Fairmont St Andrews: A guide to the Scottish Championship venue
By Brandon Tucker, Sr. Managing Editor of Golf Advisor
Last Updated: 21/10/20 9:05am
Ahead of Fairmont St Andrews hosting the European Tour's Scottish Championship presented by AXA, Brandon Tucker takes a closer look at what the venue and local area has to offer.
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There are two sides to the world's oldest golf destination. Playing only the historic links in the St. Andrews town centre is only the beginning of an epic story. This golf mecca that anchors Scotland's Kingdom of Fife (and as the home of the R&A, the world, for that matter) has a collection of modern additions that add to the tale of the Auld Grey Toon.
Located on the coastline just east of the town centre, Fairmont St Andrews, host of the Scottish Championship presented by AXA on the European Tour (Oct 15-18), is a 21st century stay-opened in 2001 (originally named "St. Andrews Bay").
It's one of several golf landmarks on the scenic Coast Road (A917) that ventures south eastward from the town centre and bordered on the west by the Castle Course at St. Andrews and to the east, Kingsbarns Golf Links (also a European Tour venue). If you keep going, you will get to the 36 holes of Crail Golfing Society on Fife's easternmost point, which features both a course with roots from the 1700s and a new one designed by Gil Hanse from the 1990s.
This is, no question, one of the ultimate roads in the world of golf. While the Links Trust courses in town play on rippling dunes along the water, you feel the sea more than you truly see it. The courses on The Coast Road, meanwhile, sit atop bluffs high above the sea. Fairmont's two courses feature stellar coastal scenery throughout the 520-acre property as well as from guest rooms and restaurants within the hotel
The former farmland has been transformed into a links-inspired layout with pot bunkers, wispy fecsue rough and rumbling, firm fairways. An exposed location above the North Sea means that breezes must usually be navigated, an essential theme on courses throughout the home of golf. The Torrance Course (4.8/5.0 rating on Golf Advisor), designed by Scottish golf legend Sam Torrance, winds around the hotel on the front nine before dancing closer to cliff's edge on the back.
The Torrance has hosted more top events, such as the Scottish Seniors Open, as well as Open Championship qualifiers than the next door Kittocks. The Kittocks Course (4.6/5.0 rating on Golf Advisor), however, is a little more scenic from start to finish and has been used partially as a composite course in other top events staged at Fairmont St Andrews.
Fairmont is a brand typically associated with luxury, but here, it has a perhaps unexpected value element. Kingsbarns and The Old Course are both more expensive. The Fairmont's courses' green fees peak out at £105 in the summer, far below its neighbours and stay-and-play packages are stellar deals, especially when you include a hearty breakfast.
All the festive attractions of St. Andrews, from the Swilcan Bridge to West Sands Beach and Old Tom Morris' gravesite, are just a short, resort shuttle drive away. Fairmont's 209 guest rooms and suites come with modern trimmings like guest rooms with heated floors and a separate shower and bath.
Part of the St. Andrews experience, for many groups, is entering the Old Course Lottery. A little flexibility, or perhaps some last-minute audibles can be part of the excitement of a golf trip here. Fairmont St. Andrews' two golf courses are public-access and you can book online tee times, including on the day-of, on GolfNow.
A morning round on the Torrance or Kittocks, followed by an afternoon in town, perhaps on the Himalayas putting course or just soaking in the town scenery, is a day in St. Andrews done right.