St Andrews celebrates 600 years of golf

The first-ever St Andrews Golf Festival will celebrate over 600 years of golf in Scotland and around the world.

Where better to hold a festival celebrating the game of golf than the place universally regarded as the “Home of Golf.”

The Swilken Bridge at The Old Course St Andrews
The Swilken Bridge at The Old Course St Andrews by David J Whyte

Five days, March 28 – April 1
The five-day festival takes place from March 28 to April 1 2012 and includes talks, golfing events and exhibitions.

Mungo Park, the great-grandson of Willie Park Senior who won the first Open Championship in 1860, will talk about his family history.

His relatives include other Open Championship winners Willie Park Jnr and his namesake Mungo Park.

Moving tribute to Spanish Maestro
There will be a talk featuring rare BBC footage about Seve Ballesteros by the BBC producer who spent time with Seve in the last months of his life. A gala evening on March 31 will be dedicated to Seve, winner of the Open Championship at St Andrews in 1984.

Old Tom
Another talk will celebrate Old Tom Morris (1821–1908) who won the Open four times and still holds the record for oldest winner at 46.

Old Tom Morris - Open Champion, Greenkeeper and St Andrean

His record win of a major by a margin of 13 strokes stood for over a century until it was beaten by Tiger Woods in 2000. Old Tom also designed courses including Carnoustie (with Robertson), Muirfield and Lahinch.

He introduced top dressing to greens and reduced the number of holes at St Andrews to 18, which then became the world standard.

Plans also include events for Ladies Golf. Mary Queen of Scots played golf in St Andrews. She allegedly played two days after the death of her husband Lord Darnley, a ‘fact’ used against her in her trial.

Golf has been played since the 1400s. It was so popular that in 1457 King James II persuaded the Scottish Parliament to ban the game.

Children in St Andrews played a form of golf in the narrow streets with sticks and old corks.

Find out more about the festival at:

To find out more about playing golf in St Andrews and Fife during the St Andrews Golf Festival, log onto:, and read our feature article, Kingdom of Heaven: Golf in Fife, by clicking here



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