Controversial St Andrews Old Course Swilcan Bridge 'Patio' Dug Up

The Swilcan Bridge 'patio' is no more following the intense social media backlash...

The Swilcan Bridge on the 18th hole of the Old Course at St Andrews
(Image credit: Getty Images)

St Andrews Links has acted fast in digging up the controversial 'patio' it had installed leading into the Old Course's iconic Swilcan Bridge following intense backlash online from the golf community.

Video footage emerged on social media from 'The Courier' on Tuesday morning showing a digger at work and the area where the 'patio' briefly sat back to dirt and ready for turf to be re-installed.

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Images recently emerged of the new installation ahead of the famous bridge but the reaction from the golf world was not positive, with one user on social media saying it was “like drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa."

St Andrews attempted to explain the reasoning for the changes, responding to the concerns with a statement confirming that no work had taken place on the bridge itself and explaining that it had been done to protect the area from the significant foot traffic it receives from visiting golfers. St Andrews' Old Course is one of the world's most famous golf courses and is open to the public from Mondays to Saturdays.

The online backlash continued, however, forcing St Andrews Links Trust to release a second statement, but this time the organisation confirmed that turf will be reinstated in the area and the 'patio' would be no more.

The statement explained that the work had been “undertaken as part of ongoing attempts to mitigate the issue of significant wear and tear to the turf.”

The short-lived change to the approach to the world famous Swilcan Bridge isn't the only alteration recently seen on one of golf's most iconic holes. The 13th hole at Augusta National has been lengthened in recent months, with confirmation from The Masters that it has increased by 35 yards ahead of the 2023 tournament.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5