Ambitious plans for new St Andrews resort halted amid legal battle

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick January 25, 2022 11:26

When the British summer finally rolls around, we’ll get to see the very best golfers in the world take to one of the sport’s most iconic courses once more. St Andrews will welcome the Open Championship on July 14, and that will mark the 29th time that the grand ‘Old Lady’ of golf has taken on hosting duties — a record that is unlikely to ever be surpassed.

Needless to say, excitement is high, with many bookmakers and fans already considering who will emerge victorious in this storied location. Indeed, the general consensus in the world of betting online is that Jon Rahm can add to his US Open win in 2021 and take the Claret Jug home to Spain (or more likely Arizona, where he resides these days).  The world number one is the +900 favorite, with defending champion Collin Morikawa and four-time major winner Brooks Koepka next best in the market.

While the ‘home of golf’ continues to be adored by players and spectators alike, ambitious plans for a rival club in the St Andrews area have hit the skids. Mark Ogren, the American investment entrepreneur that holds a controlling stake in nearby Dundee United, revealed plans for a multi-million dollar project just a stone’s throw from St Andrews last year.

He and his business associates submitted a planning permission application to Fife Council in April, which revolved around the development of a 97.5-hectare site acquired from the Feddinch Mains company in 2020. Former Open champion and renowned course designer, Tom Weiskopf, was leading the golf-side of the build, while the development was also scheduled to create 41 luxury suites, a restaurant and a spa.

However, building work has now halted following a legal dispute between Ogren and his construction team, and a local newspaper is reporting that the businessman has washed his hands of the project entirely. The site, which was first earmarked for a new golf resort as far back as 1999, is now lying dormant. Whether the Feddinch Mains resort ever gets built remains to be seen, but the good news is that St Andrews itself benefits from having fewer competitors in the area.

Bryson DeChambeau. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

DeChambeau plots versatile plan of attack

This year’s Open Championship, which will mark the 150th edition of golf’s oldest major, will be tackled by many different styles and personalities. There are those who will take the circumspect approach to tackling St Andrews, hitting low-raking three-woods to get under the often-brutal breeze on the Scottish coast.

And then there are those that will aspire to hit bombs off the tee, hoping to circumnavigate the traditional ‘rules’ of Links golf by attacking the drivable Par 4s in one mighty strike off the peg. A prime candidate is Bryson DeChambeau, whose evolution from science-led thinker to bombastic swing speed enthusiast is well documented. And while he admits the straightforward route at St Andrews appeals, he believes he has the versatility to adapt to the prevailing conditions.

He told golf influencer Rick Shiels: “You know, it’s a golf course where maybe a lot of irons off the tee is the play.” “Sometimes people think about my driver, ‘oh, it gives him such an advantage’. What really gives me an advantage is my irons, being able to hit an 8-iron 210 yards, being able to hit a 9-iron 195, a 6-iron 240 yards.” It’s a skillset the likes of which St Andrews has rarely — if ever — seen before. And it will be fascinating to see if the old course yields to Bryson’s power game or not.

 

 

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick January 25, 2022 11:26
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