Fairmont St Andrews - A Home at Home
St Andrews is a town which echoes with history and tradition for all
golfers. But while the Old Course may be the game’s spiritual home,
there is a relative newcomer that values these virtues just as much.
St Andrews is a town which echoes with history
and tradition for all golfers. But while the
Old Course may be the game’s spiritual home,
there is a relative newcomer that values these
virtues just as much.
As a multi-million-pound resort development
owned by an American-founded chain,
you might think Fairmont St Andrews wouldn’t
necessarily adhere to the traditions of Scottish
links golf – you’d be wrong.
The resort boasts two impressive courses
but unhappy to rest on its laurels the five-star
venue has recently undergone a £17m redevelopment
which has seen the already highly rated
courses significantly improved.
With stunning vistas of the white waters of
St Andrews Bay and the famous old town from
both layouts, there was always a strong sense
of history but the recent work has made it
even more so.
The Torrance course, designed by former
Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance, now has
much more of a links golf feel to it. The natural
contours of the coastal setting provide as near
to a links experience as you’re likely to get
without the terrain being classified as such.
In addition, all 63 bunkers were completely
rebuilt in a traditional Scottish revetted style,
bringing the course even closer to the origins
of the game.
All of the tees and fairways have been
worked on with only the greens, considered to
be among the best in Scotland, left untouched.
The result is a course that stays true to
Torrance’s design albeit a little longer and with
a few new challenges.
The par-three fifth plays across the prevailing
wind which makes the right-hand bunker
far more prominent, while the sixth has deep
sand guarding both the fairway and green.
The back nine starts with a green boasting
no adjacent bunkers, but in getting to it golfers
have to take on the course’s most challenging
Water to the right and a large bunker to the
left make laying up before the sand the cautious
option, but those brave enough to take
on the hazard will be rewarded with an easy
approach to the unprotected green.
The next few holes
all demand serious
thought about where
to place the first shot,
with risk and reward
readily available for
those brave enough to
take the fight to the
fairways, but on some
could prove to be the
better part of valour
with plenty of punishment
waiting to be had
by anyone who isn’t as
accurate as they hope.
hole is the most challenging
of the par
threes. Anything short
will leave a difficult
sand and out of
bounds both significant
factors as you try
to find the dance floor.
While getting on the
green may be the
problem on 17, it’s
staying there that can
cause trouble on the last hole with a slope
from the back to the front causing many a ball
to be gathered by deep bunkers – just take solace
in the fact they’ll be the last you see.
And The Torrance’s new look has already
been chosen to test some of the best players
around, as a venue for The Open’s final local
qualifying and the Cleveland Golf/Srixon
Scottish Seniors Open.
But The Torrance is just one half of
Fairmont St Andrews’ offering to golfers with
The Kittocks providing an equally challenging
and pleasurable 18 holes.
Formerly known as the Devlin, after designer
Bruce Devlin, it has also benefited significantly
from the £17m project that renovated the
The Torrance’s former 17th and 18th holes
have now been incorporated into the Kittocks
to create one of the finest series of closing
holes in the game. But that is not to take away
from the rest of the course which hugs the dramatic
coastline and gives golfers some of the
most memorable vistas they’re likely to see
from a tee or green.
The new Kittocks title comes from name of a
site of special scientific interest on the course
which is host to a variety of flora and fauna,
including pheasants, grouse, rabbits, hares,
badgers and a family of deer.
The first four holes start innocently enough
but the par-five fifth is the beginning of a
rollercoaster ride with the Grampian Mountains
as a spectacular backdrop.
It’s often said the Kittocks boasts golf’s
longest finish as it feels like the finishing holes
begin on the fifth with a dramatic run in to follow.
The par-five fifth has an almost hidden
green which seems to float above the sea, but
it’s not until you get closer you realise it’s
almost completely surrounded by sand.
A short par-three follows before the seventh,
eighth and ninth take you down, up and back
downhill. Part of the redevelopment saw the
ninth’s second fairway removed making the
remaining one a narrow target sitting 90ft
below the tee.
The back nine continues to increase the
anticipation with the course excelling itself in
the final four holes.
The 15th is a par-four played downhill to a
well-protected green situated on top of an iron age
fort, and once golfers have overcome this
challenge and the tricky par-three 16th, they’ll
find themselves on Torrance’s favourite hole.
Only the bravest of players peg it up on the
back tee of the par-four 17th which measures a
massive 509 yards.
To the right is a 100ft cliff-top drop to the
sea while the left offers a mixture of hazards
including mounds, gorse and bunkers.
Having negotiated that potential minefield
the 18th seems relatively simple but its long,
narrow green is capable of providing one final
Anyone too focused on their game to take in
the surroundings while on the course can
make up for it in the clubhouse, which must
offer the best panoramas from any 19th hole
in Fife, if not Britain.
The views are matched by the hospitality which
is what you would expect of a five-star resort.
Fairmont St Andrews exudes luxury from
top to bottom with the 209-room hotel featuring
a range of superb dining options and a lavish
spa complex to keep golf widows occupied.
With a host of famous courses in the surrounding
areas, the resort also makes a great
base from which to explore them. But, with the
first-class facilities on offer at Fairmont St
Andrews, don’t be surprised if you find yourself
staying exactly where you are.
For more information call 01334 837000, email
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine