Here’s the new best view of the Old Course’s finishing stretch

A view of the 17th hole from the Road Hole Bar.

Courtesy of the Old Course Hotel

Every golfer wishes to be on the other side of the ropes for the Open Championship, competing for the renowned Claret Jug. If you’ve been lucky enough to tee it up at the Old Course, you most likely pretended you had a putt to win the tournament. Even at your local track on Open week, we all do it. But there’s one spot at St. Andrews where the best place to be is inside

While playing the difficult 17th hole — The Road Hole — is enjoyable on a golf trip, it is a competitor’s worst nightmare. The last two Open winners at St. Andrews played it at a combined five over par. And those were the winners. In order to make par or better at the 17th, you must execute both a blind tee shot and a frightening approach between out of bounds and the Road bunker that yields double bogey over half the time

the 17th green of the old course.
The hardest hole in golf is back: Inside the OId Course’s diabolical Road Hole
By: Josh Berhow

But there’s another, much more tasteful option. This hole wreaks havoc for the players, but it is wildly entertaining for spectators, and there’s no better place to witness approach shots than at the Old Course Hotel’s newest restaurant: the Swilcan Loft.

Adjacent to the widest part of the 17th fairway, spectators can watch the world’s best contend with the hardest approach shot on the PGA Tour circuit.

The Old Course Hotel, which is owned by Kohler Co., recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation project, and the new Swilcan Loft was unveiled.

Open seven days a week, you can indulge in an internationally inspired but locally sourced meal. A dish to try is their Teriyaki Loch Duart Salmon Salad (£16.50) which uses lime gin from local distillery, Kingsbarns. Main courses include a selection of lamb, prawn, and Scottish rib eye. On the other side of the menu are an eclectic selection of Scottish drinks. 

Compared to the stadium food within the ropes, it isn’t cheap. However, local stouts, ales, and pilsners for just £5.50 is the best deal you’ll find. (Remember how much beer was at Southern Hills?)

Fish and chips and the other local carnival foods from pasties to jockets are a necessity, but with the combination of Road Hole views and Scottish sourced food, the Swilcan Loft is worth a visit.


Tyler Zimmer Contributor

Tyler is a collegiate golfer for Cornell University working as’s summer intern. He was the editor-in-chief for The Haverford School’s Index after serving as the sports section editor. Tyler writes tournament content, product reviews, and instructional pieces from his perspective as an active player.