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This week I visited the Dunvegan Hotel, which is located a 9-iron from the Old Course’s 18th green (depending on the wind!) on the corner of Golf Place and North Street in St Andrews.
The Dunvegan Hotel, which was deemed the perfect 19th hole by Sam Torrence, is owned and operated by Sheena and Jack Willoughby. Jack, a 4th generation Texan, and his Scottish wife Sheena were kind enough to show me round the Golfers Corner Lounge Bar (although I was somewhat familiar with it, having sunk a few pints there on previous visits!) and chatted with me about how their hotel has come to be St Andrew’s premier drinking spot for players, caddies and golf fans!
Popping in to the Dunvegan Hotel for a drink and something to eat is as much a part of the St Andrews experience as visiting the Old Course. You only have to look around the bar to see that visitors come back time and again for the warm welcome, the fine selections of beers, ales, and spirits, freshly prepared homemade meals and some post-golf banter! During this episode I had a chance to chat to some golfers in the bar who had made the journey from their home courses of NorthGate Country Club in Texas and Green Island Country Club in Georgia to St Andrews many times to enjoy the Dunvegan’s amazing hospitality and great Scottish links golf.
Jack and Sheena are both avid golfers themselves who told me that despite having played the Old Course innumerous times, every time they stand on the first tee it’s still special to them.
As well as its popular bar the Dunvegan also boasts a fantastic restaurant, the Claret Jug. They offer a variety of mouth watering dishes and specialize in quality char grilled steaks. Of course you can top off your meal with your choice of over 50 single malt whiskies covering all regions of Scotland!
This family-run St Andrews hotel also offers comfortable overnight accommodation. It can comfortably sleep 16 golfers in its 2 double rooms, 3 twin bedrooms and the Auchterlonie Suite (situated immediately across the street from the Dunvegan) which consists of 3 bedrooms, 2 spacious bathrooms with power showers and jacuzzi baths, a large living room and a kitchen. I’ve stayed their myself during a golf holiday a few years before I moved to St Andrews and can highly recommend it. The accommodation is perfect, lots of room for golf clubs, hanging up wet waterproofs and the best news is that Jack and Sheena will fit in breakfast around your tee times!
Check out my latest episode to witness the friendly atmosphere for yourself and see some of the Dunvegan’s past celebrity visitors. The walls of the bar are lined with a collection of photographs of Sheena and Jack taken with golfing legends who have frequented the bar for a post-golf tipple including Tiger Woods, Lorena Ochoa, Mark O’Meara, John Daly and celebrities ranging from George Bush Snr to Hugh Grant. Take a look at this video especially shot by The Golf Channel during the Open, they call the Dunvegan Hotel “one of the best hangouts in the world of golf!”. No wonder Lorena Ochoa choose The Dunvegan for her 2007 Women’s British Open winner’s part here.
One of the Dunvegan’s most regular visitors was Arnold Palmer’s former caddie Tip Anderson who used to shuffle into the bar on a regular basis for a half-pint of Eighty Shillings beer with a rum and water on the side. In the bar of the Dunvegan you can still see for yourself a brass plaque above a velour banquette, which reads: “This chair reserved for Tip and his friends.” Tip was the most celebrated of the St Andrews caddies, his knowledge of every hump and hollow on the Old Course almost helped Arnold Palmer to win the Centenary Open in 1960, coming second to Kel Nagle by one stroke. The following two years saw Palmer and Tip win successive Open championships, at Royal Birkdale and Royal Troon. Tip then went onto caddie for Tony Lema in his 1964 Open victory at St Andrews.
During this episode Sheena also showed me the Dunvegan’s gallery of fantastic portraits of every Open Champion dating back to 1860 which were created by David Joy. David is a multi-talented fourth generation born and bred St Andrean. As well as being an amazing artist and illustrator his talents range from golf historian, guest speaker, playwright, author and active community member in St Andrews. David is committed to the preservation of St Andrews and its traditions and is involved in most of the town’s activities, be it through golf, theatre, the University, or the safeguarding of the Royal and Ancient City of St Andrews. He is probably best known as “The man who plays Tom Morris” – a one-man show premiered during the 1990 Open, which has since been televised and adapted as a commercial video and distributed world-wide under the name of Keeper of the Greens. David brings to life celebrated Open winner Old Tom Morris (1861-62-64 & 67) by dressing up as Old Tom (scroll down for video) and providing modern-day golfers with an insight into the history of the great game and how it used to be.
So remember next time you are visiting St Andrews I definitely recommend a visit to St Andrews’ most famous watering hole, the Dunvegan Hotel – I might even see you there for a post-golf pint!
7 Pilmour Place, North Street, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland
Tel No: +44 1334 473105
Fax No: +44 1334 479102
Finally the Question of the Day:
What is your favorite post-golf tipple or drink? Please leave your answer in the comments section below. Thank you.