The Old Course “Reverse”

PGA Fellow Professional

The Old Course “Reverse”

The Old Course "Reverse"

The Old Course “Reverse” is a short golf blog post that lets you into the little secret of unknown golf that you can actually play.

Since 2013, when I arrived in Scotland, I have been interested in getting to know the hidden gems and closed events that not many golfers talk about.

Last year I found out about an event that occurs every year in St Andrews. Did you know that for St Andrew’s Day, the Links Trust turn The Old Course around to its original layout?

The Old Course (Reverse)

Did you know, for example, that St Andrews, Old Course, is now played backwards to how it once was? I personally didn’t realise that this is the case. It wasn’t until I actually played The Old Course, in October 2021, that I found out for myself from my caddy.
Freddie Lawrence is a well of information when it comes to golf in St Andrews and he also sits on the committee of The New Golf Club. Since being informed by Freddie, I have heard the same fact from several people since.
I have since found out that for St Andrews Day (30th November), they recreate the original course to celebrate the occasion.
The St Andrews Links Trust have done this for up to 2 weeks per year on an annual basis. This year it was just for a few days and some friends of mine played in the event.

The Course Layout

Usually, The Old Course is played anti-clockwise but for a few days per year, it is played clockwise.
Everything changes except for the first tee and the eighteenth green which remain the same.
The course is played as follows:

1st tee to the 17th green
18th tee to the 16th green
17th tee to the 15th green
16th tee to the 14th green
15th tee to the 13th green
14th tee to the 12th green
13th tee to the 11th green
12th tee to the 10th green
11th tee to the 9th green
10th tee to the 8th green
9th tee to the 7th green
8th tee to the 6th green
7th tee to the 5th green
6th tee to the 4th green
5th tee to the 3rd green
4th tee to the 2nd green
3rd tee to the 1st green
2nd tee to the 18th green

The Conclusion

For those of you who have been lucky enough to play The Old Course at St Andrews, it may sound confusing.
When you play the normal course route, the bunkers can be quite difficult to see, but when you play the course in “Reverse” it all starts to make sense.
The bunkers come more into play. You see more of the danger that lies ahead. It starts playing mind games with your head.
It does, however, become a little more dangerous when playing “The Loop”. This is a clear reminder that we do need some kind of health & safety rules in our lives as it seems like a free for all.

I still envy the few that have played the course in “Reverse” and I would still love to have the opportunity to do so.
If anyone from the St Andrews Links Trust is reading this…….wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more!


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A huge thank you to Susanne Bross from Golf in Scotland

If you are looking for guaranteed tee-times on The Old Course, check out this website! Golf in Scotland.