GOLF POEM: Old Course at St. Andrews

The bridge over the burn at the Old Course on the famous 18th hole is the most photographed bridge in golf history.

by Mike May

The first hole at the Old Course at St. Andrews is called the Burn.
Here, you must avoid the water with your approach, when it’s your turn.

The Burn is a simple stream that protects the entrance to the green.
Caddies tell golfers to forget pin and aim for the middle, if you know what I mean.

The first hole appears to be meek and mild,
But, when the wind picks up, it can be kind of tough and rather wild.


The first hole has no sand bunker in sight.
And, there never will be as its current design is just right.

The first hole is a simple, straightaway par four.
It’s at the core of the Old Course’s history and lore.

Its stroke index has been labeled as both 12 and 10.
That’s the respective handicap rating for the ladies and the men.


The first fairway of the Old Course is one of the widest in the game.
Whether your tee shot is pushed or pulled, you will find fairway grass that looks the same.

On the first tee, aim for the small gorse bush at the left edge of the stream.
With a strong drive, you’ll have a wedge to the green – that’s your dream.

Standing on the first tee is like walking through golf’s history for you and me.
As Vardon, Hogan, Player, Palmer, Nicklaus, and Woods have been there for all to see.

Roses are red and violets are blue,
Scotland looks forward to welcoming golfers to St. Andrews in 2022.

(Mike May, a longtime sports writer and member of Golf Writers Association of America, International Network of Golf and Golf Travel Writers, is based in Wellington, Florida. he can be reached at

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