This Scottish town may be famous for golf, but Chris Wiltshire finds much more to savour.

I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed by the courses on offer at the so-called home of golf. Each has its own challenges, and all look pretty tasty. But do I have the stomach to try something new in my first visit to St Andrews on Scotland's east coast?

Numbed by a wee dram of local Kingsbarns whisky, I ignore the winter greens and go for it.

"I'll have, er, the oysters please," I stammer, feeling light-headed at my perilous request.

"Excellent choice," replies the tall, moustached waiter with an uncanny resemblance to TV sitcom's Basil Fawlty.

After 57 years of shunning the slimy little invertebrates, I feel it's time to confront one of dining-out's great frontiers.

Why, I had previously reasoned, would anyone risk a night of misery by eating a "wrong 'un"?

But this is no Fawlty Towers. This is the Fairmont St Andrews Bar & Grill, with jaw-dropping views of beautiful links courses and only a long iron to the frothing North Sea. If the oysters are not fresh here, then I'm Tiger Woods.

After loosening the flesh from the oyster shell with my fork, I take a deep breath and then tip the little mollusc into my mouth. I can't help but chew it and I'm instantly overwhelmed by a salty taste of the sea, the like of which I've never experienced before.

I slump back into my seat and let out a quiet, but satisfied "wow".

It's a perfect aperitif to a five-star gourmet feast of crab, lobster, king prawns and langoustines, all sourced directly from St Andrews Bay. No wonder head chef Chris Niven recently picked up a second AA Rosette, a nod to cooking excellence and a determination to use local, sustainably sourced ingredients.

Many are here to savour not only the food and the luxurious five-star Fairmont accommodation, but some of the most revered golf courses in the world.

Top of the wish list for many is a round on the Old Course, home to golf since the early 15th century and a short walk from the town's busiest shopping streets.

Green fees can top £320 and most golfers need to enter a daily ballot just to get a chance to play. But the rewards are to walk in the footsteps of golfing giants such as 18-time Major champion Jack Nicklaus, who said after playing the course for the first time: "I fell in love with it. There's no other golf course in the world that is even remotely close."

I reminisce about epic Open championships gone by when walking the fairways with other Sunday ramblers, stopping at the 700-year-old Swilcan Bridge on the 18th hole - one of the most iconic landmarks in sport - for a selfie.

In a little over 18 months (July 2021), the great and good of the game will gather for the 30th time at St Andrews for the 150th Open Championship and I'll be able to say, "I was there".

St Andrews is much more than just a mecca for golf enthusiasts. It simply oozes history, from the ruins of St Andrews Castle - destroyed and rebuilt several times during the wars of Scottish independence - to the eerie Gothic St Salvator's Chapel and the breathtaking ruins of St Andrews Cathedral, where some of the patron saint of Scotland's relics are said to be buried.

By a twist of fate, a few months earlier I had paid homage to St Andrew at the Amalfi Cathedral, Italy, where his skull is preserved in a tomb in the crypt.

I head through the ancient burial site of the cathedral, at one time Scotland's largest building, and down to the craggy coast for a bracing walk along the promenade and savour wonderful views of the weather-worn relics.

Back in town, I'm reminded of the royal connections when I see a large sign in the window of a local cafe declaring: 'Kate and Wills met here'.

There are no such claims at the Scottish Clay Shooting Centre, although I'd be surprised if Prince William hadn't spent a few afternoons here during his university studies.

The centre, 10 miles outside of town and surrounded by giant fir trees and abundant wildlife, is an entertaining way to enjoy the great outdoors.

Wily Gordon McKay has the patience of a saint as he talks my group of nervous novices through the rights and wrongs of shooting in his soft Scottish dulcet tones, promising that everyone will hit at least one of the wee targets.

He's not wrong, as I hit four clays in a row, and I don't want the session to end.

Afterwards we head back to the Fairmont spa for some R and R, where masseur Carly works on my slightly aching limbs with an aptly named divine custom massage.

The golf will have to wait for another day. But this is one bunker I'd be happy to be holed up in, whatever the weather.

How to plan your trip

Rooms at the Fairmont Hotel St Andrews ( start from £129 with breakfast. Dinner at the St Andrews Bar and Grill starts from £32 for two courses.

An hour's clay shooting at the Scottish Clay Shooting Centre ( costs £48 per person.