Winners of The Open at St Andrews are to be honoured with a new “walk of fame” opposite the home of golf – the town’s Old Course.
Rusacks Hotel in St Andrews has been granted permission to lay an array of bronze plaques outside its brand new extension, each of which will be embossed with the name of a tournament champion.
The owners of the hotel, which first opened in 1887, tabled the plans for the victors’ walk in March.
It will be laid within the hotel’s current car park, alongside The Links, and honour all previous winners of the championship at The Old Course, with room for more winners in the future.
Claims that the walk of fame would serve solely to advertise the hotel and create a hazard on the Links were thrown out by Fife Council planning offier Kirsten Morsley.
Approving the application without any additional conditions, she wrote: “The new path would not be located on The Links but would occupy land which was formerly the car park serving the hotel and which is within the ownership of the hotel.
“The Links would not be altered or affected in any way by the proposal, and ould therefore be considered compliant with the development plan and all its related guidance in respect of road and pedestrian safety.”
Each plaque will be produced in bronze by Nairn firm Black Isle Bronze, with victors’ names surrounded by a hexagonal pattern reminiscent of the dimples on a golf ball.
“The plaques are to celebrate and commemorate the past 29 winners of The Open at The Old Course,” a statement prepared on behalf of the Rusacks read.
“In special recognition of 2022 being the 150th anniversary of the Championship, a special plaque will honour the 150th winner.
“Future Open winners at The Old Course will have plaques installed to celebrate their victories.”
The pavement will create a walkway along part of The Links, which is largely bereft of pedestrian-friendly paths. While the hotel has listened to council roads officers’ concerns about safety, they say any pavement is better than none at all, even with the influx of tourists the walk of fame will encourage.
“It is worth emphasising that there is currently no footpath whatsoever along The Links and therefore its introduction with or without the plaques can only improve pedestrian safety,” the hotel’s representatives added.
In all, 25 golfers have taken victory at the Open in St Andrews, which has hosted the tournament 29 times. Winners range from modern day legends such as Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus to sport pioneers such as John Henry Taylor and Fife’s own James Braid.
Next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the tournament, which is played at courses across the United Kingdom – and it will be held at The Old Course, quite literally paving the way for another winner to be added to the walk outside Rusacks.
Story by local democracy reporter Jon Brady