

Bunkers are an inherent component of a golf course, and it’s thought that they originated at the Old Course. Boasting an impressive 112 bunkers, these were natural features created by the strong winds, with the holes being carved out by grazing sheep who hunkered down to avoid the winds. Double greens also originated at the Old Course.


Famous players

The Open Championship (which is the oldest major golfing tournament), was founded at the Old Course and since 1873, it has been played there 29 times.

Although famous winners who have played on the Old Course include Tiger Woods, Zach Johnson, Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus and Stacey Lewis (in the Women’s British Open), one of the most notable players at the Old Course has been Bobby Jones.

First playing in the Open Championship of 1921, Bobby Jones famously disqualified himself by failing to retrieve a ball from a bunker on the 11th hole, although he continued with his round. Jones returned to play six years later and won, claiming the honour of the first amateur to win back-to-back Open Championships. He also won the British Amateur in 1930, going on to secure three more majors to make him the only sportsman to win the Grand Slam. Jones was given the ‘Key to the City’ of St Andrews in 1958.

Whether you play golf on the Old Course or at any other course, having somewhere to store your golf clubs is essential. For robust, secure golf lockers, other sports lockers or changing room furniture that is above par, please get in touch with Crown Sports Lockers.