To visit St Andrews, where the game began more than 600 years ago, is a sporting pilgrimage.
Of course the Old Course is the shrine in this small town, the fabled original links course which has hosted the Open Championship a record 28 times.
However there is far more to St Andrews than the Old Course. Indeed the legendary Bobby Jones, who famously ripped up his scorecard on his first visit in 1921, is not the only one who wasn't instantly enamored by the layout.
Lee Westwood was quoted at the Dunhill Links last year as saying "it's not even in the top 100 courses in Fife, never mind the world" and with the easiest opening and closing holes in professional golf, not to mention only two par-threes and a string of holes around the turn that wouldn't look out of place on your local municipal, you can see where he is coming from.
Of course other courses cannot replicate the history and atmosphere of teeing off on the first, walking across the bridge over the burn and teeing off on the Road Hole but for the average amateur there are better alternatives on offer in the area.
And you are not short on golf options in St Andrews. The St Andrews Links Trust operates five more public courses, the New Course (established in 1895), the Jubilee (1897), the Eden (1914), the Strathtyrum (1993) and, the newest, the Castle Course which has been built in a panoramic coastal setting to the south of the town.
St Andrews also boasts four others of the highest quality: the challenging Duke's Course - which lies just inland of the town - the spectacular Kittocks and Torrance Courses at the Fairmont St Andrews resort and the stunning Kingsbarns Golf Links.
And these young upstarts are really giving the old boys a run for their money.
Kingsbarns, located seven miles south east of the town, only opened in 2000 but is already ranked in the top 20 courses in the world by top100golfcourses.co.uk
This is the masterpiece of American designer Kyle Phillips with nearly every hole boasting spectacular views of the North Sea as you can see below.
A manufactured course yes but done authentically and sympathetically. The course has its own burn (the Cambo), humps and hollows, challenging green areas and strategic bunkering that are the trademarks of more mature Links courses.
At 7,181 yards from the championship tees, Kingsbarns is a formidable enough test to be included in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship rota and used as a qualifying venue for the Open Championship but the rough isn't too penal and the fairways are pretty generous to make it a pleasure for the handicap golfer.
Of course the pleasure is intensified by playing on an amphitheatre along the coast which is epitomised by the par-five 12th (right) which runs along the coast and the par-three 15th (below) where a treacherous carry over beach and rocks is not for the faint hearted.
Around the same time Kingsbarns was being turned into the moonscape it is today, Don Panoz was creating the five-star St Andrews Bay golf resort to the south of the town.
And Fairmont St Andrews has already been voted amongst the best 20 golf resorts in the world where 36 holes await you just a few seconds away from what a former St Andrews resident described as 'the best breakfast in Scotland'.
The Torrance course, designed by the eponymous Sam and Gene Sarazen is a 7,230-yard layout built on the clifftop overlooking the Tay Estuary and was also a qualifying course for the 2010 Open.
The initial six holes are routed up the hillside with plenty of the classic revetted links bunkers to gobble up your drives and force you to play your second sideways.
There are risk/reward opportunities at many of the holes such as the short dogleg par four seventh while the meandering stream is sure to have prompted a Van de Velde moment or two.
There are some fine holes on the back nine, none more so than the two real standouts - 16 and 17.
The views along the Fife coast to the town of St. Andrews are marvellous from the 16th tee, a lovely downhill par four where you can see nothing behind the green except a small stone wall and the North Sea beyond.
The 17th is a picturesque 153-yard par three with a stone wall in front of the green and the sea wall running down the left side with a massive green full of the contours you would expect from a classic links.
Also at Fairmont is the Kittocks which has been remodelled by Gary Stephenson who has further enhanced the original design by former Australian Open champion Bruce Devlin.
After a gentle opening, the par five 5th gives a sense of things as the vista opens up before the stunning par four 7th which is squeezed up against the rugged coastline.
The most striking holes are those that border the rugged North Sea shoreline and the homeward stretch is stunning especially the signature par four 15th which doglegs towards the hanging cliff-edge green.
There are many card wrecking holes - the 4th (SI 1) to a highly elevated green, the transitional par five at 11 which climbs back up to Kittock's Den is a beast of a hole and the 17th with the coastline hugging the right side of the fairway.
Despite being just eight years old, two double greens and numerous deep pot bunkers make the Kittocks another genuine links adventure.
The hotel, clubhouse and spa - twinned with 36 holes of excellent links golf - make Fairmont a tremendous place to stay and combined with the dramatic coastal views at Kingsbarns poses the question why even bother with the Old Course.
ST ANDREWS - BEYOND GOLF
GETTING THERE - The writer flew with bmi, British Midland International. bmi offers up to seven daily direct flights between Heathrow and Edinburgh with fares from £87 return including all taxes and charges. Customers enjoy free checked baggage to a total weight of 20kg, free allocated seating and time saving benefits such as online and mobile check in. For more information and to book visit flybmi.com
HOTEL - Fairmont St Andrews was awarded Resort Hotel of the Year 2010 by Golf Tourism Scotland and hosted the G20 Summit in 2009. Set on a 520 acre estate, the 209-room hotel boasts lavish rooms. Rooms are clean, spacious and furnished with everything you need and more. A lovely pool area with various facilities and don't forget the aforementioned breakfast, haggis and all.
EATING - Esperante was awarded 2 AA Rosettes in 2009 and 2010 due to exotic and creative dishes with a Mediterranean influence. Bunker will recommend the main of locally caught lobster, sage pressed chicken terrine, lobster tempura and soubise mousse and would not be shy of following it with the salted chocolate, macadamia nut cake, cured lime, vanilla bubbles and baby tarragon.
RELAX - Tune up those muscles ahead of a round with Organic Spa experts Pure Lochside who have created a unique spa treatment to calm the senses and relax
body and mind ahead of 18 holes. All conveniently situated in the clubhouse at Fairmont.
CULTURE - The British Golf Museum sits at the heart of the home of golf, just 67 yards from the famous Old Course, and will transport you down a pathway of surprising facts and striking feats from 500 years of golf history. Using diverse displays and exciting exhibits, the Museum traces the history of the game, both in Britain and abroad, from the Middle Ages to the present day. Encounter many famous professionals, find out more about the evolution of equipment and enjoy the imaginative exhibitions, hands on activities and stunning multimedia displays.