Guided Walks of the Old Course: Tales of a tour guide

Our tours of the world’s most famous Links offers insights into the iconic landmarks and history that is both unique and unparalleled. Walking you through this journey are our guides whose knowledge of the fabled course and surroundings is hard to beat. We caught up with three of our guides; Charlie, Jim and Jimmy S, to get their thoughts on three simple questions.

  • What do you like about your job and what inspires you to do it?

Charlie: I have an opportunity to share my knowledge of the Old Course and the history of golf in St Andrews. I get very enthusiastic with questions and endeavour to give the best answer I can. There’s so much job satisfaction meeting with people who have an interest in all things golf and history.

Jim: When I retired, I found that any time I was down near the 18th green, tourists frequently asked me a variety of questions which I enjoyed answering. Now being paid to do it is a bonus! The main attraction of the job is that I get to meet people from all around the world, and share in their enthusiasm for just being on the Old Course.

Jimmy S: It’s a privilege to welcome all ages of visitors from many countries and not all of them on the tour actually play golf. My wife is also delighted to have me out of the house for a few hours!

  • What’s your favourite memory/anecdote from a tour you’ve given?

Charlie: A rather selfish recollection but it was when an American gentleman told me he was a policeman and wanted to give me a medal from his local police station commemorating his years of service. I now use it as my ball marker and it has become a topic of conversation every time I play.

Jim: Once on the Swilcan Bridge, a young man asked his girl to pose for a photograph, then in front of everyone on the tour he bravely asked her to marry him. I think he was pretty confident she would say “yes” as it all ended happily. Another was a former US caddie on a tour told me that he once caddied for the CEO of a white goods manufacturer who gave him his company’s catalogue at the end of the round and told him to choose anything he wanted. He chose a huge fridge-freezer costing hundreds of dollars!

Jimmy S: On a tour, a lady exclaimed “My son went to the Old Pavilion at 5.30 this morning hoping to get a game and right now he’s approaching the 17th green!” There was much rejoicing!

  • Why should someone take the tour?

Charlie: I think people should take the tour to gain knowledge of this fascinating place and take it back to where they are from and share with others. Perhaps one day those others will then enjoy a tour. I am sure many people who know of St Andrews do not realise the unique history of the place. Whilst the tour offers great insights, it’s impossible to cover all the rich history of the place but we try!

Jim: Not only will they have done something interesting on their holiday in Scotland, they should have enough information about the Old Course to impress all their friends and relations, especially when The Open returns in 2021.

Jimmy S: St Andrews is a venerable Scottish town. History speaks from the Old Course, the cobbled streets and from the ruins of our castle and cathedral. You don’t have to be a golfer in order to enjoy our tours!

Find out more about our Guided Walks of the Old Course here.

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