The Duke’s is the course belonging to the famous Old Course Hotel and it’s the only non-links course in St Andrews. The Duke’s is situated a couple of miles inland but, if you are lucky enough to stay at the hotel, they’ll provide transportation to and from the course. Despite the hotel being strategically sited next to the infamous Road Hole, no hotel can guarantee tee times on the Old course. Naturally, the Old Course Hotel decided to build their very own course.
Five times Open Champion Peter Thomson who was affectionately nicknamed the Melbourne Tiger designed The Duke’s course. The Aussie’s motto is that “a golf course should be a bit wild” and he’s certainly created a seriously challenging layout, which measures 7,512 yards from the tips, but with five tee boxes the Duke’s is manageable for all golfers. The Duke’s opened for play in 1995 and the name presumably came from Prince Andrew the Duke of York who hit the first tee shot in an opening match with former Scotland Rugby Captain Gavin Hastings.
A gentle opening par five called “Highland” takes you quickly away from the luxurious clubhouse with the first real challenge coming at the 2nd, a hole called “Drumcarrow”. This tough par four is flanked by trees and a solid drive down the left will leave a tricky long approach shot to a long, narrow green which is very difficult to find in regulation. When you reach the turn, spectacular views open up over St Andrews town and the sea beyond.
“Braw View”, the par four 13th, is one of the most scenic holes in St Andrews. Panoramic views to the north and of the “Auld Grey Toon” might make your mind wander but beware as you will require an accurate tee shot to a bottleneck fairway, avoiding fairway bunkers on the left and right, to set up the best approach shot that requires precise clubbing to hold this small, downhill green. The 18th provides a great climax to an enjoyable round. “Ice House” is a challenging uphill par four, an accurate drive is required followed by an approach shot to an elevated green that will require an extra club. Enjoy the view of St Andrews before heading for the sanctuary of the 19th hole.
The Duke's course was revised and renovated in 2006 by Tim Liddy, an understudy of the renowned golf course architect Pete Dye. Significant bunker changes were implemented coupled with three new closing holes and alterations to the greensites on holes 13, 14 and 15. Additionally, the club has made significant improvements to fairway drainage such that the course now plays in a more traditional heathland style.
In 2009, complimentary use of the driving range was introduced for all golfers and strategic areas of rough cut back to allow a wider latitude for play, making for greatly improved scoring and enjoyment.
St Andrews is one of only a few places in the world whereby you can enjoy stunning links golf and, just a couple of miles away in the shape of the Duke’s course, outstanding inland golf. Let’s hear it for St Andrews – the Home of Golf.
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Average Reviewers Score:
What a fantastic course, and in lovely condition in mid October. Our first round in a nine day trip to St Andrews, and it did not disappoint...in fact at the end of the trip it was still one of my three favorite courses played, the others being Gleneagles King's Course and Royal Aberdeen. Beautiful fall colors on the trees lining the fairways, touch of heathland here and there...reminded me very much of Blackwolf Run. If ever I make it back to St Andrews, The Duke's will be at the top of my list...I had also played the Old/New/Eden/Castle courses as well on this, so that should give an idea of my personal preference. I've lived in England now going on four years and the heathland courses are my favorites...Sunningdale, Woodhall Spa, Walton Heath, Notts, The Duke's, Luffenham Heath, Woodbridge, & Ipswich just to name a few.
Good layout. As many pointed out, this is one of the underrated courses in the area. As green and tee are quite apart, taking a powered cart is recommended. For 36 everyday duffers like myself, this is a great relief. At the time I played, green was a bit slow.
A handful of memorable trips to St Andrews have been savoured over the years but this was our first visit to the Duke’s. The course is a joy to play and offers an excellent heathland alternative to the familiar links courses just up the road. The layout is attractive throughout but the magnificent bunkering is the star of the show here. I would go as far as saying that they are probably as good as anything I’ve experienced on my travels in Britain. Beautiful to look at without doubt but many are brutal and therefore good scoring will require skill as you plot way around them. As with most modern designs there are a variety of tees from which to choose, ranging from just over 6100 to 7500 yards. For maximum enjoyment choose carefully. Numerous stands of mature pine trees certainly add to the feeling of grandeur on the course and nowhere is this more noticeable than on the opening par 5 first which is a real cracker to get your round underway. All four of the par threes are very attractive, the uphill 8th and downhill 16th being my favourites. There are many highlights amongst the longer holes and great variety also with doglegs, burns to be cleared, testing greens and enough undulation to be interesting without testing your stamina too much. Walking down the 13th fairway you get the chance to look beyond the green over the famous old town and out to sea….. magnificent. The finishing holes continue to impress culminating in the excellent uphill 18th sitting beneath the clubhouse. For me worthy of a place in the Top 100 and most certainly a class act. Brian W
One of the biggest obstacles the Duke’s course has is that it will always be in battle with the many coastal courses just a few miles away and rightly or wrongly those are the ones that visitors (especially from overseas) choose first. If I can help in anyway with this review to see if the Duke’s can be added to golfer’s radar, then I will (n.b. I do not have any connection with the club at all). Obviously Scotland is world famous for many golf courses and these are going to be loosely split into coastal and inland. Although the sea is in view from parts of the Duke’s course, this is an inland course and one of the country’s very best. My top five in this category would be 1st Loch Lomond, equal 2nd Spey Valley and Duke’s and then the Kings and Queens at Gleneagles. I find it difficult to find any faults at all really, the bunkering is bold and good looking, well placed and memorable on every hole – the course has been built on beautiful land with fantastic trees all around and there is a tough job to play to handicap on every hole - those qualities all add up to a must-play course. My two favourite holes are; the 10th – a par-4 dog-legging left with a burn in play at driving length and then the closing hole, a tough par-4 that plays uphill and ends with a great green-site with deep bunkering, great views over St. Andrews and the elegant clubhouse to the right just a short wedge away. In summary, if I was visiting St. Andrews for six rounds, the Duke’s course would be on my list along with five of the obvious coastal names.
The Golf Course has a beautiful layout and offers amazing views over the bay of St. Andrews. The course is very well maintained. The Greens and Fairways were in an excellent condition. I am wondering why this Course ist not ranked higher in the Top 100 Courses list. The Course can be played by "normal players" or Pros. The Club-House offers 5 stars amenities and the staff assists in every possible way. There is an excellent menu that fulfils all the wishes of a hungry golfer plus when staying at the Old Course Hotel you can use the service of the "Golf-Steward". They drive you up to the Course and organize the Teetime. Hope that many more golfers are able to enjoy the Course the way I did. A true pleasure for every Golfer. It is a must play if you visit St. Andrews
My friends and I were blown away by The Dukes. We went there on a June night to sneak in a final nine before returning home to the US the next morning. As we had not heard much about the course our expectations were quite low- particularly as our rota had included courses like Dornoch, Trump, The Old Course, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns etc. The bunkering was beautiful and seemed to have touches of Pine Valley, Bethpage Black and Sunningdale. The conditioning was great and the course is one very long stiff test. The 35 pound twilight rate made it one of the best golf values I have ever seen. Visitors to St. Andrews who come here for links style golf, probably tend to miss the Dukes because of its parkland character and that is a pity. The views of the auld grey town give the place a unique atmosphere that should not be missed. I was not surprised to learn that they will be hosting the European Amateur next year.
Glad you enjoyed the Duke's - and you have made some great comparisons with world ranked courses. We are next visting in Oct 2013...
The Duke’s has moved up a number of notches in the Scottish listings since last year but some might still find it hard to believe there are four inland tracks in the country ranked higher than this place. Returning here just over a year since my last visit, the Duke’s enthralled me once again from start to finish. It’s such an expansive course on a massive property overlooking the “Grey Auld Toon” that you can easily become overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all – so choose your tees correctly and you’ll enjoy the fair challenge of a top track where the bold bunkering is quite simply the best that I have experienced in all of Scotland, bar none. It’s really unfair to single out any holes from such a strong card but the par three 8th is a terrific short hole, especially as it’s often so difficult to generate interest in an uphill par three. On the back nine, the par five 11th - where the two-tiered green sits behind an intimidating burn - is well worthy of its stroke index 1 classification. Our group of four were well catered for in the clubhouse with bacon butties before our round then soup and sandwiches afterwards so absolutely no complaints on that front from us. If you like your golf on a grand scale then the Duke’s is an absolute must play. Jim McCann.
I was a member of a 4 ball which played the Duke’s on Thursday, 12 July 2012. Played from the green tees due to the recent weather (non-stop rain) and this was a fair enough test for me (17 handicap). I liked the opening three holes which are a good variety of holes (par 5, then 4, then 3) but coming away at level par after 3 is perhaps enhancing my view of these holes!
Such a shame that the Scottish weather meant that the course was really soggy underfoot as it definitely dampened our spirits but there is no doubt that if the sun ever comes out for more than a day or two in Scotland, the Duke’s is a great course to experience. Navigating the bunkers and putting on true and fair greens was a joy and despite ending up with an awful score (due to imploding on the 9th – don’t miss the green on the left, whatever you do!) I would recommended the Duke’s to anyone who is looking for something a little different than the usual links golf in the St Andrews area. Complimentary range balls, free towels and power showers only add to the experience.
The only down-side was the restaurant. As we teed off at 2pm , by the time we finished our round and got changed it was nearing 6.45pm. They had stopped serving food in the Bar and Grill at 5.45pm leaving four tired and hungry golfers that would have spent a not inconsiderable sum over the following couple of hours on food and drink!!! Last orders at the bar were then announced at 8.45pm and we were ushered out of the door at 9pm. Thankfully a local chip shop on the way home came to our rescue but I was quite surprised and unimpressed at the Duke’s catering facilities given it was the peak of the golfing season. G Duncan
Often you return to play a course that you loved first time around and you leave wondering what all the fuss had been about. Occasionally, you will be so glad you came back because it more than surpassed your already high expectations. Well, my visit to the Duke’s yesterday - in all its yellow-gorsed majesty - falls comprehensively into the latter category. What an absolutely fantastic course! This is big time golf in a vast setting that will blow you away with ease if you’ll let it. It’s easy to see what the main intimidation factor is too – the bunkers. They’re not hidden so if you end up playing from sand, it’s because you failed to negotiate a known trap between tee and green. And these bunkers are not just holes in the ground filled with sand; as an earlier reviewer stated, they’re “miniature works of art” that I don’t mind telling you I spent lots of time during the round just admiring for their artistry. The routing of the two nines is also to be admired with several pleasing changes in elevation on both the outward and inward halves – the downhill 7th looks fantastic from the back tee whilst the uphill 15th is another wonderful par four hole. At this moment in time, the Top100 website has seven non links courses in Scotland ranked higher than this place but I can tell you now that all bar two, possibly three, of those layouts do not come anywhere near the stature of the Duke’s. Our 3-ball availed itself of the club’s special Tuesday twilight green fee between 3pm and 5pm – the best £35 I have parted with in a long time. If you get the chance to take up this offer yourself you will walk off the 18th, albeit a little weary from the walk on a long, demanding course, but with the biggest smile on your face, knowing you have picked up the best bargain that any golfer will find at any of the top Scottish tracks this year. Jim McCann
The Dukes Course St Andrews Where to start, I remember my first time in St Andrews listening to people in the bars talking about the Old Course the New course, Kingsbarns etc, but never heard anyone talking about The Dukes. It’s situated 2 miles inland up high overlooking this wonderful golfing town. I know these reviews are based on the experience of playing the courses but my review will be different, it’ll be based on me being out there on the course every day as a greenkeeper, a position i took up 3 years ago. I will start with the Clubhouse. Most golf courses like the Dukes have a balcony of some sort that looks out to watch your fellow golfers ending there rounds of golf. We have that and more, we overlook the 9th and 18 greens which are surrounded by various different types of heathers and more so the large and dangerous old style bunkers. The rough and ragged edges make them a must see style bunker which they say are a replica of the bunkers back in the day when golf began. Apart from that it also looks down to the town of St Andrews and far out into the east of the North Sea, a truly excellent and memorable view. The course itself is, well to sum it up i will use a quote from a golfer which approached me out on the course 1 day “this course is a hidden gem and a very very special place” you might all read this and say yeah I’m bias but until you see and play the Dukes you will never understand. I talked about the bunkers and many golfers hate the site of them but they kind of make the Dukes the golf course it is, with every hole and every bunker totally different each shot requires full concentration and a great imagination, tree lined holes dog legs ponds etc the Dukes has everything. Then there’s the magic about the place, not only the amazing views, holes etc its the nature, the setting and the sounds, i mean I’ve seen myself sitting on my machine out in the course somewhere looking around listening to the trees the nature and the golfers having a wonderful experience. As i said its 1 of Europe’s courses that out there somewhere and just waiting to be played. Again i know i work here but wanted to get a different point of view across. It really does tick all the boxes of a wonderful day out. Play the Dukes and you wont regret it.
Could not agree more - the improvements to the drainage and the bunkers have made a huge difference and it is a great course. If you cannot get on the Old Course or Kingsbarns miss the Castle course out and come here instead.
I play a lot of golf around the world and can honestly say that you overlook the Dukes at your peril if you visit Scotland a miss the chance of a round here.
Putting aside the drop dead gorgeous setting, the course itself is rarely busy and can allow you a relaxed round on what I would describe as an undiscovered masterpiece from the legendary Peter Thompson.
Starting at the first, each hole delivers a vista that helps you to start the process of plotting your way down its length - what you see is literally what you get however, stray from the fairway and you will be offered challenges. Thoses challenges are broadly fair and in proportion to the level of your errors - the further into the rough you go the harsher your job to extracate yourself.
Bunkers - you can't help but love the fairway bunkers on the Dukes, even if you are not a master in the sand as each is a miniture work of art. They are not so much sculptured from, as woven into the land surrounding the hazard itself. The majority are surrounded by tussocks of rough grasses and heathers that force the sensible golfer to make sure he reaches the fairway rather than try to blast forward carelessly.
When at last you reach the green you are treated to some fantastic surfaces that ripple and undulate giving you real cause for celebration should you manage to sink a 30 foot snake - they are challenging but, the qualifty of the greens equates to a feeling of having played & been fairly tested with your flatstick.
Once your round is complete you can guarantee that the welcome you will get from the bar staff is second to none and the stories that you'll swap on the terrace overlooking the 18th will be some of the best remembered of your golfing life as the Dukes is a class act that takes some beating.
Stay for the food too -as the chef is a master whose skills in the kitchen match those of Mr Thompson on the course. The sticky toffee pudding is one of the best I've ever tasted.
Wow. This course is fantastic! The bunkers are unreal, very much like the castle course. The greens ran very true and incredibly fast for the time of year. Some of the holes are stunning like the par 3 third, played completely over a huge bunker. The only problem i had with the course was the long walks between some of the tees, primarily the 9th - 10th walk, although this is just a minor problem. It is a great course, well worth playing.
The Duke’s. Now, I don’t know where Duke’s come in the royal league table? If Her Maj at Buck House is Premier League then a Duke could be Vauxhall Conference in comparison, I don’t know? What I do know is that The Duke’s course at St Andrews is a majestic course, fit for a King. It is a wonderful course in fabulous condition but I warn you it is not for the faint of heart. The Duke’s is no stroll in the park it is vast in the Gleneagles PGA and Spey Valley mode so take my advice, take a buggy, conserve your energy for your shots you will enjoy the experience a whole lot more. At such a noble place you would expect a degree of elegance well that is exactly what you get. The locker rooms are very luxurious. HRH Andy Windsor has his own locker. (I have just realised that I have called 2 members of the Royal Family, Her Maj and Andy Windsor, I hope that I don’t get locked in The Tower for that). If I can impart one part of advice it is stay on the short stuff the bunkers are absolutely brutal. I spent so much time in them, I am qualified for a part in any future productions of Laurence of Arabia. I would honestly struggle to name a best or signature hole because they are all outstanding. From your first drive to your last putt you are always on your toes. So, if you want a game in St Andrews but don’t fancy the hullabaloo of the Old Course, take yourself inland for a monarchical experience at the Duke’s. Don’t forget to book your Bob Hope mobile and saver this imperious golf course which deserves its regal status. MPPJ
Make no mistake this is a ‘big’ golf course which I found to be very challenging. Course was in good condition, enjoyed the relaxing club house and attentive staff. Only criticism of the course would be that the nine’s are the wrong way round in my opinion but definitely worth a visit from the links down the road.
St. Andrews has more than its fair share of links and links-like courses in and along the coast from the town so the Duke’s is actually a pleasant change from that sort of golf in the area. Situated a couple of miles in from the Eden estuary, on elevated ground overlooking St.Andrews, the course has been given a recent make over, with closing holes rerouted, a couple of greens relaid and bunkers upgraded throughout. This is golf on a grand scale and the course can play to 7512 yards from the back tees - with a Standard Scratch Score of five over the par of 71! It’s tough enough from the regular tees mind you, and the walks from green to next tee will also test your stamina, so don’t expect to come for a stroll in the park as there’s some serious golf to be played here. The Duke’s has a very mature feel to it even though it has only been in operation for a little over ten years and the bunkers - some of them really enormous - are as fearsome, though visually stimulating, as I have ever seen anywhere. The Scottish Amateur Strokeplay Championship was held here a few weeks ago and I’m sure the SGU would have been very pleased with the condition of the course (and as their new HQ is literally next door, they would have been well aware of what was to face competitors). The Duke’s is easily amongst the top half dozen inland courses in Scotland and deserves to be ranked higher than some of the other pretenders. Jim McCann
The Duke's course is a different experience to the links courses of St Andrews. The Duke's is 2 miles inland and is a heathland course with many comparisons in style and presentation to Gleneagles. Still slightly new it needs to mature as a course but the setting and layout (particuarly front nine) is stunning. We all really enjoyed the golf and it was a nice variation to the main event (the Old course).
18 July 2008
You obviously struggled and had a bad round. To say theres not much holes to write home about you must then come from a fantasy golf course because theres spectacular holes 3 6 13 16 and also beautiful views. Its a real test of golf. Maybe you should take up chess or somthing because the dukes will be 1 of the top golf courses in britain once it matures.
17 August 2010
I have joined the Dukes this summer and don't have a bad word to say about the course. This is a course where you will get an very accurate idea of what your handicap really is, and get an idea of the standard of courses that will be played on the PGA tour, particularly off the black tees. Being the sister course of Whislting Straits, Kohler hosted a charity even with the likes of Els, Singh, Montgomerie, and Clarke who struggled on some holes! Stunning views, usually very quiet and luxurios. I feel privelaged to be a member. The Dukes does not recieve the publicity and credit it deserves. Probably the best course I have played in terms of difficluty and variation.
I've always loved the Dukes and was surprised and dsiappointed to hear it's undergone major surgery recently. It didn't need this as the original Peter Thomson design was perfect - a links feel, bunkering and layout in an inland setting. In its first incarnation I rated the Dukes very highly.
I’ve played the Duke’s a couple of times now, once in the Spring and once in the Autumn and each time the condition was fabulous and each time it was like playing millionaire’s golf… we pretty much had the course to ourselves. Depending on which tees you choose, there’s plenty of opportunity to take the driver out and have a swish. I liked the variation and there are some interesting and challenging holes. I particularly liked the 18th which is a great closing hole. Views across the town are stunning too. On each occasion we walked the course and found it not too much of a problem, but there are plenty of carts available. Well worth playing.