3 reviews of The Duke’s Course
A very testing course - but also a stunning course.. especially when the gorse is in bloom and the weather is warmer. You'll never forget the back 9 - an elevation changing monster with views over the Links to Carnoustie. The bunkers can all be easily avoided with some sensible decision making. The main trouble is the length - especially hitting uphill on 9, 15 and the torturous 18th (like Colonial - long , thin, uphill with heartbraking bunkering to the left of the green) Anywhere else and people would come from miles around - but this is a great course surrounded by legends. Hard work in the wet and claggy. The ball stops where it lands. Drives can be 50 yds shorter than the same hit on the links.
A few year's back, the Old Course Hotel was acquired by a Wisconsin (USA) businessman named Herb Kohler and with it came the Duke's Course. Whether it's because of Kohler's involvement (I live in Wisconsin and have played all of Kohler's overrated golf courses so I believe this is the case) or just a coincidence, the Duke's Course has basically been ruined. I talked to the Golf Director about the shock we encountered when we found that all of the original bunkering was ripped out in favor of what Kohler believed was more natural bunkering. The new bunkering looks terrible to be perfectly blunt about it. On top of that, the previously lightning fast greens I played in 2000 are now gone and have been replaced by slower over-seeded facsimilies of their superior ancestors. In all, this course has basically been run into the ground. Of course, they've RAISED prices while this has happened. There's no worse golf value in Scotland and I encourage anyone travelling to St. Andrews to skip this one in favor of New, Eden, Jubilee or any of the other great courses in the area. The clubhouse is still nice but the range is a disaster. Not sure what those range balls are made out of but they're the cheapest balls I've ever hit.
Played in July 2002. This is like Pinehurst with gorse. The course was in fabulous shape and not crowded on the day we were there. Plenty of driving room and some interesting holes. The 18th is a long carry to a double tiered green---quite a challenge. Great views of the town of St. Andrews. Buggies are available, but we walked the course comfortably and found the stroke saver book to be very helpful. Nice reception at the pro shop and even better in the bar afterword. You can have a refreshment and watch others struggle up the 18th.