Every night at around 3 am the queue starts once more for another long line of visiting golfers hoping to secure a days play at The Home of Golf. For anyone who has endured the early alarm clock and the arduous wait will admittedly express their surprise and disappointment in the previous lack of basic amenities around the early morning ‘queue’ and golf course.
Thankfully now the St Andrews Links Trust, the organisation that overseas the running of all St Andrews courses and amenities have made the ethical decision to open a ‘waiting room’ facility which provides visiting golfers protection from the weather, rest rooms and a hot and cold beverage service.
Having just opened early May this year in time for the influx of thousands of visiting pilgrims it was my first experience of the facility. The improvements were definitely needed but admittedly I had some reservations about how these would be implemented and whether it would be at the cost of you, the visiting golfer. Thankful the facility is better than I could of hoped for and offers so much to the visiting golfer.
Informative Staff Presence
What struck me on my initial visit was the amount of staff deliberately present in and around the new pavilion. Expect to see plenty ground handlers and starters ensuring golfers are keeping to time, shuttling golfers back and forth from the Links Clubhouse and driving range, together with providing additional information when required. The accessibility to informative staff members providing a visual presence will allow those visiting St Andrews a fantastic customer service ensuring all facilities are interlinked throughout the Links Trust portfolio.
I alluded to my concerns over the pricing in the new facility but you will find the beverages and other products such as trolley hire very affordable. With the ability to sit down and rest before a round with a hot or cold beverage, read a newspaper or interact from one of the digital devices available in the pavilion is of fantastic benefit to the nervous, golfing hopeful. The rest rooms are adequate and clean, not to mention well over due.
Future Progression Opportunities
As mentioned the facility is a great addition to the Old Course and St Andrews having already made an impression on many visiting golfers. What do I hope to see in the future? The focus on the history of the links and it’s champions is very pivotal to the look and feel of the new facility which of course is the lure to all in playing at The Home of Golf. It will be interesting to see what role and presence the British Golf Museum (reopening for The Open 2015) will have. The museum is own and run by the Royal and Ancient however it would be a powerful double act to help showcase the history of the links and golf in Scotland. A unique visitor experience to showcase Scotland’s golfing heritage could take place before a round on the Old.
Secondly it will be interesting to see if The Links Trust develop further their multimedia offering now that there is a suitable congregation of golfers, each of which are passing before golf on the Old Course. A wealth of insight and subjective opinion about golf on the links and golf in Scotland which would make for compelling viewing. Could we see a development of the Links Trust blog or Youtube Channel into Google Hangout’s or even podcasts?
Anyone can walk up and play the most famous golf course in the world, the Old Course St Andrews. The accessibility of the public golf courses in St Andrews can of course be achieved in a multitude of ways. With that said the ‘Old Pavilion’ is all set to see you on your next golfing visit to Scotland.
The longest wait in golf just got comfortable.
For more about the Old Pavilion read St Andrews Links insiders guide.
By Ru Macdonald – Host of the Scottish Golf Podcast