Descendant of golf pioneer Old Tom Morris joins fight to save historic hole

The great great grandson of golfing legend Old Tom Morris has condemned council plans to destroy part of one of his ancestor's course design masterpieces to pave the way for a footbridge over the Tay.

• Golfing legend Old Tom Morris

Melvyn Hunter Morrow is outraged at proposals by Perth and Kinross Council to use the green on the signature 15th hole at Perth's North Inch golf course for one of the supports for a 2.6 million pedestrian bridge linking the "Fair City" with Scone on the opposite bank.

Members of Perth's Common Good Fund committee will meet in Perth today to decide whether to grant consent for bridgeworks to be sited on the golf course.

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The council's enterprise and infrastructure committee has approved plans for the design of the bridge at a meeting where Councillor Lorraine Caddell infuriated golfers by saying: "What we are talking about is moving a little flag. I do not think this will destroy a game of golf."

Mr Hunter Morrow, 60, has now pledged his support for local golf organisations who are vehemently opposed to the footbridge plan.

"It's a crying shame that we are destroying a course designed by one of our great heroes for the sake of a small footbridge," he said. "Surely a compromise can be made to retain more of this great course.

"There isn't an awful lot of Old Tom's work left because people have changed and tweaked courses since his death.

"North Inch is one of the very old courses which still survives, and it is paramount in its importance to Scotland."

North Inch, which is home to the first golf society in the world to gain royal patronage, was partly designed by Old Tom Morris, a four-time winner of golf's Open Championship, who was also responsible for the design of Carnoustie, Muirfield and the Jubilee Course at St Andrews.

The 15th hole at the publicly owned North Inch course has been listed as one of the top 100 golf holes in the UK.

"North Inch is part of the history of Scottish golf and we need to preserve it, and I hope the council are going to reconsider their position," said Mr Hunter Morrow.

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"The North Inch is as important to Perth as the Stone of Destiny is to Scone and we shouldn't eradicate or remove what is left of Old Tom's work."

The support of the descendant of Old Tom Morris was welcomed by Andrew Christie, secretary of the Royal Perth Golfing Society, which was formed in 1824. He said: "It is proposed to plonk this bridge on top of the 15th green, thus ruining the signature hole of the course.

"Even to consider building a cheap and nasty bridge - for that is what the committee has approved - at such a magnificent spot on the river is just stupid.There are few sights in any city landscape in Scotland to compare with that looking south along the river from the North Inch into what will eventually be the City of Perth."

Jim Valentine, the council's depute director for environment services, has said: "Although there has been some criticism of the bridge, it is important to remember that the project has been driven by the community from the very start."