Mailbag Extra: Where to stay in St. Andrews

By Brandon TuckerJanuary 29, 2014, 5:38 pm

Recently on Morning Drive, Matt Ginella answered viewer travel questions, including best places to stay in St. Andrews. Brandon Tucker chimes in with some more details on staying in the birthplace of golf: 

I've been fortunate enough to stay and play golf in St. Andrews more times than anyone really should before they turn 30, and I've had the pleasure of staying at a different hotel every time. A big reason why St. Andrews is such a great base camp for golf groups is that it's not a large, busy city like nearby Edinburgh, but the town is much more alive all year round compared to smaller Scottish towns like Dornoch or Gullane. You can stay out all night (like Bill Murray has been known to do) with the college kids if you're up for it. Here's where I have stayed -- and I recommend them all:

Ginella answers mailbag questions on Scotland and Phoenix

Fairmont St. Andrews: Just up the road a couple miles from the town center, Fairmont St. Andrews is the only true golf resort in the area, set on 520 acres with 36 holes onsite, plus a huge practice facility. It has the amenities the smaller hotels in town don't, like a full spa and indoor pool. The two golf courses, both modern links designs, offer a unique perspective of the Medieval skyline.

Old Course Hotel: There are a lot of great hotels in St. Andrews, but only one can boast a property that actually comes into play on the Old Course. I had a balcony room overlooking the 17th fairway for a couple nights. The view is one-of-a-kind (so is the new balcony bar they opened a few years back). This Kohler-operated hotel features 5-star dining and a luxury spa, but what I remember most is the darn good club sandwich I had after my round on the Old Course next door at the Jigger Inn (also run by Kohler).


Guest rooms at the Old Course Hotel have a front row seat to Road Hole action in St. Andrews. 

Macdonald Rusacks Hotel I'll hold Rusacks near and dear to my heart because it was the first hotel I stayed in while in St. Andrews and I was fortunate to get the Young Tom Morris Suite, complete with a balcony overlooking the 18th green. Having a front row seat to the 18th green and first tee (and all the nerves and follies that accompany just an hour of viewing groups from this perch) is special in itself. But it's also a MacDonald Hotel group 4-star hotel with a fantastic breakfast, bar and dining area overlooking the course. The property is also a comfortable, midsize scale compared to the Old Course Hotel and Fairmont St. Andrews.

Six Murray Park: Just a street over from the 18th green is Six Murray Park, a small, very affordable guest house right in the heart of town. I rented a single room in this 9-room, Victorian Townhouse that's been entirely updated inside. My narrow room came with a twin bed, modern furnishings and a hearty Scottish breakfast in the morning. These guest houses are great because of the personalized service. If you have large, budget-conscious group with you, consider renting out a whole guest house like this one rather than occupy a handful rooms at a larger hotel.

As for golf in St. Andrews, you know where to start: the Old Course and Kingsbarns. But a couple area courses that fly a little under the radar but are personal favorites of mine s are the St. Andrews Jubilee Course and Crail's Balcomie Links, while I also really like the scenery and hole variety at the more modern Kittocks Course at Fairmont St. Andrews.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.

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Wie takes shot at LPGA dress code in crop top

By Grill Room TeamDecember 10, 2017, 5:33 pm

The new LPGA dress code got mixed reviews when it was announced in July, and Michelle Wie is taking full advantage of her offseason with no restrictions.

The 28-year-old former U.S. Women's Open champion is keeping her game sharp while back in her home state of Hawaii, but couldn't help taking a shot at the rules while doing it, posting a photo to Instagram of her playing golf in a crop top with the caption, "Offseason = No dress code fine."

Offseason = No dress code fines #croptopdroptop

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Wie isn't the first to voice her displeasure with the rules. Lexi Thompson posted a similar photo and caption to Instagram shortly after the policy was announced.