Inspired by a love for golf, Jack Willoughby, a fourth generation Texan, and his Scottish wife Sheena started the Dunvegan in 1994 and it’s since become a St Andrew’s institution. "When we took over the place it was a boarding house, but because of its location we had the vision that it could become a great 19th hole. We wanted to create a casual atmosphere where golfers could walk in wearing golf shoes and carrying their clubs to drink, eat and relax amongst fellow golfers,” says Jack.
The husband-and-wife team are very ‘hands on’ when it comes to running the hotel and really enjoy talking about the game with their customers. “We’ve built up a strong clientele over the years and had great support from caddies bringing their clients in after a round and recommending the place,” continues Jack. “Over the years we’ve got to know people from all areas of the golf world, whether professionals, celebrities or returning golfers from places such as Scandinavia, America or Australia.” As she pulls a pint for a customer Sheila adds: "We are busy week in, week out, especially during The Open when it’s held here. I can say hand or heart, we are the 19th hole at St Andrews."
Part of the beauty of St Andrews is the short distance between drinks, and in less time than it takes to swing a club we find ourselves standing by the bar inside 1 Golf Place, just round the corner from the Dunvegan. The first ever ‘Golf Inn’ in St Andrews was established here in 1827 (the street was built in the same year) when the game was fast gaining popularity. During its history, the inn on this site has been called various names, including the Niblick and the Links Hotel.