Slumbers Says If Someone Shoots 59 Around Old Course He’ll ‘Shake Their Hand’

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, suggested it's very unlikely that anyone will break 60 at the home of golf this Open Championship

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Speaking in a press conference on the eve of the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews, R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers was asked whether he thought a 59 was a possibility in the tournament this week. His response strongly suggested that he feels a round of under 60 is highly unlikely.

“59 is 13-under par around this golf course. There's 7,300 yards. It's got greens that are running at 10 1/2 to 11. It's got fairways where the ball is bouncing 50 yards if it's hit and more if it catches the downslope,” he said. “13-under par around that, I'll tell you what, if someone shoots that, I will be the first person on the 18th green to shake their hand because they have played outstanding golf.”

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Slumbers talked about the two factors you need when setting up a course for The Open Championship – A great greenkeeping team and luck. With regards the latter, he commented on the need for the right conditions to get the course in the best possible shape.

“I think the golf course is exactly where we want it to be. If you go out there today, it's a lot firmer than it was yesterday. We've been holding the greens back because we had very hot weather in the early part of this week. We wanted to make sure that the grass was good come Sunday.” He said. “The fairways are firmer than the greens, and they're running really hard. And Mother Nature at the moment is not destined to give us any rain and probably not going to give us as much wind as we like. But we've got other ways of being able to set up the golf course. And my philosophy has always been I want to set up the golf course fair, challenging, and let these guys show us how good they are.”

Earlier this year, Colin Montgomerie had talked to Golf Monthly about his concern that this year’s Open Championship could witness a 59. “If it’s calm and the pins aren’t hidden too much and you can get to pins with wedges then I fear for it and I don’t want to,” he said. “It doesn’t deserve to have a 59 on it.” 

With conditions as they are, the 59 does not look a likely prospect.


Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?