Six hundred years ago, St. Andrews built the world's first golf course. This summer, the tiny Scottish burgh will open its tenth. The Scots started a craze that has swept the world, with tens of thousands of courses being built in more than a hundred countries, yet the golf boom never returned to St. Andrews itself. Until now.
Despite the huge popularity of golf in Scotland since the game's inception, it took nearly 500 years before the town built a second course. The original simply became The Old Course, and its partner was suitably called The New Course. That was in 1895. Two more full-sized courses opened over the next two decades, and then it was nearly a century before another would be built. In the last 10 years, however, the number of full-size courses in St. Andrews has doubled, along with an explosion in lodging, dining, and amenities that has done nothing less than change the face of St. Andrews.
Traditionally, most traveling golfers were obliged to make a pilgrimage to the birthplace of the game for a round on The Old Course before visiting the bigger Scottish golf resorts such as The Westin Turnberry Resort and Gleneagles. Despite their high quality, few were interested in playing The Old Course's siblings, the New, Eden, and Jubilee courses, which had never hosted the British Open and never appeared on the all-important Top 100 rankings put out by various golf magazines. This meant that St. Andrews was nothing more than a one- or two-night stop on most golfers' Scottish itineraries. But the area has quickly undergone a renaissance into a full-blown golf vacation destination, and today there is simply no better place in the world to spend a week playing golf.