By Design – Issue 65, Spring 2024

12 It’s St Andrews, Scotland, in the mid-19th century, and the caddies are disgruntled. They had laid out a small putting green on land close to where the Rusacks hotel now stands, a place for them to pass time while waiting for a bag. But several young ladies – daughters of Royal & Ancient members – had decided to play there too. To appease all, Old Tom Morris was asked to lay out a nine-hole course for these new golfers, on a patch of land away from the caddies. They were limited – by their dresses and what was considered a dignified range of movement – to short swings, so each hole was designed to be played with just a cleek and putter. St Andrews Ladies’ Golf Club was born and – a little later, once the course had been extended onto undulating land nearby – so too was the Himalayas, the famous putting course at the home of golf and inspiration for countless more around the world today. The Himalayas became a social hotspot, with over 400 lady members and 200 ‘gentlemen associates’ by the start of the 20th century, plus countless children enjoying their first steps into the sport. Today, anyone can book online and pay £4 (about $5, or half that for children and seniors) for a round. On a summer’s day it is typically swarming with people of every generation, and a great way for anyone to experience golf in the town, in a wonderful location right between West Sands beach and the first green of the Old course. Unlike a practice putting green, putting courses have distinct holes – 18 of them, in the case of the Himalayas – that are usually played in a set order. These miniature golf courses have become particularly popular at PUTTING COURSES The flat stick formula Are putting courses a good investment, and what gives them the best chance for success? Richard Humphreys speaks with ASGCA architects to find out more.