Planning to visit St Andrews, Scotland, “The Home of Golf”?.
READ THIS: It will help with the heart break when you leave.
A love Letter to St Andrews
Like train platforms and tourist attractions, the footprints of millions leave only fading impressions on the sandy links turf of St Andrews, “The Home of Golf.”
This tiny town on a neuk of Scotland’s eastern coastline has a golf course whose pull is as powerful as any place of pilgrimage in Western Christianity or Islam.
Pilgrims do not come to pray, they come to play, 18 holes on The Old Course at St Andrews.
As the train doors open at Leuchars rail station, the sound of clanking clubs drowns out rolling wheels and animated chatter.
Helicopters land in secluded spots near wealthy enclaves, hotels and country houses.
Whoever they are and however they arrive, they come for golf, and for this place.
The glory and majesty of St Andrews infuses salty air, glides like sea fret around elegant streets, and feeds a past reborn in every new moment.
Eyes see but never in isolation. The 18th green is stoic in stillness but history refuses a simple ordinary scene.
Imagination conjures Seve – fists pumping – on the 18th green, Rocca prostrate and crying in the Valley of Sin, Nicklaus’ putter flung skyward and Doug Sanders recoiling as his ball refused to drop.
Hairs bristle and pulses race like the seconds before that first teenage kiss.
Like a young man seeking his greatest love, there’s a feeling it will last forever – this new exciting union – with the Grand Old Lady of golf.
The truth is different. Her heart beats but never races, she is constant – like the turning of tide – or the eternal rock on which she stands.
As the years roll by, faces come and go.
Cheering crowds swell like waves off West Sands only to disappear again, as the final roar rises and the silver Claret Jug glints in the July sunshine.
The scaffolds and scoreboards, TV towers and power lines make way for student gowns, ambling dogs, day trippers and soul searchers.
Many feel her heart belongs to them.
Old Tom Morris gave a lifetime, Bobby Jones – the most gracious and charming suitor – loved by the people as well as the links, Tiger; a brooding powerful temptation, Jack – the greatest of them all – and John, a reckless ill-suited fling, and wait; don’t forget Louis, a simple farmer from Africa’s Southern tip.
Her holes are like stories lovers share and the places where once they cared.
Too beautiful by name but brutal by nature, Hell, Ginger Beer, Coffins, Strath, The Beardies, most famous of all – Road Hole – apt in every way, for all that come must go someday.
None of them have claim, for the heart of St Andrews belongs to golf. To each and everyone who has taken a stance and poured hopes and dreams into two turns and a swish.
Matthew Moore lived in St Andrews from 1997-2001 while a student at St Andrews University.
He, like thousands before him, left some small piece of his heart out on The Old Course.