The subject of what is the oldest golf course in the world has been debated for years.
For most people acquainted with golf, and a fair few that are not, the answer is simple. It’s the famous links of St Andrews, of course – and the good news for them is that they are right.
Evidence of games involving sticks, balls and targets exists dating right back to the time of ancient Rome while many other venues have laid a claim to the title, but it is only St Andrews Links that can rightfully assert that they are the place where our glorious game began.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, Archbishop Hamilton’s Charter in 1552 is the earliest documentary evidence that allowed the people of St Andrews to play golf on the links.
The charter principally allowed Archbishop Hamilton to breed rabbits on the links, but the document also allowed them to continue the “playing at golf, futball, schuting at all gamis, with all uther maner of pastyme as ever thai plais.” Conclusive stuff, eh.
Where is the oldest golf course in the world?
For the best part of 600 years, golfers have headed to St Andrews on the east coast of Scotland to pay their own personal homage to the Home of Golf.
Europe’s largest public golf venue with no fewer than seven links courses, everyone that is anybody in the game has played in St. Andrews – from Old Tom Morris, Willie Park, Gene Sarazen and Ben Hogan to Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Seve Ballesteros and Tiger Woods.
Of course, the track that everyone wants to play is the iconic Old Course, Old Tom Morris’ most famous creation which will have the honour of hosting The 150th Open Championship in 2022