The Torrance Course at Fairmont St Andrews, set out on spectacular cliffs overlooking the town, is a beautiful but tough test of golf.
Measuring 7,230 yards, with a par of 72 (USGA slope of 74.8/138, CONGU S.S.S 75) it was a qualifying venue for the 2010 Open Championship and has hosted several prestigious events on both the professional and amateur circuits.
The layout was designed by former Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance and is noted for its large, undulating greens and classic Scottish revetted bunker complexes. It opened for play in 2001 and has matured into a hard-running links in the traditional Scottish style.
The course opens with a fairly straightforward par 4 and gets considerably tougher at the 2nd, a par 4 of more than 500 yards from the competition tees with a wickedly sloping green. The 3rd is an interesting strategic par 5 with water flanking the right-hand-side of the fairway, while the 4th is a classic short par 4 – the green may seem in reach for long hitters but clever bunkering will punish any thoughtless tee shot.
The course’s first par 3 comes at the 5th, which plays to a green split in two by a big hump in the middle. The 6th is an exacting, uphill par 5 and the 7th is an interesting par 4. Measuring just 320 yards from the tips, the split fairway offers an easy lay up for conservative players and a risky chance to go for the green for the more adventurous. The short 8th is dominated by a small pot bunker at the front of the green and the downhill 9th is memorable for the spectacular coastal views it offers from the tee.
The back nine is considerably longer than the front side. The long 10th is a testing par 4 followed by the par 3 11th, where the pin positions can be brutally tough. The 12th is a 556 yard par 5 to a green which is protected at the front by a snaking burn and the 13th is another long par 4 to a large green where correct clubbing is crucial. Any short approaches to the par 4 14th will be swallowed up by the burn which guards the green and, while the short par 4 15th might seem to offer a little respite, it boasts perhaps the trickiest green on the course. Most players ignore the flag and aim for the middle of the putting surface.
The 16th plays down towards the clifftops and the par 3 17th plays alongside them, to spectacular effect. The 18th is an uphill par 5 to an amphitheatre green. It’s an eagle opportunity but any approach which lands left of the target will end up in a card-wrecking wilderness of gorse and bracken.
Both the Torrance Course and the neighbouring Fairmont Kittocks Course (an interesting test in its own right) have a reputation for being in great condition year-round and for boasting some of the best practice facilities to be found in the St Andrews area.
About Fairmont St Andrews
Opened in 2001, Fairmont St Andrews has established a reputation for a standard of service and facilities which befits its five-star rating.
The resort is set in 520 acres of coastal countryside just five minutes from the historic town of St Andrews. In addition to two outstanding golf courses, Fairmont St Andrews boasts a spacious swimming pool, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi and relaxation room – the perfect way to relax and recover after a tough day’s golf!
Each of the Fairmont St Andrews’ 211 guest rooms are spacious and appointed with thoughtful Scottish touches while many offer stunning coastal views.
The dining options are rich and varied. The St Andrews Bar & Grill serves steak and seafood, traditional Italian dishes are available from La Cucina while more casual dining is available at the Kittock’s Den and Rock and Spindle.