top of page
The Old Course

Golfer's Day

Apr 10

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"In the whimsical lore of the Shire, it's said that golf was not merely a game of leisure but born of legend—when Bandobras Took, with a mighty swing, knocked Golfimbul's head clean off, sending it sailing into a rabbit hole. Thus, with one fell swoop, both a goblin king was defeated and the game of golf was born."

~ Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien, 1954

Who knew golf had such gory origins? Leaving aside the mighty deeds of Hobbits, the origins of modern golf go back to the windswept landscapes of 14th century Scotland. Golf's earliest documented mention is a 1457 decree by King James II, lamenting the game's distraction from essential archery practice! However, by 1502, attitudes had shifted, leading to the lifting of the ban by James who had become a golfer himself, and the establishment of the first golf club links. The Old Course at St Andrews, also known as the Old Lady or the Grand Old Lady, is considered the oldest golf course and is celebrated for its iconic and historic and legendary landmarks such as the Swilcan Burn and Bridge, Miss Grainger's Bosoms, the Valley of Sin, and Hell Bunker! Until the 19th century, the Old Course was played in a clockwise direction. Old Tom Morris separated the 1st and 17th greens around 1870. From then, the course was played in an anti-clockwise direction on alternate weeks in order to let the grass recover better. The general method of play now is anti-clockwise, although clockwise play has been permitted on one day each year in recent years. This 40-bar jig will take you through the equivalent of all 18 holes, hazards, and bunkers! Bow, curtsey, and "Fore"! 🏌️‍♂️🏌️‍♀️⛳

The Old Course

Have you golfed this famous course?  Lucky you!

St. Andrews Old Course, located in Fife, Scotland, is often referred to as the "Home of Golf." It's one of the oldest and most iconic golf courses in the world, with a history that stretches back to the early 15th century. The course is renowned for its unique features, challenging holes, and deep connection to the history of golf, making it a pilgrimage site for golf enthusiasts worldwide. Here are a few of its most famous features:

  1. The Swilcan Bridge: This small, stone bridge on the 18th hole is perhaps one of the most photographed spots in the world of golf. It spans the Swilcan Burn and has been crossed by golfing legends throughout history. The bridge offers a moment of nostalgia and tradition for players and spectators alike, serving as a symbolic passage back through the history of the sport.

  2. The Road Hole (17th Hole): Considered one of the hardest holes in championship golf, the 17th hole is infamous for its difficulty. The tee shot requires players to drive over the corner of the Old Course Hotel, adding a psychological element to the challenge. The approach to the green, which is beside the road and the wall, demands precision to avoid the road itself and the bunker guarding the green—aptly named the Road Bunker. This hole has played a decisive role in many championships over the years.

  3. The Old Course Layout: The Old Course is known for its unique layout, featuring double greens where seven of the greens are shared by two holes each. This means that the course contains only 11 greens in total, with the 1st and 18th holes having their own exclusive greens. This feature requires golfers to be mindful of both their game and the games of others, adding an extra layer of strategy and etiquette.

  4. Hell Bunker: Located on the 14th hole, Hell Bunker is an imposing sand trap that has dashed the championship hopes of many golfers. Its size and depth make it a formidable obstacle, requiring skill and patience to escape. The bunker is emblematic of the natural and rugged features that define the Old Course, demanding respect from all who play here.

  5. The R&A Clubhouse: Overlooking the 1st tee and the 18th green, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews clubhouse is a symbol of golf's enduring traditions and the governance of the game. While the R&A itself now operates separately from the club, the clubhouse remains a central landmark, embodying the rich history and tradition of golf at St. Andrews.

For a video tour of the Old Course, click the photo by David Cannon.

The Old Course

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

The Old Course

Jan    Feb    Mar    Apr    May    Jun    Jul    Aug    Sep    Oct    Nov    Dec

WELCOME TO An Entertainment Site for Scottish Country Dancers - Enjoy the curated selection of theme-related dances for celebrations and holidays, or find a dance associated with a special calendar day, or EVEN your own birthday!  

bottom of page