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.

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Rose hoping for FedEx/Ryder Cup party on Sunday

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2018, 8:41 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Justin Rose is hoping for the biggest party of all on Sunday night.

With the quick turnaround with the Ryder Cup, the newly crowned FedExCup champion hasn’t had much time to celebrate his season-long title that he earned Sunday at the Tour Championship.

“The FedExCup, for me, it finished on the plane,” Rose said Wednesday. “I enjoyed the plane ride over, but once I landed in Paris, I was one of 12 guys. I didn’t want it to carry over into this week. This week is about another job to do.”

Rose said his Ryder Cup teammates have resorted to the usual tactics – “Apparently all the drinks are on my tab this week,” he joked – but just as Team USA may have used a boost with Tiger Woods winning, the Europeans can take confidence in having the FedExCup champion on their side.

As for any premature celebrations, Rose said: “I can shelve that for another week or so. I will certainly enjoy it. It’s kind of a season-long title that you really want to enjoy. But I’d like to maybe start that party on Sunday night and here for the right reasons, because of this week.”

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Even as youngest Euro, Rahm has no trouble fitting in

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2018, 8:30 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Many times Ryder Cup rookies are seen but not heard, blending into the background while the veterans lead.

Jon Rahm is not one of those rookies.

The youngest player on the European Ryder Cup team – by three years – the gregarious 23-year-old has been particularly active in the team’s group chat.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised at Jon’s input into it,” said Rory McIlroy, who will likely be paired with Rahm at some point at Le Golf National.

“To see how much he wants this and how he cares about the Ryder Cup and how proud he is to be European and Spanish and to really be a part of this, it’s been really cool to see. I wasn’t quite as vocal in my first Ryder Cup as he’s been, but I wasn’t as good a player my first Ryder Cup as he is.”

Rahm seemed surprised that his healthy amount of input caught McIlroy’s attention – “I’m just being myself,” he said – but he quickly has learned how to fit in with the rest of his teammates.

By poking fun at himself.

After a Tuesday practice round with McIlroy during which he said he was outdriven by about 50 yards, Rahm retired to the physio table for some acupuncture treatment.

“Because of jetlag, I was completely asleep,” Rahm said. “So Rory, he decided it was a perfect time to take a picture of me in my underwear and post it in the chat and say I couldn’t handle him hitting it past me every single drive. Obviously you have to protect yourself and respond to something like that, and I said whatever came to mind.”

With Rahm’s passion and outgoing nature, he’s sure to be one of Europe’s most vocal players, even as the least experienced.

“At first I was a little bit hesitant on what to say,” he said. “I didn’t want to piss anybody off, but once I realized what the tone was going to be, within 30 seconds, OK, here we go, it’s pretty much freewheel to say what you want to anybody, which is obviously a great thing because we all have a lot of fun.”

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Slump over? Sergio had 'very positive week' in Portugal

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2018, 8:14 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Sergio Garcia’s late commitment to the Portugal Masters may have given him the boost he needed for the Ryder Cup.

After failing to qualify for the PGA Tour’s FedExCup playoffs, Garcia told European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn that he’d add the European Tour event in Portugal if he were selected to the team as a wildcard pick.

Garcia made good on his promise, and last week he tied for seventh – his best worldwide finish since March.

“I was very pleased the way I played,” he said. “I think I played very, very nicely throughout the whole week, which was nice. It felt like it was a very positive week.”

There hadn’t been many positive weeks throughout the year for Garcia, who has slipped from 10th to 28th in the world rankings. The 2017 Masters champion missed the cut in all four majors and struggled with inconsistency.

Still, Garcia was selected to the European team, and Bjorn often cited Garcia’s intangibles – his familiarity with foursomes, his presence in the team room – in justifying his pick.

Even Garcia conceded Wednesday that his selection had more to do with experience than form.

“That’s probably, to be totally honest, one of the reasons why the vice captains and the captain decided to have me on the team,” he said, “not only for what I can bring on the golf course, but what I can bring outside.”

Garcia may have found the spark that his game desperately needed. Six of his past eight rounds have been in the 60s, and he has shot a combined 27 under par during those two starts.

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McIlroy: Tiger is just one of 12 at Ryder Cup

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2018, 7:59 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Tiger Woods might be the biggest star in golf, but Rory McIlroy views him as just one of 12 this week at the Ryder Cup.

“We’re not looking at any individuals,” he said Wednesday. “We’re just trying to beat the U.S. team. It’s great what he did on Sunday. But to focus on one player is silly, especially when I might not even see him this week at any point this week because I mightn’t be on the course with him or play against him. …

“We’re looking to beat the U.S. team. We’re not looking to just beat Tiger Woods.”

McIlroy had a front-row seat to Woods’ first victory in more than five years on Sunday. Playing in the final group at the Tour Championship, McIlroy struggled with his driver en route to a final-round 74 and disappointing tie for seventh.

Asked whether there was any element of intimidation at East Lake, McIlroy replied: “That East Lake rough was really tough, yeah. That was the most intimidating part about it. Started hitting a few drives left and right early, and I didn’t actually have quite a good view from the trees on Sunday. I couldn’t really see what was happening too much.”