Journeys: St Andrews

This year marks the 150th playing of the Open Championship, golf’s oldest and most venerable tournament, and it’s fittingly being hosted by the Home of Golf, the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland. To celebrate and honour this historic occasion, golf-travel expert Matt Ginella embarked on what can only be described as the ultimate golf trip, playing some of the greatest courses the game has to offer while paying homage to Old Tom Morris every step of the way.

Episode one: Back to school
Our host Matt Ginella plays 18 with Roger McStravick, author of the book St Andrews, in the Footsteps of Old Tom Morris. To immerse himself even more in the history of golf’s royal family, he also meets with Morris expert William Lumsden and with Sheila Walker, Old Tom’s great-great-granddaughter.

Episode 2: The Family Trees
Next on his tour of Old Tom Morris’ life, Matt Ginella visits Carnoustie, where Old Tom worked with Allen Robertson to design the first 10 holes and then came back to extend the course to 18 holes. He eats dinner at Seafood Ristorante, one of St Andrew’s best and most picturesque hot spots, and plays Muirfield, another Old Tom original that will host this year’s AIG Women’s Open.

Episode 3: The Old Course
At the Crail Golfing Society, David Roy walks Ginella through the history of the club and Old Tom’s impact on the design of the Balcomie Links. A trip to the R&A Museum provides more information on Old Tom Morris and a modernized display of interactive history. Sheila Walker, the great-great-great granddaughter of Old Tom Morris, is back to share details of how she’ll watch the final round of the 150th Open Championship—from the same window Old Tom used, in what was his house and now is hers, which overlooks the 18th green. 

Episode 4: Snow in St Andrews
After waking up to snow on day 4 of his trip, Ginella calls Gordon McKie, the Old Course superintendent, who meets him in the first fairway and explains the effects of snow on the course. Later, Ginella and his crew play Prestwick, an original Old Tom design that hosted the first Open Championship in 1860. Before leaving town, the team scurries onto the St Andrews cemetery at midnight to pay their respects to Old Tom’s grave and the everlasting legacy of a golfer’s life well-lived.