St Andrews honours 250th birthday of 18 hole golf

St Andrews golf course, where the first 18 hole game was played. Picture: SNS

St Andrews golf course, where the first 18 hole game was played. Picture: SNS

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THE BIRTH of the modern 18 hole game of golf at St Andrews was being celebrated today on its 250th anniversary.

On October 4, 1764, the Society of St Andrews Golfers, known today as the R&A, decided to cut the number of holes from on their famous course from 22 to 18, creating the blueprint for courses across the world.

To mark the milestone the links at St Andrews is publishing a specially commissioned time-lapse project of the Old Course greenkeeping team hand-mowing the 18th green in preparation for play at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship being held this week.

The layout of the Old Course is well known to golf fans but when the 18 hole decision was made 250 years ago, the course was converted into 10 holes, eight of which were played twice.

In the decades that followed the Old Course continued to evolve as the links and surrounding areas developed, from playing the course backwards through to new greens being built and holes, so familiar to many today, were mapped out.

By the mid-19th Century the 18-hole format at St Andrews had become the blueprint for golf with new and existing courses across the world all following its 18-hole layout.

Euan Loudon, chief executive of St Andrews Links, said: “This important date marks another milestone in the game of golf’s rich history and the special place St Andrews, the home of golf, holds for this great game.

“The Society of St Andrews Golfers may not have appreciated the ramifications of the decision they made on October 4,1764 but those individuals and the resultant changes to the Old Course had a huge impact on the way the game would be played forever.

“The records show they took the decision because they sought to improve the links and that commitment to improving this magical place resonates with everyone here at the links today.”

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