IT should perhaps come as no surprise that the world’s most famous golf course provides the perfect setting in which to drive away the winter blues.

According to recent research, 29 per cent of Brits now suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), prompted by colder weather and shorter days, with the debilitating effects sometimes taking hold until March or April.

But a visit to St Andrews’ Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa is highly unlikely to leave you feeling under-par unless, of course, you’ve somehow managed to master the iconic 18 holes on Scotland’s east coastline.

If you stay in one of the luxurious suites overlooking the renowned fairways and greens graced by the likes of Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo on their way to Open Championship glory, there are, for starters, few more uplifting sights in the United Kingdom.

The view, perfectly enhanced by the bordering West Sands Beach, is spectacular in its own right but, for golf enthusiasts, it’s the equivalent of throwing open your curtains in a morning, standing on a balcony and staring across Wembley’s hallowed turf or Wimbledon’s Centre Court if you’re a football fanatic or tennis devotee.

Indeed, few legendary sporting venues are as accessible as St Andrews, with members of the public permitted to walk around perimeter paths while amateur players swing their clubs around the links course simultaneously.

The Open is hosted at St Andrews every five years, with the Old Course Hotel, named Scottish Hotel of the Year at the 2018 AA Hospitality Awards, familiar to millions of people across the globe as the building that must be skilfully negotiated by those in touching distance of glory on the 17th hole.

Understandably, the hotel honours its association with the sport’s premier tournament fittingly, with excellent blown-up 19th century photographs of past competitions on the course and a winners’ board, dating right back to the Open’s inauguration in 1860, can also be viewed.

Another inspired feature is that rooms are all named after previous holders of the coveted Claret Jug, with the player pictured inside, alongside a description of his victory and life.

Willie Park Senior’s 1875 triumph was accordingly remembered in our suite.

In the hotel’s 19th century Jigger Inn, meanwhile, you can enjoy one or two of the various warming whiskies on offer and settle down in front of an open fire, while spotting the countless caps, autographed by legions of golfing greats, that are dotted around the cosy pub, where guests, locals and students all congregate.

If golf, or indeed whisky, doesn’t push your buttons, however, a visit to the hotel’s Kohler Waters Spa – the first of its kind outside the USA – is designed to enhance your mood and boost energy levels.

The Spa was opened to the public for the first time last year following a multi-million pound refurbishment and focusses on hydrotherapy and its release of elevated levels of endorphins – the body’s natural anxiety and stress busters.

A roof-top hot tub and hydrotherapy pool certainly help in that respect, whilst it is difficult to have ever felt more alive than after a full-body dip in the ice-cold plunge pool following a ten-minute stint in the adjacent steam room.

Unarguably, the highlight of a visit to the Spa, however, are the original catalogue of treatments available.

I chose the Sok Overflowing Bath with Massage, which lasted 90 minutes, including a soothing, quarter-of-an-hour soak in a candle-lit deep tub containing hot water filled to the brim and mixed with aromatic oils.

Submerged to my shoulders, lighting in the tub also saw the water’s colour change repeatedly.

The heat from the bath is aids the body’s natural detoxifying process and the oils promote a deep meditative state, while relieving aching muscles and joint stiffness.

For those who prefer a shower to bathing, the equally-enticing lay-down, Lavender Rain Shower is another option.

Prior to my Sok experience, I enjoyed a dry-body brushing exfoliation to prepare my skin for mineral absorption in the bath.

A 50-minute massage, in which requested parts of my body were targeted with the skill of somebody who seemed to have three hands at work, then completed the rejuvenating experience, which achieved its triple aim of improving sleep, relaxation and overall well-being.

Complementing the treatment’s commitment to facilitating a fulfilling 40 winks are the comfortable mattresses in the hotel suites and big soft pillows.

Continuing the hydrotherapy theme, meanwhile, our suite – one of 35 designed by French interior designer Jacques Garcia of the hotel’s 144 rooms – boasted a bathroom with both a jacuzzi so big you could swim a couple of strokes in it and a shower that fired water at you from all directions.

There are six options too for evening dining.

We plumped for the Road Hole Restaurant which, as its name suggests, looks out on to the majestic championship course.

The restaurant struck the right balance between an appropriate level of grandeur to befit its surroundings and the avoidance of pretension to remain faithful to the hotel’s commitment towards creating a relaxed environment.

My Cheese Souffle, Fillet Steak and Baileys Cheesecake were all an excellent standard, as were the white and red wines recommended by our waiter.

My wife really enjoyed her Scallops starter and seafood fans will be excited by the fish-dominated menu.

Breakfast is also served in the Road Hole with locally-sourced Full Scottish options freshly cooked in the open kitchen, along with a wide variety of specially-requested additional dishes, and I would highly recommend the cheese, ham and mushroom omelette.

The Continental breakfast provision is plentiful too.

Finally, be sure to take the short walk into St Andrews’ charming town centre and a stroll on the beach to give any lingering SAD feelings one final shot of happiness.

Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel offers a winter spa package from £420 including an overnight stay based on two people sharing.

The package includes a one night’s stay on a Bed & Breakfast basis, one facial or massage each, Prosecco and canapés, one spa café lunch for two, and tea and cakes in the afternoon.

To make a reservation, visit or call 01334 474 371.