GOLF’S Open championship returns to its spiritual home in St Andrews next week and the Fife town is gearing up for the tournament’s 150th anniversary.
Government agency Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has reopened parts of the graveyard surrounding the ruins of St Andrews cathedral, so tourists can visit the graves of two of golf’s most famous characters – Old and Young Tom Morris.
Stephen Duncan, director of engagement at HES, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide additional access to St Andrews cathedral, as part of Scotland’s welcome for the Open, with the museum and its important treasures reopening after essential restrictions were put in place for high-level masonry inspections.
“Whilst some access restrictions remain in place for safety reasons, we have also opened access to the graves of Old and Young Tom Morris, amongst some of golf’s most famous sons, which reside within the grounds.
“We know how important it is to be able to offer visitors from around the world the opportunity to visit these sites and have been working across teams to facilitate access in advance of the Open and look forward to welcoming visitors to the cathedral once more.”
Meanwhile, Fife Council has teamed up with the Fife Golf Partnership and VisitScotland to promote the kingdom to visitors at the Open.
A “Fife stand” will be open all next week, with staff offering visitors information about golf and other attractions in the area.
Jim Leishman, Fife’s provost, said: “The Open is a wonderful opportunity to showcase St Andrews and Fife, bringing thousands of visitors to the area and boosting the local economy by potentially millions of pounds.
“We know from experience that The Open ‘effect’ lasts well beyond the week, with tourism and golf businesses often seeing an increase in bookings right through to the following year.
“This year is particularly significant as it is the 150th Open and there will be record crowds attending throughout the week to watch the world’s top golfers and enjoy St Andrews.
“We hope many of them will take the chance to explore wider and return to Fife in the future.”
Two local businesses that are already making the most of the Open opportunity are the Rusacks hotel and gelato maker Jannettas.
Executive chef Derek Johnstone has created a dessert with Jannettas and Loch Lomond Whisky that will be served in the hotel’s 18 restaurant and its The Bridge bar throughout the Open.
Jannettas’ Owen Hazel has made a special gelato using Loch Lomond’s “The 150th Open St Andrews Special Edition” whisky, which will be served as part of the dessert, topped with a whisky-salted butterscotch sauce and a whisky snap biscuit.
Johnstone said: “I’ve particularly enjoyed developing a dish with Jannetta’ [gelato] that complements the peach, pear, and vanilla notes of Loch Lomond whisky with the smoky finish of the spirit in a classic dish that can be enjoyed by visitors to this very special Open championship.”
Read more stories on Scottish Field’s news pages.
Plus, don’t miss a look at the history of St Andrews ahead of golf’s 150th Open Championship in the July issue of Scottish Field magazine.