The Old Course

1740 Old Course

View of St Andrews from the Old Course, c.1740 (artist unknown)


Painted c.1740, the above is the oldest known painting of golf on the Old Course and possibly the earliest existing painting of the game of golf.  It was presented to The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in 1847 and was described in the minutes as ‘a very old oil painting, executed at a time when our ancestors took to the field in red coats and cocked hats’.


The Old Course, 1891 by Sir John Blair


A prolific Scottish artist, John Blair (1850-1934) is well known for his vibrant watercolour views of the coastline of south east Scotland.  He exhibited regularly at the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Institute. 

The painting shows two gentlemen golfers and their caddie in the foreground, with another caddie, possibly part of this group, standing off to the right.  Other figures are dotted over the course and on the West Sands.  Landmark architectural features are visible in the distance, including The Royal and Ancient Clubhouse, the Castle, Cathedral and the tower of St Salvator’s College Chapel.  Also notable are the sheep grazing on the course.

This scene graced the first Life Association Calendar in 1892. 

‘Auld Daw’ at the Ginger Beer Hole, 1891 by Thomas Hodge


David Anderson was a St Andrews caddie, who had a refreshment cart on the links.  He was appointed greenkeeper of the St Andrews links in 1851, for which he was paid £5 per year.  He resigned in 1855.

The artist, Thomas Hodge (1827-1907), was born in Truro, Cornwall.  A keen golfer, he was elected a member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in 1861.  He won the Bombay Medal in 1862 and 1873 and the Royal Medal in 1866, 1867 and 1869.  As well as painting many of his fellow members, Hodge’s artistic output also included landscapes and seascapes.  He exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1878, 1879 and 1880. 

The Old Course with Sheep by William Frazer, 1901


William Miller Frazer was born at Scone, Perthshire, and studied at the Royal Scottish Academy School.  A prolific artist, he painted English and Scottish landscape scenes in a broad impressionistic style.  He first exhibited at the RSA in 1884 and continued to exhibit there every year until 1957.  Frazer became a Royal Scottish Academician in 1924 and was elected President of the Scottish Arts Club in 1926.