• New course layout became global standard-bearer.
• Date marks 'milestone in golf’s rich history'.
OLD COURSE, ST ANDREWS
St Andrews will celebrate a major milestone tomorrow, with the 250th anniversary of the 18 holes at the Old Course.
Originally a 22-hole layout, the decision to reduce arguably the world’s most famous links to 18 holes was taken on October 4, 1764, and would become the standard-bearer for courses around the world.
On that day, and following the challenge for the Silver Club, a meeting took place of the Society of St Andrews Golfers. One of the minutes from that meeting reads: “The Captain and Gentlemen Golfers present are of the opinion that it would be for the improvement of the Links that the four first holes should be converted into two."
The removal of two holes - four in total going out and back - in subsequent years meant the Old Course would become, around that period, ten holes, of which eight were played twice.
In the decades that followed, the Old Course continued to evolve as the links and surrounding areas developed, from playing the course backwards through to new greens being built and holes so familiar today became mapped out.
"The resultant changes to the Old Course had a huge impact on the way the game would be played forever." - Euan Loudon
By the mid-19th century, the 18-hole format at St Andrews had become the blueprint for golf with new and existing courses across the world all following its 18-hole layout.
Euan Loudon, chief executive of St Andrews Links, said: “This important date marks another milestone in the game of golf’s rich history and the special place St Andrews, the Home of Golf, holds for this great game.
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“The Society of St Andrews Golfers may not have appreciated the ramifications of the decision they made on October 4, 1764, but those individuals and the resultant changes to the Old Course had a huge impact on the way the game would be played forever.
“The records show they took the decision because they sought to improve the links and that commitment to improving this magical place resonates with everyone here at the links today.
“Staff across the links work tirelessly to honour and respect the history of St Andrews and to improve the experience of every golfer coming here, be it the world number one competing this weekend or those securing a cherished tee time in the ballot next week.”
To celebrate the 250th anniversary, the links has released a specially commissioned time-lapse video highlighting the daily efforts of the greenkeeping team at the Old Course, above.
The video was recorded as the Old Course greenkeeping team, led by course manager Gordon McKie, prepared for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which celebrates a 30-year association with St Andrews this week.
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