The Eden course does not immediately come to mind as a “destination course” for those on golf trips to St Andrews. The start of the course is a twenty-minute walk from the center of town, so visitors rarely stumble across the Eden. However, if you have played the Old Course, you have seen the Eden course to the right of the 13th and 14th holes. Like a number of other St Andrews Links courses, the Eden does not receive the credit it is due.
Harry Colt designed the Eden Course, which was opened in 1914. As with many Colt designs, the short course layout requires strategy to score well. Due to expansion of the St Andrews Links in the late 1980s, Donald Steel was brought in to re-design a number of holes on the Eden. Three holes were lost to creation of the driving range, and additional land was acquired to add to the back nine. The result of all this work is an enjoyable characterful course, which is less challenging than the New, Jubilee, or Old courses.
|The St Andrews Eden Clubhouse|
Hole #1 - 326 Yards
The first hole of the Eden course has one of my favorite greens on any of the St Andrews Links courses. The two-tiered green has large slopes, and is framed by a stone wall behind the putting surface. The hole was a par 3 in the original layout.
This long par 4 borders the Old Course on the right and the green sits on a natural plateau. A large swale runs along the front of the green, causing havoc on approach shots.
The approach shot into the 3rd hole is fairly nondescript, but the green has a slight dome shape, and reading putts can be deceptively difficult.
The drivable 4th hole is a favorite of many who play the golf course. Depending on the wind, the hole is in reach for many golfers. The Eden estuary borders the right side of the hole and is visually intimidating. It can be very difficult to hold balls on the raised dome green in firm and fast conditions.
The 5th is one of two very strong par 3s on the front nine. The green is set into a nook, which is surrounded on three sides by slopes and gorse. The two-tiered green requires accuracy to avoid three putts.
The photo above is taken from 100 yards out. The green falls off to the right, with bunkers guarding the right edge. Err left with approach shots, but anything too far left will end on the beach.
The 10th green is nearly 40 yards deep, and the surface slopes heavily back to front. Distance control is valuable on this approach shot, as very long putts are common.
The real interest with the 11th hole lies in the green complex, which is viewed from the 12th tee in the photo above. The raised sloping green is guarded by bunkers in front and a stone wall in the rear.
Holes 12-15 are not particularly strong. They are flat, and oddly, there is a lake that features on the 14th and 15th holes. The lake looks unnatural on the links land. The photo above is taken from 125 yards out on the 14th hole.
The 15th green is fairly flat, and the lake doesn't come into play for any approach shots that reach at least green-high.
The long par 5 16th is no slouch, and layups are affected by rolling slopes and bunkers in the fairway. The green is challenging in its own right, with subtle slopes wreaking havoc on putting lines.
The green on the 17th hole is shaped like an hour glass, and a single bunker sits on the left side. A myriad of difficult pin positions are possible on the 17th green.
The final hole of the Eden course is a dogleg left. A 3-wood or long iron leaves a short iron or wedge into the large green. Strategic positioning in the fairway is crucial in order to set up the correct angle into this green.