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         Golf and Travel:  The British Isles 

St Andrews Links Valley of SinThe Old Course at St Andrews is the oldest golf course in the world. The Old Course is a public course over common land in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland and is held in trust by The St Andrews Links Trust under an act of Parliament. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A) club house sits adjacent to the first tee and although it might be imagined that they own the course, they are but one of many clubs that have playing privileges on the course, along with the general public. There is no real understanding of when golf was first played over the grounds that now constitute the Old Course. The earliest written evidence is a license issued in 1552, which permitted the community to rear rabbits on the links and "play at golf, futball, schuteing ... with all other manner of pastimes." The first written record of golf being played at the Old Course dates to 1574, which would make the Old Course the fifth-oldest links golf site in Scotland. However, documents from the reign of King James IV show that he bought golf clubs at St Andrews in 1506, only four years after his first purchase at Perth, which may indicate that the Old Course is significantly older than the written evidence shows. The course evolved without the help of any true architect for many years. Originally, it was played over over the same set of fairways out and back to the same holes. As interest in the game increased, the whins were cut back to allow for two fairways. All the greens were also increased in size and two holes were cut. The Old Course had 12 holes, 10 of which were played both out and in, making a total of 22 holes. As play increased, the first four holes (all of which were played twice) were combined in 1764 to make two holes, leaving a total of 18 holes. Over time, this became the standard number of holes for courses all over the world. Around 1863, Old Tom Morris had the 1st green separated from the 17th green, producing the current 18-hole layout with seven double greens. One of the unique features of the Old Course are the huge double greens. Seven greens are shared by two holes each. Only the 1st, 9th, 17th and 18th holes have their own greens. Another unique feature is that the course can be played in either direction, clockwise or anti-clockwise. The general method of play today is anti-clockwise, although clockwise play has been permitted on one day each year for the past few years (in 2008, clockwise play was allowed on the Friday, Saturday and Monday of the first weekend in April). Originally, the course was reversed every week in order to let the grass recover better. One other unusual thing about the Old Course is that it is closed on Sundays to let the course rest. On some Sundays, the course turns into a park for all the townspeople who come out to stroll, picnic and otherwise enjoy the grounds. (Article sourced here from CaddyBytes image 18th Green St. Andrews Valley of Sin (See our Slide Show)


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Carnoustie Links, Carnoustie Scotland

Carnoustie Links 18th holeCarnoustie Golf Links in the town of Carnoustie, Angus, in the east of Scotland is one of the venues in the Open Championship rotation. Golf is recorded as having been played here in the early 16th century. In 1890, the 14th Earl of Dalhousie, who owned the land, sold the links to the local authority. It had no funds to acquire the property and public fundraising was undertaken and donated to the council. The original course was of ten holes, crossing and recrossing the Barry Burn. The opening of the coastal railway from Dundee to Arbroath in 1838 brought an influx of golfers from as far afield as Edinburgh, anxious to tackle the ancient links. This led to a complete restructuring of the course, extended in 1867 by Old Tom Morris to the eighteen holes which had meanwhile become standard. Two additional courses have since been added — the Burnside Course and the shorter though equally testing Buddon Links. Carnoustie first played host to The Open Championship in 1931, after modifications to the course by James Braid in 1926. The winner then was Tommy Armour, from Edinburgh. Later Open winners at Carnoustie include Henry Cotton of England in 1937, Ben Hogan of the USA in 1953, Gary Player of South Africa in 1968, Tom Watson of the USA in 1975, Paul Lawrie of Scotland in 1999 and Pádraig Harrington of Ireland in 2007. The last three championships were all won in playoffs. The termCarnoustie Effect dates from the 1999 Open, when the world's best players, many of whom were reared on manicured and relatively windless courses, were frustrated by the unexpected difficulties of the Carnoustie links, which was compounded by the weather. One much-fancied young favourite, a 19-year-old Sergio Garcia of Spain, went straight from the course to his mother's arms in tears after shooting 89 and 83 in the first two rounds. The Carnoustie effect is defined as "that degree of mental and psychic shock experienced on collision with reality by those whose expectations are founded on false assumptions." This being a psychological term, it can of course apply to disillusionment in any area of activity, not just in golf. The 1999 Open Championship is best remembered for the epic collapse of French golfer Jean Van de Velde, who needed only a double-bogey six on the 72nd hole to win the Open—and proceeded to shoot a triple-bogey seven, tying Paul Lawrie and 1997 champion Justin Leonard at 290, at six over par. Lawrie won the playoff and the championship (and Van de Velde won a place in sports infamy). (Article sourced here from CaddyBytes image 18th Hole Carnoustie Links (Click Here to See our Slide Show):