It’s a year since St Andrews golf chiefs provoked a storm of fury by installing a “patio” at the Swilcan Bridge.
The Links Trust’s efforts to prevent wear and tear at the iconic Old Course landmark became global news, with former Open champion Nick Faldo among the critics.
One golf fan even likened it to “drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa”.
The 700-year-old bridge is one of the most famous spots in golf.
And while the stone structure was quickly removed by red-faced workers, a year on it seems the issue lingers in the memories of many golf fans.
One golfer joked this week: “This will always be how I choose to remember the Old Course.”
Another added: “I want to go back to the period in time where the patio built on the Swilcan Bridge was the biggest issue in golf…”
But while the patio may have gone, the issue of wear remains, with thousands of tourists emulating sports’ biggest names every year.
So what is the Links Trust’s plan B?
Swilcan Bridge patio ‘not in keeping’
It’s no secret such substantial foot traffic damages the grass and causes erosion.
And this is a headache for the Trust charged with keeping the course above par.
They bowed to public pressure during last year’s “Swilcan Bridge patio” hoo-ha, saying they were “unable to create a look in keeping with the iconic setting”.
And they have since explored a range of options in the hope of finding a permanent solution.
And it seems they have now gone back to basics and are keeping on top of it through regular upkeep.
A spokesperson said: “Our greenkeeping team are undertaking a regular cycle of reseeding and returfing the area around the Swilcan Bridge as and when required in order to maintain the area in as good order as possible.
“This is the most appropriate solution for the issue at this time.”
Reseeding welcomed as ‘more discreet’
St Andrews councillor Jane Ann Liston welcomed the approach, describing it as much more discreet.
“Some locals get very exercised by any change to historic parts of St Andrews, including the Links,” she said.
“But I think visitors would have been bit surprised by seeing something so obvious on the golf course.
“What they’re doing now is certainly far better.”