Subtle changes made in the Old Course

Next stop for the storied Open Championship? Scotland and the Old Course at St. Andrews, one of the Forecaddie’s faves (he almost can taste that first beer at The Dunvegan).

It’s not as if the Old Course never changes, and next July, players will be greeted with some new features. Some bunkers at the third and fourth holes have been removed or repositioned, but the biggest alteration is the addition of a bunker down the fairway on the left side of the drivable par-4 ninth (named End). The hole has two bunkers on the right side, but previously did not have one on the left.

Gordon Moir, director of greenskeeping at the Links Trust, said the heather that used to protect the left side of the fairway has receded to a point that it’s no longer a hazard. Because the plant does not grow easily when transplanted, the solution was a new bunker.

“They will just have to think if they want to take a chance (driving the green), because that bunker is 30 yards short of the green,” Moir tells The Forecaddie. “That’s quite a penal bunker shot. It could be a tougher challenge.”

The changes were planned years ago and implemented last winter. Don’t worry; they look like they’ve been there since Old Tom Morris roamed the links.

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the July 25, 2014 issue of Golfweek magazine; click here to subscribe.

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