St Andrew’s and the Modern Game of 2020s

I’m writing this because current US Open champion Matthew Fitzpatrick says he dislikes the old girl. I’d like to hear some realistic opinions. Here’s a few of my thoughts. I believe St Andrew’s is a beast of a course. St Andrew’s biggest defense is the weather. No wind, no defense. The luck or lack of on a bounce, well, that’s golf. Bobby Jones hated St Andrew’s until later in his career (which wasn’t very long) when he learned to truly appreciate what Tom Morris did to create what we see today from the original. It’s not the modern player or the modern equipment. It’s the modern ball. We have to fix the modern ball. Once golf learns that once we dial that back all of the classic layouts will become relevant again. I mean I’m maxxed out around 6400 yds at 63 years old. Seeing courses at 7500 yds is ridiculous. Hitting 8 irons 200 yards is ridiculous. That used to be a 5 iron for a professional player. Once the ball gets dialed back, we will see relevancy for many courses.


It depends on the set up and the condition of the golf course when the tournament is played.
This year the condition is quite mild for the Tournament. No gale forced wind and no stormy weather.
The modern day “spoiled”, so called professionals want carpet like fairway; designated landing area. Where the Old Course will have the rub of the green; undulating bumpy landing which could send a perfect tee shot rolling into the tall rough or the receiving fairway bunker.
I would compare the “ideal modern day” golf course to the Old Course using the example of auto racing with the Indianapolis 500 Vs. the Formula One.
Which one runs on an oval track over and over, vs. the Formula One which charted through existing highway and city streets.
One going fast on the same loop and one has the course plotted out so the drivers have to memorize and be a thinking driver. It demands a lot more than just making 4 turns.
If a so called professional golfer does not prefer the likes of the Old Course, then, skills aside, they are not a real golfer.
Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus and many before and after them all kind of disliked the Old Course in the beginning, then gradually they grew into liking and loving the Old Course.
Then again, many of us could not tell the difference between a Prime, Choice or Select cut of beef. Or could not tell a nice reserved bottle of wine to a bottle of table table wine.
As Ben Hogan said, if one keeps his mouth shut, then others might not tell how knowledgeable or ignorant one is.

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I haven’t checked to be sure, but weren’t there a couple of drivable Par-4s today? As in, more than 1? I mean, congrats to Cam for his short game—the recovery on the Road Hole was great—but multiple drivable Par 4s makes me think that you might want to do something about the ball. As Mike noted upthread, and guys like Jack have been saying for years.

Maybe a dimple pattern that makes drag skyrocket at over 190 MPH relative wind? Or be happy with big hitters being allowed to drop a shot on some holes, I dunno.

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Well, congratulations to Cam. -20 wins. I do believe the best golfer won and should be the Champion Golfer of the year. Rory had 36 putts, you don’t win championships making 36 putts in the final round. Ol mullet man has been the best player all year along with Scheffler. It ended up being a putting contest. They asked TDub what he thought. He said if Rory birdies the 2 par 5s and Birdies 9 & 10 with no bogeys that should have been good enough to win. Cam is the best putter going this year. Almost everything boils down to that to post a score anytime. Even though the bombers were up there, it boiled down to draining putts. A long time ago, a Tour player told me short game is everything. I don’t care what anyone tells you. He used to have a standing bet with top amateurs that he would play his game from the tee and you would hit every green in regulation no more than 25 ft from every hole. He cashed alot of checks with that bet. Only thing was he got to place the ball on every green. No one ever came close to breaking par and he would fire anything from a 67 to 73 and cash out. It’s short game and putting. I thought St Andrew’s held up very well, the best player for the week won and I still think the ball needs to be dialed down a bit.


The rules for conforming of the C.O.R. of golf balls should be re-exam.
The current number does not govern the swing speed at the very top end.
Granted, the higher swing speed should be rewarded with the advantage of more distance ]. However, when extra 5 MPH created more distance percentage wise than the next level is unfair. It shouldn’t be difficult to figure it out with the modern tools in aid to research, to calculate.
The theory of two different types of golf balls for sanctioned tournaments and recreational golfers would be questionable.
Keep in mind, the weekend golfers would like to believe that they can play the game like the professionals by using the same equipment ( a day dream as we all know it but, a nice fantasy ).
K.I.S.S. just change the rules governing the conforming the C.O.R. for golf balls.
I also believe the limit of the physical ability for human is near peaked.
Some of these old golf courses can still be valid to host modern competition. They can keep the rough taller, narrower landing spots, additional potential penalty for those trying to drive the short par 4 and missed the green…
If the cost of missing the drive to the short par 4 is at least 2 shots, then, player will not take it lightly for making the decision to drive the green.

Topic of interest to me because as I write this, I’m in a hotel room on Murray Park about three blocks from the first tee. I’m not playing the Old Course on this trip–I’m a solo, and other than waiting at the starter’s hut to see if a spot opens up, there’s no longer an easy way to get on playing as a single because the ballot now requires a group of two or more–but I’ve played twice. The first time, in 1998, I played with a very good amateur who qualified for the British Amateur at Muirfield that year who drove the green on the par 4 10th from 340 yards so tooday’s prodigious lengths are not a new concern.

There is no question that St. Andrews can be an easy test when the weather is quiet, but I just downloaded an ebook from Shot Scope about St. Andrews that rates Royal Troon and Royal St. George’s as easier courses. As Tiger showed in 2000, the Old Course can be an exceptionally easy test if you just avoid the bunkers–which hardly anyone ever does. Hit one of those bunkers and the odds are good that a golfer, even at the PGA Tour level, has lost a shot and may be thinking more about just getting out rather than advancing the ball to the green.

I think Rory got clobbered by an exceptionally hot putter in Cam in the final round. He was tied for the lead four clear, probably figured that Hovland would wither as he did, and adopted a conservative game plan. Shoot two under par with a four-shot lead in a normal pro event? I’ll guarantee you most third-round leaders would be happy with that strategy.

Where Rory may have miscalculated was failing to pay attention to the golfers that went out ahead of him as low scores were the order of the day. He might have wanted to adjust his strategy to be a bit more agressive on several holes. Nevertheless, Rory was in it to the last, playing 17 almost as well as he could have with the exception of his missed putt–and from that distance, no gimme. But if you are facing a golfer who’s dropping every putt, there’s no strategy that will work short of your starting to hit every putt as well, and in that regard, it wasn’t Rory’s day.


Perhaps more protection around the green would make the long hitting golfers think twice before trying to go for the green. Make the misses tougher to recover will be the goal. In general, golfers ( professional or recreational ) are more fit because those who usually participate in other sports are attracted to the game of golf. The would be rugby, baseball, succor… players are golfing now.
You are the lucky few who had been to these golf courses where most only seen them in video or pictures.
Not sure if it’s the attraction of the price money involved or the growing on the media coverage. It used to view anyone over 6’ tall will not swing a golf club well… now, everyone on the top 20 is over 6’ and 190-210 lb. fit as a fiddle.
The old formula was the longer hitter who thinks will win the golf tournaments. The change in the equipment and the golfer changed the game. Put more teeth back to the golf golf course design will make the game between the two ears more important other than just hitting the golf ball long.
BTW, not just the birth place of this game; our local public golf courses also do not allow a single to book a tee time. Singles golfer will be on a waiting list, walk in only. Sometimes I had to wait for over an hour to get to the first tee. The longest time I stayed on the waiting list was close to 2 hours; got some practice in for my short game around the practice green.

I don’t have a problem with them driving Greens on some par 4’s. There still weren’t that many birdies and if it was all power and no brains Bryson wouldn’t be on the LIV tour, he would instead be winning majors.

So let some run across the greens from 340 yards, whilst others lay up and look to stick their chips closer. More that one way to play golf and most of them are entertaining.


It is getting kind of silly though. What, were there something like seven drivable holes this go around, or something equally as ridiculous?

I really, really want to like Bryson. I just think he can’t get out of his own way, and hasn’t had enough Fred Shoemaker and Adam Young to be comfortable with all the stuff you can’t control.

I played the Old Course a long time ago (Oct, 89) and had one of those days where the game was good and you could play it optimally. Plus, by the luck of the draw I got the legendary caddie Jimmie Bowman. The conditions were very benign with a good warm day and winds <10. So, I probably have rose colored glasses about the course. You must totally put yourself in the hands of your looper. If you are 210 yards away and he says hit a 6 iron because it will roll 40 yards you do it. I couldn’t make myself hit it over the right letter on the train shed on 17 and hit it into deep rough to the left. if there is such a thing as a good double that was it. It’s semi spiritual day to be there but you have to put yourself in the hands of the caddie. 73 with that double on 17.
To the point of the thread, in benign conditions, I’m not sure the course holds up but with weather as a protection, it seems to in the Opens and the Dunhill

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Just out of curiosity, what was the tip to the caddy in relationship to the green fee back in those days?
I’m certain a larger than normal tip was in order for the great day and a nice 73?

Too far back for me to remember the green fee but we took care of Jimmie quite nicely including a few wee drams of Scotland’s finest at a pub within walking distance. Well more than the standard.

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