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St Andrews golfers asked: ‘Is the Links Trust still fit for purpose?’

Hundreds of resident players are being surveyed amid concerns soaring visitor numbers at the Home of Golf are impacting on local tee times.

Connor Graham tees off on the Old Course during last year's Walker Cup. Image: David Young/Action Plus/Shutterstock
Connor Graham tees off on the Old Course during last year's Walker Cup. Image: David Young/Action Plus/Shutterstock

St Andrews golfers are being asked for their views on the Links Trust amid concerns record visitor numbers are impacting on local tee times.

A new association is launching a survey on how the game is managed on the hallowed Old Course and the Trust’s six other links courses.

And local players are being asked if they think change is needed at the Home of Golf.

The St Andrews Resident Golfers Association says the Links Trust focused on residents when it was set up in 1974.

The Old Course in St Andrews attracts thousands of visitors a year. Image: DC Thomson.

However, a spokesman added: “As golf has grown and visitor numbers have increased there is a feeling the golfing experience has been impacted.

“The purpose of this survey is to ask golfers what their views on the current arrangements are and what, if any, changes they would like to see.

“We would like as many golfers as possible to engage with us so we can get a clear understanding about how residents feel.”

‘Maintaining the rights of resident golfers’

The spokesman said the association aims to look after the interests of people who hold resident tickets for the links.

St Andrews Links Trust was created by an act of parliament to “maintain the links for the residents of the town and others”.

It is run by eight trustees – the local MP, along with three representatives from the R&A, three from Fife Council and one from the Scottish Government.

And its income comes from visitors and ticket holders.

Golf fans pose for photographs on the Swilcan Bridge at St Andrews, before the 150th Open Championship in 2022. Image: AP Photo/Peter Morrison.

The new resident golfers association has created a website, asking if the act is still fit for purpose.

And it says if residents want to see their rights preserved “all options for improvement should be considered”.

The website adds: “Over time there has been a perceived dilution in the golfing experience of local residents due in large part to record numbers of visitors pressuring a finite number of tee times.

“The association comprises like-minded individuals who wish to maintain the rights of resident golfers and to provide a conduit for local issues to be raised.”

How to take part in St Andrews Links Trust survey

There are around 700 resident ticket-holders in St Andrews.

However, the St Andrews Resident Golfers Association says they do not have a voice on the Links Trust.

The website continues: “There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that residents are unhappy with access to the courses.

“The number of visitors and the extension of the playing season means the courses do not have time to recover and are deteriorating.

“In order to protect the interests of the resident golfer, we believe it is important that as many residents as possible support the association and make their views known.”

The survey launches today (April 17) and anyone who wants to take part can register on the website.

Alternatively, they can email standrewsresidentgolfer@gmail.comĀ 

It is understood the Links Trust recently carried out its own survey of residents’ views and the results are awaited.

The trust declined to comment on the new association or its survey.

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