For only the sixth time in 600 years of history a new golf course opened at St Andrews Links, the Home of Golf, today.
The Castle Course was opened by the Duke of York at a special ceremony attended by around 150 leading figures from the world of golf and from golf clubs and organizations in St Andrews.
Continuing a line which began when the first track was cut through the gorse to create what became the Old Course, The Castle Course is the seventh course run by St Andrews Links Trust and the first championship-length 18-hole golf course to open at the Links for more than 100 years.
The Duke of York, a former captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, unveiled a commemorative plaque at the first tee of The Castle Course and declared the course officially open for play.
The first tee shot was struck by Edwin Burtnett, from Tampa, Florida, who won the worldwide competition to name the course which was held in November 2006. Edwin was one of 12 people out of more than 4000 entries to suggest The Castle Course. He and his wife Tiffany were invited to the opening ceremony as guests of honour.
Stuart Maxwell, the Scottish Minister for Communities and Sport, attended the ceremony as did the Lord Lieutenant for Fife Margaret Dean and Provost of Fife and St Andrews Links Trustee Frances Melville.
The Duke of York was given a short tour of the course by designer David McLay Kidd and later attended a reception in The Castle Course Clubhouse.
St Andrews Links Trust chairman Alastair Dempster said, We are honoured to have The Duke of York conduct the official opening of The Castle Course. This is a historic occasion not just for golf in St Andrews but for Scotland as a whole. It is the most substantial project undertaken by the Links Trust and we are very pleased with the outcome. We believe The Castle Course will be an excellent addition to the Scottish golf scene and will attract golfers from near and far for many years to come.
General Manager Alan McGregor said, The brief for The Castle Course was to design an enjoyable and challenging course which would make the most of the splendid location here on the cliff tops overlooking St Andrews. I think David and his co-designer Paul Kimber have achieved that goal. The course boasts some wonderful holes which offer views out over the ancient town of St Andrews, out to the North Sea and to the Angus coast and the Grampian mountains in the distance. The Castle Course will provide a different test of golf to the other courses in St Andrews. We hope it will encourage visiting golfers to spend longer in town as well as offering something new to local golfers.
Edwin came up with the name after reading about Kinkell Castle which occupied part of the site, near the current location of the clubhouse, in the late Middle Ages. The course logo is adapted from a Scottish peers helmet which forms part of the Monnypenny family crest. The Monnypennys of Pitmillie owned the land in this period.
After hitting the first ceremonial drive, Edwin said, It was pretty nerve-wracking with so many people watching but it is a memory I will treasure for the rest of my life. I love golf and have been fascinated by St Andrews and the courses here since my first visit a few years ago. This is a wonderful golf course and I am very proud to have played a part in naming it.
The Castle Course sits on 220 acre site above Kinkell Braes to the south-east of St Andrews. The par 71 course has five tees on every hole which vary the length from 5460 to 6759 yards. The championship length is 7188 yards.
The clubhouse features a striking circular design and has a glass-fronted restaurant overlooking Kinkell Ness, the furthest outcrop of the cliffs. The building has a geothermal heating and cooling system which generates energy from the earth using 150m deep boreholes and heat pumps. The installation of the system received support from the Scottish Communities and Households Renewables Initiative (SCHRI) which is funded by the Scottish Executive through the Energy Saving Trust.
The Castle Course is open for public play and its first season runs until 31 October. Next year it will open from April to October. Tee times can be booked online at www.standrews.org.uk or by contacting the Reservations department on 001334 466666 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
St Andrews Links Trust
St Andrews Unveils First New Course in 100 Years - COPIED
Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.
According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.
Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.
Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.
Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.
And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.
Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.
Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, GolfChannel.com writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:
The Monday morning headline will be …
REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.
RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.
MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.
JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.
Who or what will be the biggest surprise?
HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.
LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.
BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.
COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.
Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?
HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.
LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.
BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.
COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.
What will be the winning score?
HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.
LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.
BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.
COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.
Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty
Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.
Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.
This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):
While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:
Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.
McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.
Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.
“It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”
McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.
“Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”
He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.