The Eden Course in St. Andrews is an enjoyable golf course that is full of character, and which makes the best use of its natural terrain. Designed by Harry Colt, the Eden was completed shortly before the start of World War I in 1914, and received an upgrade in the 1980s by Donald Steel that created three new holes, the originals lost to the creation of the driving range facility by the St. Andrews Links Trust. This work and change did nothing to impact the playability or enjoyability of the golf course, and many would say it enhanced it.
The Eden probably receives the least amount of visitor play in the peak season, replaced mostly by local play, not all entirely down to the fact that the courses are a good 20-25 minutes’ walk from the center of town. It is where a good number of the St. Andrews Club medals and club competitions are played during the season. There is no doubt that it is less challenging than the Old, New, or Jubilee, but it is no less enjoyable. Many locals would argue that the greens on the Eden are some of the best in St. Andrews, and while that is debatable (because they are all excellent), they are certainly some of the most exciting and challenging of any of the St. Andrews courses. The short opening hole, beautifully framed by a stone wall running around the back of the putting surface, has a sublime two-tiered undulating green that sets the tone perfectly for the round ahead.
The first point where the Eden meets the Old Course is when it borders it on the 2nd hole, corresponding 13th. The Eden estuary comes into play on the drivable Par four, 4th hole, which many players would describe as one of their favorites on the course. Like all links holes, a successful outcome here is determined by the strength and direction of the wind as well as a reasonable degree of luck, and you most definitely need the latter to hold the saucer-shaped green. The Eden does get some criticism for holes thirteen through fifteen as there is a lake that comes into play on all three which seems out of place amid all this links land (a criticism regularly targeted at Royal County Down’s 17th hole). However, the finish at the Eden is delightful, with the long 16th providing plenty to think about as far as ball positioning is concerned, and the 17th, with out of bounds running the entire length of the hole, making it reminiscent of the 16th hole of its illustrious neighbor.
The Eden is a course that fits perfectly into a St. Andrews golf trip. It may not be the first of the seven to be penned onto the schedule, but as an evening round or an add-on is a superb addition to any Scottish golf vacation itinerary.