This year’s changes to several key holes on the Old Course will bring some of its many natural hazards back into play. Despite lengthening the course the changes will also reduce the amount of time it takes to play a round at the Home of Golf by ensuring that golfers should not have to wait as long to play from certain tees.
As of Tuesday, April 4, nine new tees come in to play taking the Old Course up to 6,721 yards from the plaques, an increase of 112 yards. The Standard Scratch Score from the medal tees will become 73 instead of 72.
Over the past few months several former championship tees have been converted to medal tees while others have been brought into line with the official measurements used for the Opens of 2000 and 2005.
The major adjustments are to holes 3, 9, 10 and 13 which, between them, account for 100 of the extra yards. The biggest change is to the 9th hole, which gains 40 yards and will now play at 347 yards.
Alan McGregor, general manager of St Andrews Links Trust, which maintains and administers the Old Course, said, “These changes are designed to improve the experience of playing the Old Course for golfers playing in medals. We continually monitor the pace of play on the Old Course and it has become apparent that delays can take place on some holes, such as the ninth. The extra yardage on these holes will enable golfers to hit their drives before the green is clear and so speed up play. It will also bring some features back into play off the tee such as the Kruger bunkers and the heather on the ninth. This can only add to the enjoyment of playing here.”
Other changes to the Old Course include the lengthening of the 10th hole to 340 yards, an increase of 22. The 13th hole, which played as the second toughest during last year’s Open, is now the third longest par 4 on the Old Course, at 418 yards.
Hole 3 has received an extra 18 yards, to bring it up to 370, creating a longer carry to the fairway. The remaining five holes that have been changed, 1, 11, 17 and 18, are now playing at exactly championship distance: 370, 174, 455 and 357 respectively. The 14th is now measured at 530 yards, an increase of seven yards, following the repositioning of the medal tee to the right of the teeing area.
The medal course is now only 212 yards shorter than the course set-up for the Opens of 1984, 1990 and 1995, which produced champions of the calibre of Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and John Daly.
Despite the lengthening of the Old Course, the Jubilee Course retains its position as the longest medal course on the Links at 6,742 yards.
St Andrews Links Trust www.standrews.org.uk.