Plans for a rubber roof to protect one of the world’s most iconic hotels from damage by stray golf balls are now in full swing.
The Old Course Hotel Golf Resort and Spa in St Andrews sits right alongside the famous 17th Road Hole on the Old Course itself, but its prime position at the Home of Golf has had one major pitfall.
Errant shots have seen the 28-year-old slate roof on the hotel peppered by golf balls, which has caused thousands of pounds worth of damage each year and prompted the hotel’s owners to take action.
Work on a new rubber roof has now begun, and golf course officials have been putting up netting to ensure the safety of roofing crews ahead of the hotel’s reopening in April.
“There has been a natural wear and tear over the last 28 years which does include golf ball damage,” a spokesperson for the Old Course Hotel explained.
“The new roof is an accurate replication of the current roof, so there will be no change the the overall look of the hotel, which has become iconic in the world of golf.
“The new roof has the ability to absorb and deflect the energy from golf ball impact without any dents, cracks or damage, too.”
The iconic Road Hole is known as a risk and reward hole, with players who aim right potentially shortening their approach to the green.
However, many golfers from all walks of life have come a cropper and have unwittingly brought the hotel into play.
Former Open champion Phil Mickelson famously fired his tee shot on to one of the balconies at the hotel back in 2015 when St Andrews last staged The Open, while Englishman Eddie Pepperell struck the hotel’s roof during the same tournament.
“The 17th hole of St Andrews Old Course, also known as The Road Hole, is one of the most famous holes in golf, many people, both amateur and professional travel from all over the world to try it out,” the spokesperson noted.
“It’s known as one of the toughest par 4 holes, so we couldn’t possibly hold it against anyone for a wayward shot every now and then.
“We really don’t mind the wayward shots – it’s safe to say we’ve all been there at one time or another.”
The main hotel is currently closed for roof and window maintenance and a soft refurbishment of over 100 of the 144 guest rooms, with changes to the décor of the rooms and the introduction of features such as USB charging points, ergonomic electrical outlets and closet lighting also included.
Although the main hotel is expected to be closed until April 13, the famous Jigger Inn, The Duke’s Golf Course and Hams Hame will remain open throughout.
Calgary-based Euroshield was selected to provide the rubber roofing, with the company’s “heritage slate” coming out on top in a world-wide search for the best materials.
“I was up on the hotel and the gutters are just full of golf balls,” Euroshield owner Henry Kamphuis said.
“They looked at a number of different products and hit them all with a hammer and ours was the one that stood up to it.”
The installation itself is being undertaken by Braisby Roofing of Dunfermline.