St Andrews Links team contributes to highest-attended Open
St Andrews Links is reflecting on welcoming The 150th Open, the highest-attended Open in history, with 290,000 spectators attending the Home of Golf to watch Australian Cameron Smith lift the Claret Jug in historic fashion.
The 150th Open, which was the 30th time The R&A as organisers of The Open has brought the Championship to the Old Course, saw record-breaking figures for St Andrews Links including in retail, social media and website traffic.
Contributing to the success of the Championship was the talented St Andrews Links Trust staff who were pivotal in both event preparation and delivery across a number of areas in collaboration with The R&A.
Front and centre has been the St Andrews Links greenkeeping squad, who presented the golf course in world-class condition for the players, setting the stage for an historic Championship.
The team of 45 greenkeepers led by Director of Greenkeeping Sandy Reid and Old Course Manager Gordon McKie comprised the regular squad of 17 Old Course greenkeepers supplemented by additional staff from St Andrews Links’ other courses, as well as those drafted in from other clubs to support. More than 2,500 hours were dedicated to conditioning the golf course throughout the week with a focus on sustainable practices, including preparing Open greens with electric mowers for the first time utilising the existing Toro mower fleet at the Links. Responsible and efficient irrigation was also a focus, evidenced by the firm and fast conditions of the links landscape.
St Andrews Links Trust is dedicated to delivering sustainable golf within its day-to-day management of the Links and the West Sands and was also proud to support The R&A’s pioneering GreenLinks programme to deliver The 150th Open in a sustainable and responsible fashion.
Golf continued on the Links during The Open with the Trust’s team, including greenkeeping, retail and hospitality colleagues at the Castle Course, facilitating almost 1,500 rounds of golf whilst hosting the Callaway media night and specially curated events throughout the week for the Trust’s Global Partner Allianz and partners Rolex and Toro.
St Andrews Links Trust’s retail team also had a huge role, running on behalf of The R&A, The Open Shop. The facility measured 2,250 sqm, stocking 1,250 items and was run by 325 members of staff. Management of The 150th Open Shop and fulfilment of sales on TheOpen.com is part of the Trust’s long-term agreement with The R&A to manage their retail operation, in The Open Shop in St Andrews and at each Open venue for the duration of the Championship.
In addition, the retail team continued to operate the Trust’s own facilities, The Old Course Shop and The Castle Course Clubhouse during championship week, catering for those with and without tickets looking for a memento of their visit to the Home of Golf. The Old Course Shop reported sales 21% higher than when The Open was last staged in St Andrews in 2015.
Elsewhere across the Championship, St Andrews Links staff supported The R&A in a variety of ways including golfers assistants working as marshals across the course, food & drink staff supporting hospitality provision and staff catering and members of our tournament team supporting scoring for the week.
Following the Championship, the Links Trust immediately readied itself for the return of Ticketholders and visitors with courses reopening during the week beginning Monday 18 July. The Old Course itself reopened on Tuesday 19 July with unprecedented demand for play from golfers around the world looking to follow in the footsteps of their heroes.
Global web traffic on the newly relaunched St Andrews Links website www.standrews.com outstripped numbers for the entirety of July 2015, the last time St Andrews hosted The Open, by a factor of three in the week of The 150th Open alone with more than 335,000 users and in excess of 1.1 million page views.
St Andrews Links’ social media channels also saw a significant increase in engagement with more than 10.6 million impressions during the week of The Open. It was also a successful week for The R&A’s US broadcast partner and St Andrews Links’ media partner NBC Sports, who confirmed that The 150th Open was the most streamed golf event in the their history, while viewer numbers in the US surpassed 2021 by 16% and were 27% higher than for Royal Portrush in 2019.
Neil Coulson, Chief Executive of St Andrews Links Trust said: “Congratulations to The R&A for organising a hugely-successful Championship befitting of this historic occasion at the Home of Golf. I am incredibly proud of our team here at St Andrews Links who have worked extremely hard not just this week but for many months prior alongside The R&A to provide the stage for The 150th Open.
“Our teams across the Trust are used to delivering a world-class experience for every one of our Ticketholders and tens of thousands of visitors every year so I’m not surprised to see them step up to the mark and deliver so spectacularly for The 150th Open.
“From our greenkeeping team who have presented the golf course in such magnificent fashion to the retail team running the biggest-ever Open Shop on behalf of The R&A, our staff have played a hugely significant role in this most historic of Championships.
“The feedback from The R&A, the Championship committee, the player’s, media and golf’s global audience of fans is a source of great pride for myself, our Senior Leadership team and our Trustees. We are responsible for the world’s most famous Links and we are fortunate to have talented and dedicated teams that have highlighted once again that the Trust is at the forefront, not only in the planning, preparation and delivery of world-class golf, but in all aspects of our business, including retail and hospitality. We do so whilst demonstrating a commitment to sustainability and innovation that we hope to raise more awareness of moving forward.
“The significant broadcast numbers reported by our partners at NBC Sports and our own digital engagement seen during The 150th Open demonstrates the incredible pull St Andrews retains as the world’s most famous and revered place to play and watch golf.
“We now look forward to welcoming back our Ticketholders and visitors from around the world to experience the Home of Golf and the thrill of playing our renowned courses.”
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A said: “The R&A was incredibly proud to stage a hugely successful 150th Open on the Old Course in St Andrews. We cannot stage golf’s original championship without the collaboration of many partners and we would like to thank the St Andrews Links Trust and their dedicated staff for all their assistance and hard work in the lead up to and throughout the Championship.”
Next month, St Andrews Links Trust will release the Private Advanced Tee Times for the Old Course in 2023, which offers a guaranteed Old Course time, with interest also expected to hit record levels.
PRESS RELEASE C/O St Andrews Links Trust