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'Only Westminster Abbey is holier': Best quotes about St. Andrews' Old Course

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The Old Course at St Andrews, also known as the Old Lady or the Grand Old Lady, is considered the oldest golf course in the world — icon in and of itself. 

“The Home of Golf” has played host to The Open, golf’s oldest major, a record 29 times, and The 150th Open could prove to be the greatest edition of the tournament yet.

Rooted in history and dripping in nostalgia, golf’s greatest players have tried to put into words their love for St Andrews over the years. Here are some of their most notable quotes:

“I want to thank nature for making this golf course.” – Ben Crenshaw

“I was never angry at St. Andrews, only puzzled and a bit bewildered. I think I began to see her as a wise old lady, whimsically tolerant of my impatience, but all the while ready to reveal to me the secrets of her complex being, if only I would take the trouble to study and to learn.” – 1927 Open Champion at St. Andrews Bobby Jones

“I could take out of my life everything except my experiences at St. Andrews, and I would still have had a rich and full life.” – Bobby Jones in 1958

“It’s a wonderful experience to go about a town where people wave at you from doorways and windows, where strangers smile and greet you by name, often your first name, and where a simple and direct courtesy is the outstanding characteristic.” – Bobby Jones


Snead
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“The only place in Britain that’s holier is Westminster Abbey.” – 1946 Open Champion at St. Andrews Sam Snead

“What do I think of St Andrews? It’s like going to Scotland to visit your sick grandmother. She’s old and she’s crotchety and she’s eccentric. But look real close and my, isn’t she dignified and elegant? I sincerely believe anyone who doesn’t fall in love with her is totally lacking in imagination.” – 1964 Open Champion at St. Andrews Tony Lema

“If you’re going to be a player people will remember, you have to win the Open at St. Andrews.” – 1970 & 1978 Open Champion at St. Andrews Jack Nicklaus

“St. Andrews is what the game really means. Almost all the great golfers have played the Old Course, and the course has always demanded strong golf. I wanted to be part of St. Andrews. I wanted to win on the Old Course.” – Jack Nicklaus

“Victory anywhere is always sweet, but to win at St. Andrews is so special it rises above everything else.” – 1984 Open Champion at St. Andrews Seve Ballesteros


Tiger Woods raises the claret jug at the 2000 Open Championship
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“This is as special as it gets. The home of golf. This is something you dream about. All players that want to win The Open Championship, automatically you go right to St. Andrews. This is it. This is as good as it gets.” – 2000 & 2005 Open Champion at St. Andrews Tiger Woods

“The more you play it, the more you learn about the course and its nuances, the more you learn to appreciate it. Now it’s my favorite golf course in the world.” – 2014 Open Champion Rory McIlroy, who didn’t like the course at first

“As somebody who loves the game of golf, with this being the home of golf, you can’t help but feel emotion and feel this sense of spirituality come over you as you play this course, knowing that this is where the game began.” – 2013 Open Champion Phil Mickelson

“This is the origin of the game. Golf in its purest form, and it’s still played that way on a course seemingly untouched by time.” – 1961 & 1962 Open Champion Arnold Palmer

“I doubt if even in a hundred years’ time a course will be made which has such interesting strategic problems and which creates such enduring and increasingly pleasurable excitement and varied shots.” – Alister MacKenzie

“It is a course that tries men’s souls. It is peculiar by modern standards: hidden bunkers, unforgiving winds and heather, unexpected bounces, double putting greens for 14 of the 18 holes – that is, two holes are cut in each of seven huge greens, the largest almost an acre. A fascinating course. If you don't come to love it, you probably don’t understand it.” – Joseph C. Dey

“There is only one “Sinandrooz,” as the Scots pronounce the sacred town. If you love golf, you really do find its truest flavor and spirit in St. Andrews and on the Old Course.” – Herbert Warren Wind


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“As long as a man has to go for a walk on a golf course, there is hardly a better place than straight up the last fairway at St. Andrews, where one is surrounded by 500 years of history and embraced by the buildings of the old town itself.” – Dan Jenkins

“In the beginning knew no architect but nature, it came into being by evolution rather than design and on no other course is the hand of man less evident.” – Pat Ward-Thomas

“About that course golfers so often change their views. They come to pray, remain for a short while to scoff, and then come back again another time to pray forever.” – Bernard Darwin

“In a word, the fine golf course offers rewards for the duffer’s limited skill; the moderate player senses exciting possibilities; the good player a constant challenge; and the great player knows that only when he is consistently at his best can he hope to conquer it.” – Alistair Cooke