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Old Course Evolves


The Old Course at St. Andrews will present golfers with a new challenge this April. Over the past few months several former championship tees have been converted to medal tees, while others have been brought into line with the official measurements used for the British Opens of 2000 and ‘05.

As of April 4, nine new tees will stretch the Old Course to 6,721 yards, an increase of 112 yards. The Standard Scratch Score from the medal tees will become 73 instead of 72. This year's changes also bring some of the natural hazards back into play. Despite the new length, the modifications should actually reduce the amount of time it takes to play a round at the “Home of Golf” by ensuring that golfers won’t wait as long from certain tees.

The major adjustments are at hole Nos. 3, 9, 10 and 13 which, between them, account for 100 of the extra yards. The biggest change is at the 9th hole, which gains 40 yards and will now play at 347 yards.

Alan McGregor, general manager of St Andrews Links Trust, which maintains and administers the Old Course, said, "These changes are designed to improve the experience of playing the Old Course for golfers playing in medals. We continually monitor the pace of play on the Old Course and it has become apparent that delays can take place on some holes, such as the ninth. The extra yardage on these holes will enable golfers to hit their drives before the green is clear and so speed up play. It will also bring some features back into play off the tee such as the Kruger bunkers and the heather on the ninth. This can only add to the enjoyment of playing here."

Other changes to the Old Course include lengthening the 10th hole to 340 yards, an increase of 22 yards. The 13th, which played as the second toughest during last year's Open, is now the third longest par-4 on the Old Course at 418 yards.

No. 3 has received 18 yards, bringing it to 370 and creating a longer carry to the fairway. The remaining five holes that have been changed – Nos. 1, 11, 17 and 18 – are now playing at the same championship distance: 370, 174, 455 and 357 yards, respectively, while the 14th is now 530 yards, an increase of seven yards, following the repositioning of the medal tee to the right of the teeing area.

The medal course is now only 212 yards shorter than the course set-up for the British Opens of 1984, 1990 and 1995, which produced champions out of Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and John Daly.

Despite the lengthening of the Old Course, the Jubilee Course retains its position as the longest medal course on the Links, at 6,742 yards.

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