St Andrews, The Evolution of the Old Course

by Scott Macpherson

NEW RELEASE: After 16 years, this iconic book has been fully updated and extended. Including new information about the evolution of the 1st and 17th greens and the Himalayas, this book shows the changes made to the course in 2012 and 2013, and the results of the two Women’s Opens and three Open Championships held since 2006. The book has many new photos and drone imagery – including from the fantastic 150th Open in 2022 – and almost 60 new pages. This is the new edition everyone has been asking for!

In this detailed and comprehensive study Scott Macpherson takes the reader on a journey of discovery from golf’s past to its future. This book charts for the first time the nature of changes to the course since 1821. It describes in chronological order the reasons behind those changes, and explains how the best players have won in St Andrews. We see not only the way in which early remodeling of the Old Course changed the game itself, but also how the course has adapted to almost two centuries of considerable technological change to both the ball and club as well as huge leaps in the skill and strength of players.

This important study illuminates the significant issues facing golf at St Andrews, which not only affect the Royal and Ancient Golf Club and its members, but also course designers, club and ball manufacturers, green keepers, rules officials, golf clubs and players everywhere.

The book has 256 pages and features hundreds of colour photos, prints of the most significant maps of the Old Course, scorecards of Open Championships, detailed drawings, plans and photos illustrating the fascinating changes to this most remarkable golf course. And perhaps the piece d’resistance is a four-page fold-out of the lengths of the course, and detailed data from all the Open championships held in St Andrews.





“No course has been more deserving of thorough analysis and a loving attention to the details of its evolution than the Old Course, and Scott Macpherson done it. He compiles rich anecdotes and lavishly illustrates this handsome tome to help us understand just how much the Old Course has evolved and more importantly, why it retains its brilliance. “
Geoff Shackelford, July, 2010

Anybody with a passion for the traditions of golf, its architecture and how the game is played cannot possibly consider being without this sumptuously illustrated book. It is deeply researched and throughly learned with ‘light’ anecdotal moments a-plenty.
The Voice of Midwest Golf by Ivan Morris 

The Old Course has not lacked attention from the writers and publishers over the centuries.  Seldom however do these authors go back to original sources and seek fresh vantage points, but here we have a new scholarly account of this ancient patch of linksland…. Macpherson comes to study the Links from his viewpoint as a golf architect.  Plans, distances and contours are his forte and at the back of this nicely printed, well-written book there are scholarly fold-out charts, and this broad format design has an unusually robust inner and outer cover.
David Hamilton, Nov 2007 for ‘Through the Green’ the Journal for the British Golf Collectors Society.

Scott Macpherson has published a book, and it is one of the most significant contributions to golf literature I’ve seen in many years. The fruit of six years of research, hands-on observation, and careful compilation, it is the definitive biography of the world’s most famous course. Only 3,000 copies of this book have been published, and despite its hefty price and the fact that is not easily available either through bookstores or online, those copies will surely vanish quickly to the homes and offices of golf historians, architects, media, and St. Andrewphiles. If you fall into any of those categories, or if you just want to boost your knowledge of all aspects of the game, I strongly suggest you get this book.
George Peper

In his book, Scott Macpherson charts the evolution of the Old Course, dispelling many widely accepted ‘truisms’ along the way. For any student of golf it is a must-read.
John Huggan, Contributor to Golf Digest and Scotland on Sunday. 

Nothing matters more in architecture than standing the test of time. Since St. Andrews has done that better than any other course, a clear understanding of its evolution is mandatory for anyone interested in design. Enter Scott Macpherson and his well-timed update to his 2007 St. Andrews, Evolution of the Old Course, which has been sold out for nearly a decade. Scott’s attention to detail and the insight with which he breaks down the world’s most feature-rich design on a hole-by-hole basis is pitch perfect. All you need to know about what constitutes enduring architecture is contained within this book.
Ran Morrissett, Co-Founder of Golf Club Atlas. (January, 2023)

All golf courses evolve either through the forces of nature or the hand of man, and this book examines both. Scott’s architectural research is important, insightful and priceless. His amazing and definitive book on the evolutionary history of the Old Course just got better.
Dr. Michael Hurdzan, Golf Course Architect, Past President of the ASGCA, Author. (January, 2023)

The more time you spend on the Old Course the more connected you feel to the heritage of golf. Through the lens of the most important golf course in the world you appreciate just how much the sport has evolved over the centuries but also how much it has stayed the same. Every time I stand on the 1st tee I feel that sense of history and that won’t ever change. This book reflects Scott’s incredible knowledge of the evolution of this great golf course which has so often been copied but never matched.
Martin Slumbers, CEO of The R&A. (March 2023)

… Brilliant Book…“, “The definitive guide to the changes to the Old Course
Peter Alliss, BBC