The Jigger Inn at St Andrews has welcomed many an Open champion over the decades, and witnessed some amazing celebrations. This week, it held an unrivalled party.
‘The Jigger’ recognised its longest standing member of staff with a very fond farewell to landlady, Antoinette Leask, as she called ‘last orders’ for the final time in the world of golf’s most famous 19th hole.
Antoinette arrived at the Jigger in the summer of 1992 and became landlady five years later. For almost two decades, and for over half of the pub’s lifetime, the iconic 19th hole has been Antoinette’s “second home”. She has served no fewer than four Opens and an impressive thirteen Alfred Dunhill Championships.
Antoinette comments; “I’ve absolutely loved working here. They have been some of the most enjoyable and rewarding years of my working life. I’m especially proud of the Jigger team I’ve helped to build.”
The Jigger is owned by the five red star Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa. Resort Director of Operations, David Scott, says: “Antoinette is a one off. Her unique character has made the Jigger the envy of 19th holes around the world … and ensured golfers from all four corners have lifelong memories of their time in this historic pub.” David adds: “She has an incredible skill for remembering names and faces – customers’ likes and dislikes – and she treats everyone the same, whether you are a prince or a pauper!”
Herb Kohler, CEO of KOHLER Co., owners of the resort, flew in from the USA with his wife, Natalie Kohler, to be a part of the farewell party at the Jigger that saw senior members of the resort’s team as well as members of the R&A join the celebrations.
Antoinette recalls: “In a conversation some years ago with Mr. Kohler, he described The Jigger as his train set… but I assured him that I was the driver! It’s an honour that my colleagues would organise such a send off. I will never forget it.”
David Scott, Director of Operations at the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa says: “Antoinette has been the undisputed face, heart and soul of the Jigger for over 20 years. On top of that, she’s been a fantastic colleague and a friend to all at the resort. Her blarney is legendary and she will be a very tough act to follow. We’re very sad to see her go, but we wish her an incredibly happy and much deserved retirement.”
Antoinette is not going too far afield: “This is the first year I won’t be working at the Open Championship. I plan to enjoy the event on the course for the first time – and hope I bump into some friends out on the links.”