The Links Trust release (linked to above) is the worse news that I have heard for some time. To change, or make alterations to, the sacred OLD COURSE in St. Andrews should not be allowed in my opinion. “They” have made some subtle changes over the years, usually as part of maintaining the existing course – while I live there for a few years we noticed bunkers being “restored”, the Road Hole bunker has been changed considerably since the Open when a Japanese pro (his caddie was Nial Ballingall, the super at Fairmont), new Open tees were built (used every 5 years and not a problem), etc. But when they start to say “recontour”, and “create more hole locations” and “reposition bunkers” and “retaining the spirit and character of the Old Course”, well the remaining hair on the back of my neck becomes startled. The 11th hole is the best par three hole in the world, why should it be recontoured so the greens can be speeded up?
Peter Dawson, CE of the R&A which runs the OPEN $$$ each year says the modifications are being made so the “Old Course presents a stiffer challenge to professional golfers’ (every 5 years during the Open). This is hogwash, the professionals should just play the course and try to beat all the other players – if they shoot 59 or better, no problem, they have better equipment that Old Tom, or Peter Thompson, or Jack Nicklaus. What Peter Dawson and the R&A should have done is control the equipment used, leave the historic playing field in place, protect our game. I’ve met Peter Dawson, walked 18 holes with him as we discussed how to set up our Torrance Course for Open Qualifying. He’s a nice man, and very powerful. If he tells the trustees running the Links Trust to do something, they’ll do it. Some of the Links Trust trustees don’t even play golf!
Please check Anthony Pioppi’s website, and if you care, voice your opinion somewhere.