What kind of grass is St Andrews?

Answered by Robert Dupre

St Andrews is renowned for its unique type of grass, particularly the fescue grass that is predominant on its golf courses. The specific type of fescue found at St Andrews is known as “St Andrews fescue,” which is a variety that has adapted to the sandy, fast-draining soil of the area.

Unlike the lush, thick rough typically seen at many golf courses in the United States, the fescue at St Andrews is patchy and wispy in nature. It is not the kind of grass that grabs and holds onto golf balls with the same tenacity as some American roughs. Instead, the St Andrews fescue provides a different challenge for golfers.

The sandy soil of St Andrews allows for excellent drainage, ensuring that the fescue remains firm and fast. This characteristic is a defining feature of links golf courses, which are typically found in coastal areas and have a distinctive style of play. The fescue at St Andrews not only adds to the aesthetic beauty of the course but also plays a significant role in shaping the strategy and difficulty of the game.

The wispy nature of the St Andrews fescue means that balls landing in the rough may not be completely buried or hidden. Instead, they may sit up or be partially visible, tempting golfers to attempt risky shots or take creative approaches to escape the rough. The patchiness of the fescue also adds an element of unpredictability, as golfers may encounter varying lies and stances depending on where their ball comes to rest.

Playing from the St Andrews fescue requires a different set of skills and shot-making abilities. Golfers must possess the ability to control the trajectory and spin of their shots to navigate through the wispy grass. Shots hit too low may get caught up in the fescue, while shots hit too high may be affected by the ever-present winds of links golf.

St Andrews fescue also contributes to the overall strategy of the course. Golfers must carefully consider their approach shots and landing areas, as missing the fairway can result in challenging lies in the rough. The fescue acts as a natural defense, punishing wayward shots and rewarding accuracy and precision.

Visually, the St Andrews fescue adds to the beauty and character of the course. The wispy, golden grass swaying in the wind against the backdrop of the Scottish coastline creates an iconic image that is instantly recognizable to golf fans worldwide.

The grass at St Andrews, specifically the fescue, is a unique and defining characteristic of the renowned golf courses. The sandy soil and fast-draining nature of the area contribute to the patchy and wispy appearance of the fescue, creating a different challenge for golfers compared to the thick rough found in many American courses. The St Andrews fescue adds to the strategic and aesthetic appeal of the courses, making them a true test of skill and providing a memorable experience for golfers fortunate enough to play there.