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Friday, November 23, 2012

St. Andrews Toughens Up

The St. Andrews Links Trust has announced that a number of improvements are planned for the Old Course to help maintain its challenge for the world’s top golfers when they return to play The Open Championship in 2015.

St. Andrews
Golf course architect Martin Hawtree was commissioned to find potential changes that would challenge elite players without unduly affecting club and visiting golfers. His other charge was to make sure the revisions were true to the special character of the Old Course.

The work is planned to take place in two phases over this winter and next. The first phase involves work on the 2nd, 7th, 11th and 17th holes. The second phase will take place in winter 2013/14 with work on the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 9th and 15th holes.

Euan Loudon, Chief Executive of St Andrews Links Trust, said, “The Old Course is renowned as one of the great Open venues and its continued prominence on the Open roster is crucially important to the economy and reputation of St Andrews. The Old Course has evolved over time and the Links Trust is delighted to be working with the Championship Committee in order to maintain the challenge of the course for elite tournament players and the thousands of golfers who play here each year.”

Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A, added, “We have considered the challenge presented to the world’s top golfers by each of The Open Championship venues and carried out a program of improvements over the last ten years. While some holes have been lengthened on the Old Course in recent years it has otherwise remained largely unaltered. The Championship Committee felt there was an opportunity to stiffen its defenses in some places to ensure it remains as challenging as ever to the professionals. The proposals from Martin Hawtree should place more of a premium on accuracy and ball control while retaining the spirit and character of the Old Course.”

According to the information released today, here's what's going to happen:

Phase 1

  • On the 2nd hole, the two bunkers right and short of the green will be moved closer to the right edge of the green. The ground to the right of the green will also be re-contoured to create more undulations and the width of 3rd tee will be reduced to accommodate this. Two bunkers on the right side of the fairway, near the 3rd Championship tee, will be removed.
  • On the 7th, the large depression in the landing area of the fairway will be filled in and a slight mound created. The area to the right of the green will be remodeled to create more undulations.
  • On the 11th, the back left portion of the green will be lowered to create more hole location options.
  • On the 17th, the Road Bunker will be widened by half a meter at the right hand side and a small portion of the front of the green will be re-contoured to enable it to gather more approach shots landing in that area.

Phase 2

  • On the 3rd hole, the first fairway bunker on the right will be removed. A new fairway bunker will be added into the bank on the right hand side about 275 yards from the Championship tee.
  • On the 4th, the acute spur formation on the left hand side of the fairway will be reduced and the bunker on the right hand side of the green will be moved closer to its edge. The ground to the back right of the green will be re-contoured.
  • On the 6th, the ground to the right of the green will be re-contoured.
  • On the 9th, a fairway bunker will be added short and left of the green, about 25 yards to the left and diagonally towards the green from the last bunker on the right of the fairway.       
  • On the 15th, the ground to the back right of the green will be re-contoured to create more undulations.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

1 comment:

Dave Donelson said...

The announced changes to the Old Course didn't go unnoticed in the golf course architects' community: