ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND | The Old is almost certainly the most famous course on the planet, a superb major championship site, a Mecca for recreational players making golf’s equivalent of a hadj on the Firth of Forth and the lifeblood of this burgh of some 14,000 people, many of whom are also fanatics of the royal and ancient game. But what is not acknowledged as often is that it is also one of the most interesting courses in the world from a design standpoint, simple yet complex and singular because it was largely fashioned by Mother Nature, not man. That makes the intricacies of the out-and-back track a little harder for mere mortals to discern. But it is also what makes the Old, which in 2021 will host the Open Championship for the 30th time, such a pleasure to play.
The Old Course is pure genius architecturally, and that is also why it has been such an influencer in course design through the decades. Its routing has been studied for years, and its holes copied time and again: like the par-3 eighth dubbed Short, or No. 11, another p...
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