A record number of rounds were played on the six St Andrews Links courses in 2001, despite the impacts of foot and mouth disease and 11th September tragedy. The new record of 215,000 is over 7,000 rounds more than the previous highest total, set in 1997. Rounds played by local golfers increased to 123,500 while visitor rounds rose to 91,500.
“While it is often the case that the Links are busy after an Open Championship year, 2001 was not a good year for tourism generally and the Links were certainly affected. However, these figures show the power of St Andrews to attract golfers even in difficult circumstances,” said Alan McGregor, general manager of St Andrews Links Trust.
The new record confirms the forecasts made by the Trust’s Capacity and Population Working Party set up in 1998. Growth in play on the Links was emerging as a clear trend fuelled by a number of factors. These included improving quality of the courses’ condition, growth in the town’s population, new golf courses in the area drawing more visitors and the willingness of more people to travel to play golf from elsewhere in the UK and abroad.
In 1999, the Trust introduced limits on the number of yearly tickets available for those living outside the town. These limits were reached two years ago despite being set well above the 1998 levels.
“The existing courses are heading for capacity as predicted and the probable need for a seventh golf course was identified three years ago. The search for suitable land has been continuing and I am optimistic that the project will progress further in the near future,” said Mr McGregor.
St Andrews Links Trust www.standrews.org.uk