The ‘other’ hook of St Andrews

For many prospective students, the opportunity to come and study at St Andrews has an additional allure. The world-famous Old Course, six other public courses, and an almost never-ending array of other first-class golfing venues within an hour’s travel all provide an unparalleled experience for the golf fan.

With The Ryder Cup having just finished, and the annual Alfred Dunhill Links Championship just begun in St Andrews, there is no better time to catch up with one such prospective student, Ed Hodge (MA 2000), who arrived at St Andrews twenty years ago with a love of the game that has developed into him forging a career in the game. 

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St Andrews.

The Home of Golf.

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The Old Course, St Andrews

For a self-confessed golf fanatic, it was the perfect fit for my university studies, having secured the grades to study Modern History. I look back on it as the best four years of my life. I met my wife, made life-long friends, learned skills that I continue to use to this day and formed a bond with the town that will never leave me. It’s a wonderful place for a student.

Yes, I played golf, ok a lot of golf (the discounted prices for local residents are terrific), but from my two years of life in University Hall, to being Sports Editor of the The Saint student newspaper in 1997/98, to studying subjects in depth such as Civil Rights and Martin Luther King, The Swinging Sixties and World War I & II, it was an all-round superb experience, full of highlights.

Yes, I played golf, ok a lot of golf, but from my two years of life in University Hall… it was an all-round superb experience, full of highlights.

I remember graduating in May 2000, with a 2.1 MA Honours, and feeling as prepared as I could be for the working world. I’ve since worked in differing roles in the sports media industry in Scotland for the last 16 years and, appropriately, have found myself back in St Andrews in recent times in my role for Scottish Golf, whose headquarters are based just outside the town.

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Ed (left) with co-author Peter Burns (right) at Gleneagles, Perthshire Photo: Kenny Smith Photography

The golf connection has continued with my move into writing books. Jewel in the Glen: Gleneagles, Golf and The Ryder Cup was first printed in 2013, and subsequently updated for a second edition in 2014 after Europe’s triumph. Our Day in May, the story of St Johnstone FC’s first major trophy win in 130 years, was then published in 2015.

Again working with Arena Sport, an imprint of Birlinn Ltd, I’ve now co-authored (with Peter Burns) a unique new history of The Ryder Cup, published earlier this summer.  Fittingly, Pete is also a St Andrews graduate.

It’s been a busy time in recent years, especially with two young children, but throughout my daily work, and the book writing, the lessons learned at St Andrews never leave me.

Sadly, my golf game does require some lessons though … oh to be a student again!

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