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« Gary Player Is Not Happy With The R&A, And He Hasn't Even Heard About The Planned Old Course Changes! | Main | The Old Course And Its "Acute Spur Formation" »

Old Course: “I take it they don’t want a 59 shot on it.”

Martin Dempster explains the changes the R&A and architect Martin Hawtree have in store for The Old Course--just typing that feels so April Foolish-- and called on 2004 Dunhill Links Champ Stephen Gallacher to boil this down to the pure essence of the problem: big egos, afraid of low scores.

Playing in this year’s Dunhill Links event, Frenchman Victor Dubuisson and South African George Coetzee joined a handful of players to score a 62, ten-under-par there. World No 1 Rory McIlroy is among the group who have signed for a 63 on it, his effort in the opening round of the 2010 Open having equalled the lowest-ever round in a major.

“I take it they don’t want a 59 shot on it,” Gallacher told The Scotsman when told about the changes in Dubai, where he is competing in the European Tour’s season-ending event. “I’m open to a few new bunkers, depending on where they are, of course. But the Old Course is such a weather dependent venue now and when there is no wind the scoring can be very low. As for the existing bunkers, they’ve got to keep the iconic ones.”

The story also reveals when the ideas were hatched and who laid these rotten eggs.

In the summer, a delegation that included Hawtree, R&A chief executive Peter Dawson, championship convenor Jim McArthur and Links Trust representatives walked the Old Course together to talk over possible alterations.

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Reader Comments (14)

Darn- Jack, Pete, and a committee of no less than 24 should whip out a 59 proof POS.


Fix the frigging ball for the pros and be done with it.
11.24.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Or host the Open in December.
11.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterEric
Thank the Lord for Geoff Shackelford. There is no level of angry sarcasm that is too severe for golf administrators seeking to change golf's gold standard -- The Old Course -- in response to the equipment technology that those same administrators have failed to regulate.

And just because I am feeling a bit peavish tonight, let's think about banning fitness trailers ("physio trailers" on the Euro Tour) to satisfy Peter Kostis.

And let's also consider forgetting about The Old Course as a championship venue altogether, for the benefit of our friends Michael Johnson and Mike Stachura, a/k/a Bomb and Gouge, who have suggested letting old, shorter, classic championship courses fade into natural obsolescence. Because it would be nice, if recreational players who will never hit it so far could get a chance to play them more often.
11.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
And so there...Chuck said it.

Leave it alone; leave all of them alone, that would be so aborted for so few-- either make the equipment (THE BALL) proper for these few pros who rarely play these wonderful pieces of art, or have the pros play at monster venues that have tee boxes in different zip codes than the greens.

There is no need in destroying hundreds (or even a few decades) of years of historical architecture for tournament play with players who do not define what a typical course is/was built for.

Play a ball that brings these venues back in to play, or quit using them for PGA, etc events. And as has been repeated time and time again in the anchored putter threads- do it now, you chickenshits.

Good call, Chuck.
11.24.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
If they role back the ball, "architect" Peter Dawson will be out of work...
17 million and counting...
11.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterIan Andrew
Imagine what an unbelievable sight it would be, to see someone play so perfectly, as to go that low on TOC.
11.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdam
Dont see that the course will be destroyed by all this-many of the changes are relatively small/subtle.The Old Course has been changed over the years so this is not exactly unprecedented.
Just so long as they dont start growing rough everywhere and no more back tees just for now please!
Oh-and yes-new balls please!!
11.25.2012 | Unregistered Commenterchico
Can you tell us the last time contours (other than reducing bunker sand build-up) were changed or greenside bunkers added?

It's too late on the rough, they've already started doing that.
11.25.2012 | Registered CommenterGeoff
Amazing to say you don't see the course being destroyed, yet you lament rough. Have you seen the Road hole lately? Same people doing the changes on the other holes. This is a disaster in the making.
11.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterOB
I pulled my punches and called Mr. Dawson a 'blithe, high ranking official' in the comments attached to this thread:

I'd like to amend that and go with full 'idiot' if I may.
11.25.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdbh
Agreed Geoff-I believe the last time there were bunker changes was in the 40's.All I was saying is that in the greater scheme of things these changes are not massive and I don't think they will ruin the course.If this becomes a routine thing then we have a potential abomination.
The 17th has too much rough but I don't think the rest of the course is at all bad.
I think I've made it fairly plain that I support equipment limitation and that it is ridiculous that tees are used for the Open that are not even on the golf course.I don't believe for one moment that the RandA think distance is no problem-its just that they are scared to death of talking the equipment manufacturers on-and thats a crying shame.
I've just had the Taylor-Made rep in my shop telling me how Martin Kaymer was hitting his new Rocketblade 7 iron 220 and he couldn't understand how I thought that kind of thing was killing the game.I increasingly don't see any alternative to bifurcation.My goodness-I agree with Gary Player!!
11.25.2012 | Unregistered Commenterchico
For me, low scores means great golf and I don't care what course, however 'easy', the great golf is played on because I don't care about the score. The governing bodies don't share my view but face one certain inevitability if they don't challenge technology... they will one day soon have to scratch The Old Course from the Open rota. I don't have a problem with that either but if the R&A think a few minor bunker changes will preserve things then that day is closer than we all think. I want to see consistency in their approach, either challenge technology for professional tournaments and keep these historic courses or start the process of updating the Open rota, rather than upselling minor changes that are only relevant for 4 days every 5 years
11.25.2012 | Unregistered Commenterk-edit
If Old Tom Morris were around to see a golfer score 59 over the Old Course, what would he think?
Congratulate the player on his brilliant play and admire the advances in clubs and balls compared with to the lousy stuff he had to use?
I'd hope so. It's progress.
11.26.2012 | Unregistered Commenterandrew coop
Progress is not a bad thing.
The pace of progress in the last 20 or so years has been so great that he might not recognise the game at all!
11.26.2012 | Unregistered Commenterchico

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