The Old Course at St. Andrews Pictures

01
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Photo Touring the Old Course from Hole 1

View of the first hole at The Old Course at St Andrews from behind the green
The view from behind the No. 1 green at The Old Course, looking back down the fairway. The black line visible at the front of the green on the right side of the photo is the Swilcan Burn. David Cannon/Getty Images

This slideshow of the Old Course at St. Andrews takes us on a tour of the links, one of the two most-famous golf courses in the world (its only competition for that title is Augusta National) and the singularly most important course in golf history. Golf courses are 18 holes because of The Old Course; the R&A's headquarters is just behind the 18th green; Old Tom Morris toiled here, innovating in course maintenance and design; Bobby Jones (and many other greats) won here.

The Old Course at St. Andrews is iconic. Although it hasn't always impressed first-time visitors from abroad - Sam Snead thought it was "an old, abandoned golf course" the first time he laid eyes on it.

The 18 photos in this gallery depict all 18 holes, in order, with yardages, hole names and other info.

The First Hole

  • Name of first hole: Burn
  • Par: 4
  • Yards: 376

The Old Course at St. Andrews opens with one of the easiest tee shots in golf. Hazards are very hard to find off the tee - the fairway is around 100 yards wide, there are no bunkers, no water, no rough. (That doesn't mean every pro hits the fairway, however; Ian Baker-Finch infamously missed this fairway at the 1995 British Open, when he was in the depths of his struggles. He quit competitive golf afterward.)

The first fairway is crossed by a road, however, with the name of Granny Clark's Wynd (it also crosses the neighboring 18th fairway).

The Swilcan Burn, a channel of water about eight feet across, does show up on the extreme right of the fairway about 105 yards out from the hole, then winds up the right side of the fairway and crosses in front of the green.

About 80 yards from the green, the very wide fairway is pinched to about half its width by the Himalayas Putting Green, which is out of bounds to the right.

The small gorse bush visible in the photo above is also visible from the tee and is the aiming point for the first drive.

02
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The Old Course - Hole 2

Old Course at St. Andrews Hole 2
The second hole on The Old Course at St. Andrews. David Cannon / Getty Images

  • Name of second hole: Dyke
  • Par: 4
  • Yards: 453

The second hole at The Old Course is home to the deep bunker known at Cheape's Bunker, and Cheape's is quite costly to any golfer who goes into it. For many pros, however, Cheape's Bunker had faded as a concern over the years as distance gains in golf sped up. Many golfers found it easy to get past Cheape's on the drive.

A new tee 40 yards farther back, however, makes Cheape's Bunker a threat again to misplaced drives. And don't go right off the tee, there's thick, gnarly gorse waiting to swallow up the ball in that direction.

The second hole is the first double green encountered on The Old Course, No. 2 sharing space with No. 16. But the double greens are so massive that it's not that easy to find your ball closer to the wrong flagstick than the right one. It does happen, though, even to the pros sometimes.

03
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The Old Course - Hole 3

Old Course at St. Andrews Hole 3
Looking from right to left across the Cartgate Bunker on The Old Course's third hole. David Cannon / Getty Images

  • Name of third hole: Cartgate (Out)
  • Par: 4
  • Yards: 397

The name of the hole is Cartgate (Out). Why "out," and in parentheses? Several holes on The Old Course not only share greens, but also names. There is also a Cartgate (No. 15) on the back nine; Nos. 3 and 15 share one of the links' double greens. To differentiate the two Cartgate holes, the front nine - or outward nine - one is called "Cartgate (Out)," and the back nine - or inward nine - one is called "Cartgate (In)."

The name of the hole is also the name of the most dangerous hazard, the deep Cartgate Bunker that sits on the left side of the No. 3 green. It's difficult to see on the approach, but it gobbles up plenty of wayward shots.

A series of small pot bunkers and a few stands of gorse are on the right side of the fairways. The Principal's Nose, a group of bunkers in the 16th fairway, are visible left of the No. 3 fairway about halfway down the fairway.

04
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The Old Course - Hole 4

Old Course at St. Andrews Hole 4
The fourth hole on The Old Course at St. Andrews. David Cannon / Getty Images

  • Name of fourth hole: Ginger Beer
  • Par: 4
  • Yards: 480

The fourth hole is the longest par-4 on The Old Course. Right of the mounds in the photo above is the valley portion of the fairway; left of the mounds is a plateau that offers a better view of the approach. The valley is tougher to hit, being narrower; but the plateau is easy for bombers to overshoot with driver and roll into a wide bunker (called the Cottage bunker) behind.

No. 4 shares its double green with the 14th hole.

05
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The Old Course - Hole 5

Old Course at St. Andrews Hole 5
The fifth hole on The Old Course at St. Andrews. David Cannon / Getty Images

  • Name of fifth hole: Hole O'Cross (Out)
  • Par: 5
  • Yards: 568

Hole No. 5 is the first par-5 golfers encounter at The Old Course. A good drive sets most tour pros up to reach this green on the second shot - or at least give it a go.

The bunkers in the photo above are on the right side of the fairway, part of a group of six bunkers that can menace drives that don't follow the preferred line to the left half of the fairway.

Farther up the hole are the Spectacles bunkers, two bunkers, one on either side of the fairway, around 60 yards short of the green. For the non-pros, and all shorter hitters, laying up short of the Spectacles is the play, leaving a short third into a raised green that is 100 yards from front to back. The fifth hole shares its double green with No. 13.

06
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The Old Course - Hole 6

Old Course at St. Andrews Hole 6
The sixth hole on The Old Course at St. Andrews. David Cannon / Getty Images

  • Name of sixth hole: Heathery (Out)
  • Par: 4
  • Yards: 412

The photo above shows the approach to the sixth green (which shares the double green with Hole No. 12) and gives a good look at how undulating links golf fairways can be.

The tee shot is downhill and mostly blind, with a copse of gorse intervening between tee and landing area. There are bunkers on either side of the fairway, including the infamous Coffins bunker on the left. However, the Coffins bunker is no longer a threat to most pros, who can fly the ball past it off the tee.

The approach to the green is slightly back uphill, but a gully sits right in front of the green which makes judging the approach more difficult.

07
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The Old Course - Hole 7

Old Course at St. Andrews Hole 7
The seventh hole on The Old Course at St. Andrews. David Cannon / Getty Images

  • Name of seventh hole: High (Out)
  • Par: 4
  • Yards: 390

The right side of the fairway is lined with gorse, but at this rather short par-4 (it plays 359 from the regular men's tees) most golfers should be able to avoid that hazard.

The seventh hole shares its double green with No. 11, and fronting the seventh green is the Shell bunker, a cavernous, gaping maw of sand. Avoid the Shell bunker by not going too long off the tee, or too short on the short approach shot to the green.

08
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The Old Course - Hole 8

Old Course at St. Andrews Hole 8
The eighth hole on The Old Course at St. Andrews. David Cannon / Getty Images

  • Name of eighth hole: Short
  • Par: 3
  • Yards: 175

In the photo above, the walking path leads to the No. 8 green, whose flagstick is near the center-left of the image.

The first par-3 on The Old Course carries the name "Short," even though it's not the shortest hole during British Opens. At the 2010 Open Championship, this Short hole's yardage is actually one yard more than the course's other par-3, No. 11. But for everyday play, the No. 8 Short really is the shortest hole on the links.

The Short Hole Bunker, visible in the photo above, is the main hazard here. And the wind can make club selection a test (as it can on every hole at The Old Course). The No. 8 green is shared with No. 10.

09
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The Old Course - Hole 9

Old Course at St. Andrews Hole 9
The ninth hole on The Old Course at St. Andrews. David Cannon / Getty Images

  • Name of ninth hole: End
  • Par: 4
  • Yards: 352

No. 9 is named "End," and with the End Hole we've reached the end of the outward nine at The Old Course.

The ninth is a short par-4, pretty straightforward, and many pros - give the right wind - will try to drive the green. (This green, by the way, is one of only a handful on the links that is not a shared, double green. The ninth green is the End Hole's alone.)

Two bunkers - End Hole bunker and Boase's bunker - sit in the middle of the fairway, End Hole bunker closer to the green, from 70 to 40 yards out.

10
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The Old Course - Hole 10

Old Course at St. Andrews Hole 10
Looking over the green on No. 10 and back down the fairway. David Cannon / Getty Images

  • Name of 10th hole: Bobby Jones
  • Par: 4
  • Yards: 380

The first hole of the inward nine at The Old Course is named in honor of Robert Tyre Jones, Bobby Jones, who won on The Old Course in 1927 (British Open) and 1930 (British Amateur). Jones returned to St. Andrews in 1958, when he was named a "Freeman of the City of St Andrews," just the second American to receive the honor (Benjamin Franklin was the first).

The 10th hole shares its green with No. 8. For the best angle of approach, the golfer should keep the ball to the right-center of the fairway; however, that's also the direction in which two bunkers await golf balls that go a little too much to the right, one about 70 yards short of the green and the other much closer to the huge double green.

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The Old Course - Hole 11

Old Course at St. Andrews Hole 11
A view toward the 11th green of The Old Course, with Eden Estuary behind. David Cannon / Getty Images

  • Name of 11th hole: High (In)
  • Par: 3
  • Yards: 174

The par-3 11th hole plays the shortest (by one yard) for the professionals in the British Open. But this second of the two par-3 holes on The Old Course is actually the slightly longer of the two short holes for regular play.

The 11th hole shares its double green with No. 7. This hole typically plays into the prevailing wind off Eden Estuary.

Strath bunker (visible in the photo) is a small pot bunker on the right side of the 11th green (near the middle of the double green), and Hill bunker is a large, deep bunker on the left side that is the most dangerous hazard. The line off the tee is between the two bunkers to a green that slopes steeply from back to front. Balls that come up short are likely to roll off into a swale fronting the green.

12
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The Old Course - Hole 12

Old Course at St. Andrews Hole 12
A view from behind the 12th green of The Old Course. David Cannon / Getty Images

  • Name of 12th hole: Heathery (In)
  • Par: 4
  • Yards: 348

Hole No. 12 at The Old Course shares its green with the sixth. The 12th's portion of that double green is challenging with two distinct tiers, a recessed front portion and a very shallow, raised back portion. A small pot bunker is in front.

Another one of the short par-4 holes, the prevailing wind tends to help drives here. When that's the case, the pros might be tempted to take aim at the green. The rest of us will likely want to aim left of a series of fairway bunkers that range from about 170 yards off the tee to about 225 yards off the tee.

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The Old Course - Hole 13

Old Course at St. Andrews Hole 13
A view of the approach to the 13th green. David Cannon / Getty Images

  • Name of 13th hole: Hole O'Cross (In)
  • Par: 4
  • Yards: 465

The Coffins. An ominous name, to be sure. And The Coffins bunkers are back in play for the pros after the hole was lengthened for the 2010 Open Championship.

For regular play, The Coffins bunkers are about 200 yards off the tee, making them a real hazard to many Old Course golfers. But the pros had been able to fly them, so prior to the 2010 British Open a new tee was added farther back, and now The Coffins - for the pros - sit around 290 yards off the tee.

Avoiding The Coffins with your tee ball is imperative, and the preferred line is to the left of the bunkers for the best approach into the green. The No. 13 green is a double green shared with the fifth hole.

The green sits above the level of the fairway and is fronted by a swale and pot bunkers, and to the left are tangled gorse and heather.

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The Old Course - Hole 14

Old Course at St. Andrews Hole 14
The 14th hole on The Old Course at St. Andrews. David Cannon / Getty Images

  • Name of 14th hole: Long
  • Par: 5
  • Yards: 618

The aptly named Long Hole, No. 14 is the longest hole on The Old Course. At the 2010 Open Championship, it played 618 yards with the addition of a new tee farther back.

The 14th is home to Hell Bunker and to The Beardies. The Beardies are a group of bunkers on the left ranging from about 175 yards to 225 yards off the tee for regular play. With the new, deeper tee for the pros, a very bad drive could find trouble in The Beardies.

Hell Bunker is a huge fairway bunker - pictured in the image above - that menaces second-shot layups. The best line to the green when this is played as a 3-shot hole is from the left of Hell Bunker. Do you have to ask why it's called Hell Bunker? (In 1995, Jack Nicklaus got into it, and it took him three swings to get out of it.)

The 14th is a double green that is shared with Hole No. 4.

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The Old Course - Hole 15

Old Course at St. Andrews Hole 15
The 15th hole on The Old Course at St. Andrews. David Cannon / Getty Images

  • Name of 15th hole: Cartgate (In)
  • Par: 4
  • Yards: 456

There is gorse down the right-hand side for much of the No. 15 fairway. The ideal line is between two mounds in the fairway that are around 125 yards from the green. These mounds are known as "Miss Grainger's bosoms." A little bit farther up the fairway are a group of small pot bunkers that might affect particularly lengthy drives.

The 15th hole shares its green with No. 3. The Cartgate bunker that fronts the third green sits at the back left of the 15th green.

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The Old Course - Hole 16

Old Course at St. Andrews Hole 16
Looking from behind the green on the 16th hole of The Old Course. David Cannon / Getty Images

  • Name of 16th hole: Corner Of The Dyke
  • Par: 4
  • Yards: 423

An out-of-bounds fence runs the entire length of the hole down the right side, and there's a narrow gap between the fence and the Principal's Nose group of bunkers in the fairway. About 30 yards beyond the Principal's Nose cluster is the Deacon Sime bunker, so hitting that alley is a risk. There is disagreement among experts over whether the risk of playing right of Principal's Nose is worth the reward of an easier approach. Some course guides say that's the best line, but Jack Nicklaus always preferred going left of Principal's Nose off the tee.

Playing short and/or left of the Principal's Nose does present a tougher approach, however, with a carry over Grant's and Wig bunkers required, and the ball heading toward the OB fence if long.

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The Old Course - Hole 17

Old Course at St. Andrews Hole 17
The Road Hole Looking from the right side of the Road Hole green across to the left side, with the 18th hole in the background. David Cannon / Getty Images

  • Name of 17th hole: Road
  • Par: 4
  • Yards: 455

The 17th at St. Andrews - the Road Hole - is one of the best-known holes in golf. One reason is the fact that the road - visible on the extreme right of the photo above - is in play. A ball that bounds across the road might come to rest close to or up against the stone wall.

The green is very shallow, and the dangerous Road Bunker (a k a, Road Hole bunker) gobbles up poorly placed approaches. That bunker is sometimes also called "the Sands of Nakajima," after Japanese golfer Tommy Nakajima. Nakajima was in contention at the 1978 British Open until he hit into the Road bunker and needed four swings to get out of it. The Road Bunker is visible in the photo above, and you can see how little room there is on the green between the bunker in front and the road behind.

The Road Hole is tough from start to finish. That start is a blind drive over the corner (and outbuildings) of the adjoining hotel property, with the best line keeping the ball close to the OB wall.

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The Old Course - Hole 18

Old Course at St. Andrews Hole 18
The Swilcan Bridge in the foreground, the R&A clubhouse back left is the view from the tee on No. 18. David Cannon / Getty Images

  • Name of 18th hole: Tom Morris
  • Par: 4
  • Yards: 455

The home hole on The Old Course is straightforward - a huge fairway and a huge green. The sheer size of the green can cause problems, however, with many putts of unusual lengths possible.

The hole starts with a drive over the Swilcan Burn, which the player crosses via the old stone Swilcan Bridge. With lots of roll, the hole is drivable - and has been for longer pros going back many years.

There are no bunkers on the 18th hole, but the fairway is crossed by a road - Granny Clark's Wynd - that is in use and in play. And in front of the green is the deeply undulating swale known as the Valley of Sin.

See also: Players posing on the Swilcan Bridge