You Can Pack Your Rain Gear, But You’ll NEED Your Sunscreen.

So you’d really like to experience links golf; the firm fairways, the quirky bounces, the true and rolling greens, the pot bunkers, the heather and gorse, and playing along the sea. But there’s one thing holding you back: the weather. Not so much the wind, but the ever present rain. You’ve watched The Open on TV and some of the most memorable rounds, as you remember, have been played in rain that drenches both players and the course, and is often blowing sideways.

Well, surprise. It doesn’t rain in Scotland and Ireland near as much as we think. In fact, check the numbers of annual rainfall below:

sunny st andrews

Golfers walk the 18th hole at St. Andrews and a sunny, cloudless day.

Miami – 62 inches
Bandon Dunes – 59 inches
New York City – 42 inches
Seattle – 38 inches
Dublin – 29 inches
St. Andrews – 26 inches

While Seattle is certainly known for its rainy climate, who would think that St. Andrews, Scotland the home of Golf, and site of unarguably the best links in the world, has annual rain amounts lower than 30 inches?  Half that of Miami and forty percent less than New York City!


Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus battle at Turnberry in 1977 deemed “The Duel in the Sun.”

Remember that spectacular duel between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus at Turnberry in 1977? It’s been nicknamed the “Duel in The Sun” for good reason. Tiger’s record-setting performance on The Old Course in 2000? Three rounds of it in glorious sunshine.  Back to Turnberry for 2009 for the exciting playoff between winner Stewart Cink and the 59 year old Watson, it was cloudy and windy, with just a few holes of rain.

St. Andrews alone, besides The Old Course, has six additional outstanding links in town, including the New Course (actually not new – it was opened in 1895), The Jubilee, The Castle Course, and the highly acclaimed Kingsbarns, all of these on everyone’s list of top courses in the world. Carnoustie, site of the 2018 Open, is 45 minutes away. The delightful Crail, a classic throwback, is within a half hour’s drive, and North Berwick and Gullane (site of the 2015 Scottish Open), are less than two hours. You could spend a week in St. Andrews and play eight world renowned links courses, and never have to drive more than two hours to play.

So bring your rain gear because yes, it does rain, but don’t forget the sunscreen.


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