I’ve now been to St Andrews, the Home of Golf, on three separate occasions. I plan to return in 2018 and I know where my group will be staying, Albany Apartments. It’s the best combination of price, convenience, location, and quality of the many places I’ve stayed in the “Auld Grey Toon.” Let’s take a look:
Location Location Location
Albany Apartments is located on the famous North Street in St Andrews. North Street intersects with Golf Place, the primary access road to the Old Course. I would guess the total yardage from Albany Apartments to the Old Course is length of a short par-4. A long iron to Golf Place, then a 9-iron to the 18th green. It’s all of maybe a 90 second walk. Albany is a 45 second walk from the most famous pub in Scotland, the Dunvegan.
If one heads the opposite direction of the Old Course, the center of St Andrews is a 3-5 minute walk. Shops, restaurants, golf shops, golf shops, pubs, golf shops, pubs, are all very close by. Did I mention golf shops and pubs?
One minor drawback to Albany’s great location is that it could be “too close” to the pubs, if you know what I mean. On a warm summer night with the windows open one might be subjected to the horrendous and embarrassing sound of 10 drunk americans singing “Bye Bye Miss American Pie” at 2:00 a.m. like I was.
Albany features three bedrooms, located on the 3rd floor of the structure (see outside photo). They’re accessed via a rather fun spiral staircase, as is the 2nd floor from the street level. The bedrooms upstairs are spacious and feature a bathrooms with showers.
On the main level, one level up from the street, is a kitchen, spacious reading/sitting/TV room, restroom with bath, and a back deck which is located in a secluded garden (first image). The kitchen is fully appointed with a dishwasher, refrigerator, oven, microwave, and washer/dryer. There are even some staples in the cupboards.
The building was built in the late 1800’s, but renovated and modernized in roughly the mid-2000’s. The inside is very nicely appointed with quality furniture, carpeting, fine woodwork, and lots of great golf memorabilia to enjoy. The space is warm, clean, inviting, classy, and extremely comfortable.
Current pricing runs 50 pounds per person, with a four person minimum and three night minimum. This is a very reasonable price. Consider that a single room across the street at the Ardgowan Hotel ran me 120 pounds per night in 2012, and the rooms there are barely bigger than a sardine can. With a group of four or more golfers the cost per golfer, especially considering all of the great offerings I mentioned above, is unmatched. What a great value. To bring the cost down even more, a group of six could comfortably occupy the Albany Apartments.
Location, amenities, quality, space, price… No hotel in St Andrews can come close in any of those categories. If you are putting together a golf buddy trip to Scotland of four or more golfers and are looking for St Andrews hotels, look no further.
Albany Apartments website
Ardgowan Hotel St Andrews Review
St Fairmont St Andrews Hotel Review
Kingsbarns Golf Links Review
Carnoustie Golf Links Review
Balcomie Links at Crail Review
St Andrews New Course Review
For the first time in history, I spelled “aficionado” correctly without needing spell check or google… Yay me.
Today’s review is of a very unique golf and lifestyle product that not many golfers will get an opportunity to try, Pete Dye cigars. But since HOG is all about delivering unique and useful content which isn’t found elsewhere, I bring you this incredible bit of golf blogging.
First off, one must know who Pete Dye is before going much farther into this review. For those who don’t know, Pete Dye is one of golf’s all-time greatest golf course architects. Dye is known for his “Dye-abolical” designs around the world. Some of his most notable courses include TPC Sawgrass which is home of THE PLAYERS Championship. Always write “THE PLAYERS” in ALL CAPS! It’s what they do. Other courses Dye is famous for include PGA West, Trump National LA, Harbour Town, Kiawah Island, Whistling Straits, Casa de Campo, Southern Hills.
Recently I played and reviewed a newer Dye course in Indiana at the French Lick Resort, named the “Dye Course.” I must say that was probably the toughest course I’ve ever played, and by a large margin. The picture above right is of me and Mr. Dye at French Lick.
At the conclusion of the $350 round, the Dye Course at French Lick rewards the golfer for surviving by giving him and his group a goodie box with whisky and Pete Dye cigars inside. Thus, this Pete Dye cigar review.
Pete Dye Cigars
First one might think that a course giving out cigars is going to be giving out crap quality smokes. Honestly, I expected that too. But one must realize that Dye has a lot of courses, and even a house in the Dominican Republic. Depending on who you talk to, some say Dominican cigars rival Cuban cigars. I love them both. So these cigars are no cheapos. No way. They’re actually VERY good.
Pete Dye Cigars
This cigar is smooth and enjoyable. I’d call it a medium strength smoke. Through the life of the cigar, down to roach-clip-range, it was consistently flavorful. It didn’t get nasty at the end like come cigars do.
During one recent round I handed out these cigars to my pals. My golfing buddies who were with me that day enjoyed them very much. And as I usually do, I played my best golf with the cigar in action. I was EVEN PAR on the day. Thanks Pete. I can call you Pete, right?
I haven’t researched to find out if one can buy the Pete Dye cigars, or if so where they are available. The only place I know to get them is by playing golf at French Lick’s Dye Course. As good as these cigars are it just might be worth the $350/round cost to get them!
Golf balls can be insanely expensive. $40-$50-$60+ per DOZEN? $5.00 per ball? Damn. At that price I could lose $50 in golf balls on the first 4-5 holes on my tight, hazard-ridden home course if I don’t hit it well. That’s why I had to institute a “3-premium-ball lost limit” there. That’s a blog post for another day.
When I used to live next to the 1st tee on my home course I could sneak onto the course after hours and find literally hundreds of balls. I knew all the places to look because, well, I hit them there. Now I don’t have that luxury since moving a little farther away from the course.
There’s nothing better than finding a nice Titleist ProV1, or Bridgestone B330, or TaylorMade tour ball in the bushes. It’s like found money. No golfer other than perhaps PGA Tour pros is above playing that newly found ProV1 either. Hand raised.
So if a person is more than willing to play that pre-owned ball in the bushes, a look at LostGolfBalls.com is probably a good financial decision. LostGolfBalls.com has every model golf ball a golfer would ever want, slightly used, for a fraction of retail.
LostGolfBalls.com Golf Balls
LostGolfBalls.com offers several “levels” of used golf balls.
Refinished golf balls are balls that have been reconditioned at a factory that actually makes new golf balls. This is as close to a new golf ball as one can get without it actually being new.
AAAAA/1st Quality golf balls are mint used balls, not reconditioned. One may not be able to tell the difference between this and a new ball.
AAAA/2nd Quality golf balls are still in very good condition and may appear to have a little wear, similar to a ball that has been played for a few holes.
AAA/3rd Quality golf balls are still very playable but may have some smudges, scuffs, and blemishes.
Pricing for the different levels of balls is proportionate to their quality level. I chose to go with a couple of boxes of my current gamer ball, the Bridgestone B330 or B330-S. Let’s do some comparing.
On Bridgestone’s website a brand new box of B330’s costs $44.99, plus shipping.
The highest quality AAAAA/1st Quality B330 from LostGolfBalls.com’s website is listed at $23.99, about HALF of retail. For a golf ball that performs the same, the golfer can literally be paying around half the money. Great deal.
The next level ball is the AAAA/2nd Quality. These balls are priced at $15.99 per dozen.
Finally, there are refinished B330’s available for $12.99.
As a decent amateur golfer with a low single digit handicap, I see no difference in playability or performance between the AAAAA/1st Quality balls, and a brand new B330 I’ve played for a few holes. Well, there is a difference actually. It’s in my wallet.
The most important club in the bag other than one’s brain, is the putter. 40-50% of all the strokes a golfer records on the course are with the putter. Putting is certainly the strength of my game. I rely on my putting big time to make up for other deficiencies in my game. Having the right putter setup is crucial. If any part of the setup is off even slightly, putts will be missed. Without the right weight and grip size/shape, the strength of my game would be neutralized. I don’t roll with the jumbo grips because they reduce the feel for me, and I don’t have a problem with breaking my wrists.
I’ve found the perfect grip for my putting, the Golf Pride Tour SNSR Contour (there’s a straight model as well). It’s a mid-sized grip with a taper which fits great in my hands. The taper is known as a pistol shape.
The grip is made from a proprietary rubber which feels soft and comfortable in the hands, and translates the feel of impact from the head to my hands. This is called “feedback.” Feedback is extremely important for any club, but putting is especially crucial because there is so much touch and feel involved.
On The Course
I’ve had this grip on my putter since before my trip to Scotland this past summer. It has been a fantastic grip and I’ve putted very well with it. Last week I had a round with 22 putts, starting off with eight 1-putts in a row. I’ve found the SNSR to be perfect in call conditions, from slow to fast greens and even with the Texas wedge (my best wedge). It was tremendous on the hard links ground of Scotland, even from 50-70 yards out in the fairway!
When the original grip on my Dornoch Putters Mad Dog 1 finally wore out, I went through several grips. That special putter has a handmade milled aluminum head, and it provides a ton of feel and feedback. I needed a grip that can compliment that amazing putter and the Golf Pride SNSR Contour is a perfect match.
I have to admit that now that college football season is here I’ve been spending a lot of time working on one of my other websites, UteHub.com. I’m a University of Utah Utes fan and built that site as a forum and fan “hub,” and it has been quite successful. I built a game there to allow the members to pick the weekly Pac-12 football games, called Pick Em. I have some neat prizes, and the grand prize is a custom belt from NXT18 Golf. Check it out.
I reviewed a milled belt by NXT18 Golf back in 2015. It’s a Hooked on Golf Blog version.
Custom Milled HOG NXT18GOlf Belt – A Work of Art
The new college version is a little more mature and cleaner looking I must admit. Plus it works with a standard belt, which is interchangeable.
My new Utah Utes belt is great. I’m wearing it proudly, even this moment. If you want a belt like this, or with your own custom logo of your favorite team or golf blog, follow this special link for a discount and free shipping.