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Seventh course planned for St Andrews

A L shortlist of half-a-dozen architects has been drawn up to design the proposed new seventh links at the home of golf to be run by the St Andrews Links Trust. It is hoped negotiations to purchase a suitable piece of land will be concluded shortly, but golfers keen to tee up on the new course may have to wait as long as four years to play the links because of expected planning difficulties.

Although the Trust will not divulge details about where the links will be sited, it is understood the course is likely to be built on land to the east of St Andrews, somewhere between the caravan park and the St Andrews Bay courses.

This would be a stand-alone project, completely separate from the ancient linksland which accommodates the six courses already run by the Links Trust: namely, the Old Course, the New, the Jubilee, the Eden, the Strathtyrum and the nine-hole Balgove.

Demand to play these courses, particularly from residents of St Andrews, has forced the Links Trust to prepare the way for a seventh public links. While the new site is not thought to offer the prospect of pure links golf, the successful architects will be expected to make the course as close to the classic links experience as possible.

The links will also be more flexible in length than the existing courses with tees which make the track stretch anywhere from 5,500 yards to 7,300.

However, the Links Trust is prepared for a lengthy planning approval process which may even involve a public inquiry. The issue of all land use around St Andrews is a sensitive one and the Trust knows it will have to satisfy many constraints before the project is completed.

A number of golf developments have been completed in the St Andrews area in recent years including the aforementioned St Andrews Bay complex, which includes two courses and a hotel; the highly praised Kingsbarns links and the Peter Thomson-designed Duke’s Course.

Where the Links Trust hopes it will have an edge over other developers is that it is only looking to build a golf course and has no interest in constructing hotels or houses.

Suggestions that renowned designers such as Nick Faldo and Donald Steel are among the aforementioned list of possible architects, though, remains pure speculation since the Trust intend to keep their options confidential.

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