Andrew Argo of The Courier reports what appears to be excellent news for those hoping to get a tee time on the Old Course. The Links Trust is taking over control of the commercial trade times and will continue its other management duties.
The arrangement does not impact on the general ballot to play the Old Course or local preferential times, which will continue to be a mainstay of the St Andrews Links operation.
Euan Loudon, St Andrews Links chief executive, said: “Following a lengthy period of consideration the Trust has decided that it is the appropriate time to take control over the presentation and sale of all Old Course commercial times as well as developing and managing a closer working relationship with multiple tour operators.
“This change in emphasis will bring to a close the existing contractual arrangement which we have enjoyed with our partner, OCE, for more than 20 years.”
It sounds like there is more news to come out of this, besides perhaps a streamlining of the process for tour operators and one that theoretically offers a better value.
Mr Loudon said the trust will undertake a significant programme of business development for the Old Course from 2018.
He added: “This work will focus only on commercial tee times and will not impact on the ballot, advanced reservations or local preferential times on any of our courses.”
The full release is here.
I look forward to Ru Macdonald's take on the details, but over at the Scottish Golf Travel blog he says this is good news for increasing chances of getting on the Old Course.
**A tour operator reached about this wants to know the details but is optimistic this will benefit all who want to get on the Old Course:
"Details still pending so we will see. Certainly can’t hurt anytime you get a big commercial enterprise out of the equation. I think it will makes it more competitive for all tour operators. Consumer should benefit."