Why playing the Old Course in tough conditions is the best

A Notre Dame Golfer tees off on the 18th hole on the Old Course at St. Andrews.

From GOLF's film, Beyond the Bend, Notre Dame arrived at St. Andrews on one of the wildest weather days. They played the Old Course anyway.


There’s really only one way to get the full Scottish experience when teeing it up at St. Andrews, which is essentially embracing the unpredictable, and sometimes brutal, weather.

That’s exactly what the Notre Dame men’s and women’s golf teams had to do upon arriving to St. Andrews for the inaugural St. Andrews Links Collegiate.

GOLF tagged along with the Fighting Irish squads as they prepared for and played in the one-of-a-kind college event featuring three other schools: Georgetown, North Carolina and Vanderbilt. The journey and event were documented in GOLF’s latest documentary, Beyond The Bend, which you can watch in full above.

When they arrived three days before the start of the event, it was brisk, cold and wet, just as you might expect for Fife in late October, except this storm was unusually brutal.

“It literally cannot get worse,” senior Chloe Schiavone said. “I feel like if every course in Scotland shut down, it’s gotta be bad.”

With limited time before the first round, however, the squads got to work on their tournament prep. That practice was especially crucial as very few team members had ever played links golf before.

Clad in beanies, hand warmers, puffy jackets and vests, the teams headed out to the range and for their first practice rounds.

Notre Dame men's and women's golf teams competed in the inaugural St. Andrews Collegiate
Beyond The Bend: Notre Dame’s Odyssey to the Home of Golf
By: Tim Reilly

“They said that Scotland was going to be cold and windy, but not this cold and windy,” said senior men’s captain Angelo Marcon. “The courses are all closed and they never close in Scotland. Never! This is pretty crazy. I’ve been through a lot of wind, but not this crazy.”

The tournament’s first two rounds would be played on the Jubilee Course followed by a final round on the Old Course.

“I think when the conditions get as extreme as they were, you really learn the essence of what links golf is,” said associate head coach Zac Zedrick. “It’s all about the angles, especially at the Old Course.”

For more on Notre Dame’s journey to the Home of Golf for the St. Andrews Links Collegiate, you can watch GOLF’s full documentary, Beyond The Bend, here.

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.