Best Quotes About the Old Course at St. Andrews

View of the 17th and 18th hole on the Old Course with town of St Andrews in background

The Old Course at St. Andrews isn't known as "the home of golf" for nothing — golf has been played there since the 1400s. Many of the traditions and rules of golf originated there (such as 18 holes being standard for golf courses). The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews is based there, and the R&A was the original "governing body" of the game.

And the Old Course is the most-frequently used site today of the British Open, one of the four major championships of men's professional golf. Most of those pro golfers grow to love the links, even if some of them don't at first appreciate all its quirks and funny bounces.

But not all of them! Unlike most other collections of quotes about the Old Course, ours includes a few negative comments about "the Auld Lady." But most of the sayings about St. Andrews below are, as one would expect, extolling the virtues of the links and its place in golf history. So let's begin:

"I want to thank nature for making this golf course." – Ben Crenshaw, two-time Masters winner

"When the British Open is in Scotland, there's something special about it. And when it's at St. Andrews, it's even greater." — Jack Nicklaus, three-time British Open winner, twice at St. Andrews

"It may be years before I fully appreciate it, but I am inclined to believe that winning The Open at the Home of Golf is the ultimate achievement in the sport." — Tiger Woods, three-time British Open winner, twice at St. Andrews

"St. Andrews has got a character and features that you find nowhere else. You can play a damned good shot and find the ball in a damned bad place. That is the real game of golf." — George Duncan, winner of the 1920 British Open

"My first impression of St. Andrews was one of strange ambiguousness. I didn't like it, nor, for that matter, did I hate it. I've never been so puzzled after a practice round in my life." — Tom Watson, five-time Open winner, but never at St. Andrews

"Winning the Open Championship can turn a good player into a star, but winning the Open at St. Andrews can turn a great player into a legend." — Henry Cotton, three-time Open champ, but not at St. Andrews

"This is the origin of the game. Golf in its purest form, and it's still played that way on a course seemingly untouched by time." – Arnold Palmer, winner of two Opens

"The worst piece of s*** I've ever played. I think they had some sheep and goats there that died and they just covered them up." — Scott Hoch, 11-time PGA Tour winner

"The more I studied the Old Course, the more I loved it. And the more I loved it, the more I studied it." — Bobby Jones, three-time British Open winner, once at St. Andrews

"Until you play it, St. Andrews looks like the sort of real estate you couldn't give away." — Sam Snead, winner of 1946 British Open on the Old Course

"Victory anywhere is always sweet, but to win at St. Andrews is so special it rises above everything else." – Seve Ballesteros, three-time British Open winner, once on the Old Course

U.S. Open winner Tom Kite on the Old Course's 13th hole: "It's a great golf hole. It gives you a million options, not one of them worth a damn."

Peter Thomson, five-time Open winner (once at St. Andrews), on the 17th hole, the Road Hole: "I have no hesitation in allowing that if one built such a hole today you would be sued for incompetence."

"There is always a way at St. Andrews, although it is not always the obvious way, and in trying to find it, there is more to be learned on this British course than in playing a hundred ordinary American golf courses." — Bobby Jones

"St. Andrews never impressed me at all. I wondered how it got such a reputation. The only reason could be on account of age." — Bill Mehlhorn, 19-time PGA Tour winner

"If there is one part of the game not right, no matter how you try your hardest to protect it, the Old Course will find it." — Peter Thomson

"The only place in Britain that's holier is Westminster Abbey." — Sam Snead

"There's nothing wrong with The Old Course at St. Andrews that a hundred bulldozers couldn't put right." — Ed Furgol, U.S. Open winner

"I feel like I'm back visiting an old grandmother. She's crotchety and eccentric, but also elegant, and anyone who doesn't fall in love with her has no imagination." — Tony Lema, winner of the 1964 British Open at St. Andrews

Old Tom Morris (four-time Open champ), looking through a telescope at the moon: "She looks like the Old Course."

Photo credit: "The Old Course - St Andrews" by lbpyles is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 .

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