You probably heard about the changes underway at the Old Course at St. Andrews.
What you may not have heard is just how big a flap this has created.
Outraged at the idea of tinkering (or is it tampering?) with one of golf’s most important shrines, Old Course advocates have mobilized.
Someone started a “Stop the Changes to the Home of Golf” petition on Change.org.
Likewise, there’s now a popular, #SavetheOldCourse thread on Twitter.
I don’t know if anyone has started an “Occupy St. Andrews” movement, but it can’t be far away.
Here’s the debate in a nutshell, and I’d love to get your thoughts on it:
With their eyes on the 2015 Open Championship, the R&A and St. Andrews Links Trust want to, “ensure [the Old Course] remains as challenging as ever to the professionals.”
So, they hired architect Martin Hawtree to make changes to about half the holes on the course — mainly moving, adding, removing, and resizing bunkers (including widening the Road Hole bunker); replacing a depression with a mound; and re-contouring greens.
On one side, you’ve got people like architect Tom Doak, who wrote to golf’s international architectural community saying he was “horrified” to learn of the changes to this “sacred ground” and that this “international treasure” should largely remain “untouched.”
On the other side, you’ve got people like Golf Digest architecture editor Ron Whitten who say the Old Course is not above being tweaked.
“Sacred ground? The Old Course was built on sand, not carved in stone. It’s a golf course to be played, not a monument to be worshiped,” Whitten wrote in reaction to Doak’s, and he cites some old and newer modifications to support his claim that the Old Course, “like Augusta National, has been changing all the time.”
What do you think?
Is it OK to make changes to the Old Course or should it remain untouched?
Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.