Planned renovation is underway at The Old Course
By mustang6560 on 11/26/12
The Old Course at St. Andrews is the spiritual home of golf. It may not be your favorite course (you may be partial to Augusta National or Pebble Beach), however, as a golf fan, I'm willing to bet that you understand its importance and significance to the game of golf.

To me, The Old Course is in a league of its own. I want to play Augusta and Pebble as badly as the next fan, but if I could only pick one of the truly great tracks to play it would be The Old Course because of its timeless design and majestic beauty. So when I read that the St. Andrews Links Trust, which manages The Old Course and the six other courses in St. Andrews, and the R&A approved several changes to the layout of The Old Course, I was floored. Why would either organization approve so many changes to the Home of Golf?
A number of improvements are being planned to the Old Course to help maintain its challenge for the world's top golfers ahead of the return of The Open Championship to St Andrews in 2015.

Renowned golf course architect Martin Hawtree was commissioned by St Andrews Links Trust, which manages the Old Course and the other six courses at the Home of Golf, and The R&A Championship Committee, which organises golf's oldest major championship, to assess potential changes which would enhance the challenge for elite players without unduly affecting club and visiting golfers while remaining true to the special character of the Old Course.
According to Stephen Gallacher, the writing on the wall indicates that the reason the St. Andrews Links Trust and the R&A approved the changes is because they are afraid someone may desecrate The Old Course by shooting 59 (or lower).

The renovation reportedly started earlier today and will be completed in two phases. The changes, which will be completed before The Old Course hosts the 2015 Open Championship, were proposed by and will be supervised by Martin Hawtree, who also designed controversial Trump International Golf Links in nearby Aberdeenshire. If you're interested in the specifics, here is a list of the changes.

    Phase 1 (Winter 2013)

  • 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 recontoured 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 remodelled 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 metre at the right hand side and a small portion of the front of the green will be recontoured to enable it to gather more approach shots landing in that area.

    Phase 2 (Winter 2014)

  • 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 recontoured.

  • On the 6th, the ground to the right of the green will be recontoured.
  • 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 recontoured to create more undulations.

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Image via Flickr, Chrissy Olson


[ comments ]
joe jones says:
My memories of the old course are chiseled in stone. Most of the suggestions are minimalist in nature. It obviously is an attempt to protect the Old Course from today,s ball and equipment. We will have to wait and see if it works.I love everything about that wonderful course. I just think it is a shame that we feel we have to do these things to protect the old classic courses when a slight roll back on the ball and a reduction in the size of the driver might accomplish the same thing. It also seems strange to me why so much attention is being payed to banning long putters. No golf course has ever been modified because some one anchors a long or belly putter
11/26/12
 
coojofresh says:
change is good.
11/26/12
 
falcon50driver says:
Change is not always good.
11/26/12
 
mmontisano says:
sacrilege.
11/27/12
 
Matt F says:
You could've used a better photo than someone holding their sack!
11/27/12
 
windowsurfer says:
+1 joe jones.
11/27/12
 
lee337phx says:
>Matt, you'll note that my hand/arm is leaning on my leg, very close to my knee...I guess I should consider your comment a compliment?
>Mustang, Joe, Falcon, Bad, and Window....I played there, the day after that picture was taken; it is the place, location, history, that is magical - I agree that changing it seems....wrong....yes, someone with pro-skills and familiarity with the course could shoot a world-record round (assuming the golf-gods, natural-elements, and those particularly evil undulating greens allowed it)..."these guys/gals are good".
>the Trust, and the R&A...although unintentional in the picture, perhaps it was a channeling gesture from Morris, Player, Palmer, Nicklaus, Watson, et al? (one can feel the presence(s), standing on that bridge).
2/16/13
 
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