Following the success of opening the Old Course for play in reverse on 1st April earlier this year, the St Andrews Links Management Committee has agreed to repeat the event next year, but for three days rather than one.
On Friday 4th April, Saturday 5th April and Monday 7th April 2003, golfers will again have the opportunity to play the 600-year-old Old Course in reverse – or on the left-hand circuit. The left-hand circuit is how the Old Course was traditionally played over 100 years ago in the days of Old Tom Morris, and brings into play a different set of hazards.
Golfers start on the 1st tee but play to the 17th green, then play from the 18th tee to the 16th green, and continue round the course in a clockwise direction, which is how the course always used to be played. The change of direction came about when Old Tom Morris, custodian of the Links at the end of the 19th century, created a new first green, opening up the possibility of an anti-clockwise circuit. For many years the course was played over both circuits on alternate weeks. As recently as the 1970s, it was still played in a clockwise direction for one month every winter.
The starting times for the three days in April 2003 will be allocated in the usual way through a combination of ballot and advance reservations. On Saturday it will be ballot only. For this special occasion, a unique three round package has been created to include two rounds on the Old, one forwards and one backwards, plus one round on another Links course. Bookings will be processed from 1st October. To make a booking contact the Reservations Office at the Links Trust, St Andrews.
“Very few golfers have had the opportunity to experience the Old Course both ways round,” explained Peter Mason, external relations manager at the Links Trust. “This package allows them to do that over the space of a couple of days or so and if last April is anything to go by, it will be very popular.”
St Andrews Links Trust www.standrews.org.uk