Go for St Andrews International?

By AML

The much-mooted St Andrews International Golf Club project may be close to starting construction.

The course, which has been planned for the Feddinch Mains Farm site, above the historic city, was originally promoted by an American developer that later went bankrupt. The 244 acre site was acquired by Scotia Investments LP, fronted by Ewan McKay of the Glen Trusta Estate, Angus, earlier this year. McKay’s association with the project goes back to 2003/2004.

Scotia has established St Andrews International Private Members Golf Club Limited (SAIGC) through which it intends to develop, fund and manage the course and clubhouse. SAIGC will eventually be majority owned by its members.

The development plan comprises a golf course, practice range, putting green and a boutique clubhouse providing accommodation and spa facility for members and guests. Tom Weiskopf’s firm is to design the course. The course will play 7,373 yards from the back tees, and will include a bye or 19th hole. It will, the developers say, be totally devoid of trees with the design producing fast and firm fairways, with revetted bunkers, crossing burns, heather, gorse and numerous knolls in the rough areas covered with native grasses and wildflowers.

Commencement on site is anticipated in August 2011, with a planned opening date of summer 2014. However, the project has attracted controversy, with the St Andrews Preservation Trust among the organisations that has registered its opposition.

Councillor Robin Waterston told the local paper: “This project is highly controversial, and there are serious outstanding questions about the planning history of the golf course application. It is important to be clear that there is no approval for the principle of a clubhouse on this site, and obtaining permission will not be a formality. To proceed with the construction of a golf course in the hope of eventual approval of the clubhouse would be a very high-risk strategy. I strongly urge Scotia Investments not to begin any golf course works until approval of the clubhouse has been obtained.”

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