After two months of closure, the Home of Golf is back.
In a letter to its membership, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews announced it is re-opening four of its links on May 29. All courses in Scotland have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic since March 23.
The Old Course, New Course, Eden and Balgove will be in the first wave of openings, with the Eden turned into two separate nine-hole layouts to encourage nine-hole rounds. The Jubilee, Strathtyrum and Castle will not open at this stage but “will re-open in a phased manner in the future. The St Andrews Links will advise 2 days before these courses open,” according to Ford Horsfield, head of golf services.
It will not be business as usual. The letter states that “at this time all courses are available for Yearly Ticket holders only.” Tee times will be made in 12-minute intervals with two golfers per tee time.
There will also be no walk-ups, so if necessary there is a track and trace record of who is on the links.
Last week Scottish Golf confirmed that May 29 would be the earliest return date for Scottish courses. However, a number of courses, especially those in Edinburgh, are targeting June 8 for re-opening.
As of May 26, there are over 15,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Scotland, according to the NHS Board.