Tom Weiskopf course wins St Andrews name battle

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A NEW golf course being designed by Tom Weiskopf, the former Open champion, on the outskirts of St Andrews will carry the Fife town’s name in its title after a bid to block that failed.

The course at Feddinch Mains, which sits just off the A915 to Leven, will be called the St Andrews International Golf Club as planned and construction work is set to start in the next few weeks.

St Andrews Links Trust objected to the proposed name as a trademark and as a domain name, but a complaint regarding the domain name has been denied by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Switzerland.

“The development would have progressed with or without the decision – we would simply have had to amend the name,” said Ewan McKay, director of the St Andrews International Golf Club (SAIGC). “In any case, just as The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers is ubiquitously known as Muirfield, we felt that the name Feddinch would likewise be commonly used.”

It recently emerged that a legal dispute has broken out between the Links Trust and the St Andrews Golf Company, which is based just outside the town and has been in business in the area for more than 130 years.

When the company, which encompasses a number of historic clubmakers in the town – recently tried to register its trademarks with WIPO, it was astounded to learn that objections were lodged by the St Andrews Links Trust.

McKay said he had shared that sentiment after representatives of his company had been invited to a meeting by Danny Campbell, the Links Trust’s commercial director. “We were advised that the Trust would defend their rights vigorously as they had signed trading licences with several overseas companies and they would not jeopardise such agreements,” he said.

“What right does the Links Trust have to claim ownership of the words ‘St Andrews’? Our company had been known as SAIGC for 20 years and could not understand such an aggressive attitude from Danny Campbell, particularly as SAIGC was to be strictly for the enjoyment of its privileged members and their guests so there could be no conflict or confusion with the activities of the Links Trust.

“The trademark dispute continues, but it is most pleasing that the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has found in favour of the company, so clearly that must put into question the rights claimed by the Links Trust.”

SOL Construction, which did the work on the Trump course in Aberdeen, will be setting up site shortly at Feddinch with a view to commencing course construction in mid-March.