The game of golf has idled along largely unchanged in the Scottish town of St. Andrews since the 15th century, when local nobles first put stick to ball on a stretch of windswept turf now known as the Old Course. But on June 28 the birthplace of golf got a rare addition: another full-length course.
Set on a cliff above St. Andrews, the Castle Course was designed by Scottish architect David Kidd, who was responsible for the much raved-about Bandon Dunes in Oregon. His new creation (named after a fortification formerly on the site) uses dramatic mounding and undulating greens to enhance the dizzying sense of expanse that comes with having the course overlook St. Andrews Bay. This is no place for beginners: the par 3 17th hole requires a 180-yard carry over a sea-splashed ravine; visual trickery makes wide fairways seem dauntingly tight.
Purists may ask whether this artifice tons of earth molded into hills on what was once a flat field is appropriate for a town so devoted to the ethos of links golf, which emphasizes natural features over altered landscapes. Still, the Castle Course offers the open, unpredictable greens that make a Scottish pilgrimage worthwhile. To paraphrase Mark Twain, it's a great way to spoil a good walk. www.linksnet.co.uk