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Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...


Home of Golf’s youth renaissance

April 5 2013

It was one of the mysteries of Scottish maybe even world golf, but the solution was, in the end, reasonably simple. Despite being the Home of Golf, despite having more courses than some reasonably large countries, despite having a club which has a decent claim to having more single-handicap players than any other in the world, the lack of decent players on the national and international stage out of St Andrews in the last two decades has been, frankly, pretty pathetic. James Bunch won the Scottish Boys Strokeplay title in 1993 and Krystle Caithness really from Anstruther rather than St Andrews won a number of top women’s events and played for GB&I women in the Curtis Cup. But there was no impact on the pros and this was a shocking return from the town where the game is or should be in the genes. The breakthrough was reasonably modest Euan Scott, identified early on as a possible contender, won the English Under-14s championship, the McGregor Trophy, four years ago. Then Ben Kinsley, also of the St Andrews club, took the Scottish Under-16 title at Forfar in 2011. Just over a week later, the New Club’s Josh Jamieson won the Under-18 version, the Scottish Boys strokeplay previously won by Bunch. Last year Euan reached the Scottish Boys’ final and won the Scottish Youths at Ladybank a month after that. Then Lauren Whyte, of the ladies' St Regulus club, won the Scottish Girls’ title. Euan and Lauren went to Australia in the winter and won gold in the Youth Olympics. Euan, Ben and Alasdair McDougall made the last 32 of the Scottish Boys this week at Monifieth. What’s happened? The key was £50,000 a year from the Links Trust put into the St Andrews Links Junior Golf Association in 2003. They also set the template for the youth foundations run by top pros Paul Lawrie and Stephen Gallacher. Euan, Ben, Josh and Lauren all were in the first class of SALJGA, and exactly ten years later they’re all among the top young players in Scotland. There’s more coming through, and a good chance that some will “train on” and become standard bearers for the Home of the Game within the top echelon of the game. That just sounds like the way it should be, right?


Goggle into Scotland’s past with new list of old objects

July 21 2017

Snow goggles used by Captain Scott on his ill-fated voyage to Antarctica have been named as one of the objects which helped shape Scottish history. Scott's goggles, a simple design by today's standards which protected his eyes from snow glare and howling winds, have been named in the list of 25 objects which shaped Scotland by an expert panel. Other Courier Country antiquities made the list, with the Carpow Logboat and the Tom Morris Junior Medal also featuring. The Tom Morris medal sits in place at the British Golf Museum in St Andrews, and was awarded in place of the now-famous Claret Jug, which was still awaiting commission in 1872. The Carpow Logboat — which dates back to around 1000BC — was unearthed from the sand of the Tay Estuary in 2001 and now sits proudly in the Perth Museum and Art Gallery. The objects have been compiled into a new e-book, which details artefacts from across the country as part of Scotland's year of history, heritage and archaeology. Paul Jennings, RRS Discovery executive director, said: "It is brilliant that Captain Scott’s goggles have made this list. "The British National Geographical Antarctic Expedition in 1901-04 was ground-breaking and the equipment used during this epic adventure was designed to last. "RRS Discovery was built in Dundee, designed specifically for Antarctic research, the ship itself is of international significance, and a visit gives an insight into how these brave men coped in the harshest of conditions in one of the most inhospitable places on earth." Visit Scotland, who have curated the list, hopes museums and destinations where the objects are held will notice an increase in visitor numbers over the next 12 months, thanks to the e-book. Judy Chance, museum manager at the British Golf Museum in St Andrews, said they were delighted to have the Tom Morris Jr medal included. She said: "Tom Morris Jr was presented with this gold medal when he became Champion Golfer of the Year for the fourth time in 1872. "The Open is golf’s oldest championship. Played since 1860 on iconic links golf courses, it is the sport’s most international Major Championship. "The inclusion of the medal in the top 25 reflects the importance of golf in the fabric of Scotland’s rich culture. We are delighted to be able to present it for the public to view in the British Golf Museum." Other curiosities which made the list include Dolly the Sheep, the Robert the Bruce equestrian statue and Scotland's oldest football.


St Andrews University principal talks of ‘silly’ treatment by R&A

July 14 2014

The first female principal of St Andrews University has broken her silence on the Royal and Ancient Golf Club’s all-male membership policy and accused club members of taunting her. Louise Richardson, appointed in 2009, has previously refused to comment on not being made an honorary member of the all-male club, as was the case with the two men who preceded her in the post of head of Scotland’s oldest university. However as the club prepares to vote on admitting women members on September 18, Ms Richardson, an American, has spoken out in an interview given to the New York Times. In it, she admits she did not challenge the “anachronistic” policy of the R&A when she took up her chair at St Andrews because she did not want it to become an issue. “I, being kind of a professional and a pragmatist, said, ‘Oh, we can work something out; this is silly’,” she told Karen Crouse of the NYT. “But little did I know.” Ms Richardson has consistently refused interviews on the subject with the media in the UK, which led many to assume she was not concerned about the club’s policy as she was not a golfer. However, as the article reveals, she has played golf since she was a young girl, and the club’s all-male policy has made her job difficult. “The last thing I want to do is sound strident about this because on my list of concerns, it’s not high up there, and yet it’s tough when you think about it,” she said. “Here’s St Andrews University, ranked third in the UK, we’re an organisation of 10,000 people, we support 9,000 jobs, I run this place very successfully, and I’m not allowed in the clubhouse 600 yards from my house?” There have been situations where the club and university’s interests have involved her mixing with members at functions, which on occasion involved club members “waving their ties in her face”, she adds, “to draw my attention, as they think that’s funny”. “Once or twice, female professors have seen me in situations where I’m surrounded by men wearing their R&A ties, and they get really upset and offended for me,” she adds in the article. The difficulty of the relationship mostly manifests itself in Ms Richardson being unable to take university benefactors to the R&A clubhouse if they request it. “If a supporter of the university wants to have lunch in the R&A clubhouse I have to get someone I know to take them when I should be cultivating that relationship,” she adds.


Scotscraig tees off 200th anniversary celebrations

April 3 2017

The 13th oldest golf club in the world has teed off its 200th anniversary celebrations. Scotscraig Golf Club members enjoyed a dinner in Dundee’s Apex Hotel, with guests including players from sister club, Race Brook Golf and Country Club in Connecticut. Festivities during the bicentenary year will also include hosting the Scottish boys amateur championship, a series of grand matches and a tournament for members of 18 of the oldest clubs in Europe. The Tayport club was founded in 1817 by members of the St Andrews Society of Golfers, which went on to become the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. In 1892 20-year-old carpenter Robert Pryde, a regular player on Scotscraig, emigrated from Tayport to the USA and became one of its most highly-esteemed golf course designers and coaches. One of the courses he designed was Race Brook. Club president George Anderson said: “The club is full of history. “We play for one of the oldest medals in golf, the Gold Medal, which was first played in 1818. “We are continuing to maintain the history of the club and the course. “It is very important that we mark this occasion.” Scotscraig course was originally laid out over six holes under the guidance of Old Tom Morris and extended to nine holes in 1888. In 1923 it was redesigned with the assistance of James Braid, one of golf’s great triumvirate. Restoration of the champion course to its original layout was completed in February in time for the bicentenary celebrations. This included renovation of its 55 bunkers and widening of the fairways in the first 150 yards. Scotscraig only discovered in 2012 that a former member had become a founding father of golf in America. An unexpected invitation to the Race Brook centenary celebrations led to the partnership between the two clubs. Pryde was also one of America’s most sought-after greenkeepers and made golf clubs. Research into Pryde, son of a local coal merchant, also found that he was the uncle of the club’s former ladies captain, the late Gertrude Paton. A cabinet in Wormit was also discovered, still owned by his relatives, and said to be made from wood from a carriage of the train lost in the Tay Rail Disaster. On Saturday, April 8, a tournament will be held for members of Scotscraig and Race Brook.


R&A women members vote: so easy, you think they’d have done it sooner

September 18 2014

In the end, it was almost easy. Which really makes one wonder why it took them so long. 85 per cent of the membership of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews agreed to admit women to golf’s most prominent and symbolic organisation in Thursday other historic vote. Of course, 15 per cent of the membership maybe as many as 400 voted against, which still beggars belief in the 21st century, but Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A and secretary of the club, was right to call it an “overwhelming” decision. Significantly, Dawson also got approval for the fast-tracking of a number of prominent women in golf through the R&A’s complex membership admission process. These women believed to number 15 will all be of significant standing within golf, as much as within society, because that’s the R&A’s core value. They’ll probably be mostly connected to the amateur game or administration of golf, as that is the club’s primary ethos. Expect leading members of the women’s golf clubs in St Andrews, the St Rule and St Regulus. Expect figures like Carole Semple Thompson and Belle Robertson, the most celebrated women amateurs from the USA and Scotland. Expect Judy Bell, the only USGA past president not offered R&A membership, and Louise Richardson, the only principal of St Andrews University in recent times not to be a member. If you’re expecting a superstars or celebrities, expect to be disappointed. Much recent attention has been focused on the similar membership policies of Open Championship venues, but it was the R&A themselves of the remaining all-male bastions that had to move first. Unlike the others, the R&A’s standing in the game, identified as governing body of golf to all parts of the world other than the USA and Mexico even if those responsibilities were split from the actual club to a separate organisation 10 years ago made it untenable to be discriminatory in any form. Some believed if the R&A continued to be intransigent, they risked losing their cherished status in the game. That, and some gentle pressure from the business world which sponsors the R&A many activities, made any other result in the vote unthinkable. That pressure will now switch to The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield, Royal Troon and Royal St George’s. It’s also a vindication for Dawson. Long and wrongly identified as the bastion against change when he was in the impossible position of defending the indefensible, he has deftly and patiently piloted the vote through in his final year as chief executive and secretary.


£25 million golf development threatened with legal action for using St Andrews in name

December 16 2013

The applicant behind a £25 million golf course and clubhouse under construction near St Andrews has been warned it faces legal action by bosses at the home of golf unless all mention of St Andrews is removed from its internationally-marketed development, The Courier has learned. St Andrews International Golf Club (SIGC), which is developing an ambitious private golf course in Feddinch, three miles outside St Andrews, has been told “if an adequate and expedient resolution cannot be found, St Andrews Links Trust (SALT)... intend to raise legal action for passing off in the Court of Session.” In legal letters received by SIGC last week, it has been told “all references to St Andrews International should be abandoned” within a fortnight. The letters on behalf of SALT and its wholly-owned subsidiary St Andrews Links Ltd (SALL) add the SIGC (which comprises St Andrews International Golf Club Ltd and Feddinch Developments Ltd) should “irrevocably adopt a trading name which does not contain the term ‘St Andrews’.” The charitable trust, which manages seven public golf courses including the Old Course, claims SIGC’s use of the name St Andrews is “fundamentally misleading” and is causing confusion in a worldwide market where the name St Andrews is synonymous with the reputation and commercial viability of the SALT-managed Old Course and the Home of Golf. The links trust claims SIGC’s marketing programme “capitalises on the proximity to an implied connection with St Andrews Links”. It also claims the “scope and potential for commercial success is greatly increased by the new golf course assimilating itself with an established global golf brand”. SIGC, which is about to launch a membership programme worldwide, declined to comment on Sunday. It is understood the Angus-based director of the development, Ewan McKay, believes SALT’s stance contradicts previous claims no local businesses will be affected. A letter dated December 10 from Murray and Donald solicitors’ corporate partner Alistair Lang, acting for SALT, requests SIGC remove its St Andrews affiliations from all company material and publicity within a fortnight. It requests that acceptance of the suggestion be made known to SALT’s legal partners by January 10. It is understood the proposed solution and offer of settlement by SALT will be formally rejected by SIGC in due course. A spokesman for SALT said: “We have taken legal advice and been advised that these two companies (St Andrews International Golf Club Ltd and Feddinch Developments Ltd) are committing the legal wrong of passing off. “It is our intention to pursue the current litigation action in order to ensure that this activity desists.” Earlier this year, various golf-related businesses in St Andrews sought clarification from the links trust on similar issues. Two months ago, a legal dispute broke out between SALT and another company which wants to use the St Andrews name to sell its clubs. The St Andrews Golf Company, which is based just outside the Fife town, has been in business in the area for more than 130 years. But when the company, which encompasses a number of historic clubmakers in the town, recently tried to register its trademarks with the Intellectual Property Office, it was astounded to learn that objections were lodged by the St Andrews Links Trust.


Multi-million pound St Andrews golf development ‘definitely not dead’

July 28 2015

A multi-million pound golf development near St Andrews is “definitely not dead” and will be taken forward by a newly created business team. The Feddinch Club’s head of membership attainment, Ollie Dury, said a new vision had been drawn up for the 18-hole golf course development on the former Feddinch farmland site near the town. Mr Dury, 42, who lives in St Andrews and has 20 years’ experience in golf business and management, said a new management team had been pulled together over the past two months and efforts were now at the early stages to attract founder partners and members. Whereas the previously named St Andrews International Golf Club (SAIGC) had envisaged a development whereby members paid to simply become members of the club which was owned by stakeholders, a fundamental change of direction, visualised by SAIGC director Ewan McKay, was that the development should now see members actually own part of the development including the land. It would be run on a “not for profit” basis, Mr Dury said, and as well as golf would offer access to other high end pursuits such as shooting and fishing. It was hoped that most of the members would be drawn on a “referrals” basis through business contacts and that a broad membership base could be secured from across Europe, the USA, China and the Far East. Mr Dury said local people could soon expect to see the resumption of work on irrigation at the Feddinch course, which was designed by 1973 Open champion Tom Weiskopf. An exact date could not be given, as this would be dependent on financial input and the weather aspects of seeding the course, but Mr Dury anticipated the development could open in “2017 at the earliest and 2018 at the latest”. He said: “I’m very confident this will succeed, because St Andrews is a very unique place. “As far as I’m aware it would be the only private club that has its own golf club in St Andrews, which is going to be appealing, and will have its own accommodation lodging etc which means members will have somewhere to stay which is home. It’s private, it’s secure. There’s a lot of people out there who are in a position to join a club who can’t get that sort of privacy anywhere else. “We are not looking at thousands of members and we are looking for an international base. “Start dividing that up by countries and it’s not a huge number per country. Hopefully the majority will be by referral. “So I am confident. I’ve worked in the golf industry a long timelike everything else it comes down to the right vision, the right belief and you’ve got to have the right people around the project to make it a success.”


History is one thing, but single-sex clubs belong in the past

April 25 2013

It would be quite easy to be beguiled by Peter Dawson’s magnificent office in the R&A clubhouse at St Andrews. It certainly the best office in golf, and has a good shout to be the finest anywhere. There’s a balcony sitting directly above the first tee of the Old Course, with the obvious panoramic view. Inside, it’s airy and spacious, and there are three or four historic maps of the Old Course, including the one drawn up by none other than Alister Mackenzie, the designer of Augusta, Cypress Point and other classics, who surveyed the links for the R&A in the 1920s. One shudders to think what golf memorabilia enthusiasts would pay for this unique treasure. Well into six figures, probably. The sole concession to modernity are the newish windows the old ones made it a sauna in summer and the huge flatscreen TV, the only thing in the office that looks slightly incongruous. Concessions to modernity, of course, are done exceptionally slowly in the rarified world of the R&A. The chief executive’s main reason for calling the press into the inner sanctum of golf’s most famous organisation was, quite clearly, to try and head off a testing debate about single-sex golf clubs, including the one that employs him. On Monday is the Open Championship Media Day at Muirfield, where the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers remain strictly all-male. The equality debate was sure to surface there, and Dawson wanted to get his point of view over first. There’s nothing really wrong with that, there will be plenty other things to discuss at Muirfield. In addition, Dawson is entitled to have his and R&A’s view of single-sex clubs aired, and they are concerned the old myths being trotted out about signs stating “Dogs on Leash No Women” or the Queen being paid homage at the gates of Muirfield but not being allowed in. A reasoned debate on this subject benefits all. So let’s have one. My issue is not with Muirfield, with Royal Troon or with Royal St George’s, the other all-male clubs on the Open rota who operate perfectly legally. Nor is it with the clubs Dawson says wish steadfastly to stay single-sex, for example the St Andrews and New Clubs, and the ladies’ St Rule and St Regulus clubs at the links they share with the R&A. But the R&A, whether he or its members like it or not, and no matter whether its governing duties were separated from the club legally in 2004, is different. It stands for something broader, something profound and symbolic within the world of golf. It governs the game the majority of committees that run golf day-to-day are stacked with R&A men and it has an ethical duty to be representative, which it can’t possibly be in its current form. In the hour-long discussion with Dawson and the press last week there was much talk of perception. The chief executive doesn’t think it is a problem and he insists that no harm is caused by single-sex clubs. While conceding that there is a “direction of travel” and “change in temperature” soundbites he left in the air as a sort of hint that the R&A will probably admit women members at some far-off point he suggested that the ladies clubs at St Andrews would be upset if the R&A admitted women members. Really? If the R&A gave an honorary membership, as they have done to distinguished players throughout the club’s history, to Annika Sorenstam, or Catriona Matthew, or Carole Semple Thompson or Belle Robertson, how could anyone really be offended? Would doing that be tokenistic? Maybe, even probably. Augusta National have been accused of that for admitting two women members. But like there, once the step had been taken, there would be no turning back. And the damaging perception of misogyny that brings golf into disrepute worldwide would finally be ended.


Driving-in ceremony sees new R&A captain take office

September 23 2016

The traditional driving-in ceremony for the new captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews took place on the first tee of the Old Course on Friday. Keith Macintosh began his year in office with a drive at precisely 8am as a cannon fired alongside the tee. A large crowd of onlookers gathered to watch the ceremony along with a number of past captains. Mr Macintosh will represent the R&A and support its work in developing golf around the world. He will attend championships in the professional and amateur games and assume an ambassadorial role. “I was a little more relaxed on the driving range than I was there," Mr Macintosh said of his strike. He added: "When you look around at all the distinguished past captains it makes you feel pretty intimidated and humble really. "I am very much looking forward to serving as captain and representing the club.” A distinguished amateur golfer, Mr Macintosh won the Scottish Amateur Championship at Prestwick in 1979 and the Belgian Open Amateur Championship the following year. The former Scotland international was also a member of the Great Britain and Ireland St Andrews Trophy team that defeated the Continent of Europe 19.5 to 10.5 at Royal St George’s in 1980. He has served on the Amateur Status and Finance Committees of the R&A and has been a member since 1994. In 1999 he won the Royal Medal, the club’s principal scratch medal prize at its Autumn Meeting. An honorary member of Cardross Golf Club and former chairman of Prestwick Golf Club. Mr Macintosh plays to a handicap of three. He was born in Cardross, Argyll in 1949 and studied law at Glasgow University before serving his legal apprenticeship in the city and becoming a solicitor at a practice in Dumbarton. In 1987, he was appointed company secretary of Clydesdale Bank. After nine years in the role he returned to practising law as a partner in practices in Glasgow and then Dumbarton and Helensburgh. He retired in 2009. Mr Macintosh lives with his wife Diana and has two sons, Stewart and Scott. In the past, the club captaincy was bestowed on the winner of the annual Challenge for the Silver Club but by the early 19th Century the captaincy had become an elected office. Part of the tradition is that a gold sovereign is paid by the new captain to buy his golf ball back from the caddie who retrieves and returns it. Experienced caddie John Boyne returned the captain’s ball for the first time in his 15th season on the links. He said: “I’m relieved because I can’t run any more. I’m getting older and older and I was thinking this moment was disappearing. "Since 2002, I’ve been watching the ball going down my right side, or left side, and never actually into my arms so I’m delighted for a change.”