St Andrews in Scotland to host first ever Golf Festival

Scotland, dubbed the ‘Home of Golf’, is gearing up to stage its first ever Golf Festival, drawing international visitors to celebrate over 600 years of golf in Scotland and around the world.The vibrant five day festival, set to take place between March 21st and April 1st 2011 will include a host of networking events, guest speakers, competitions and street games.

Richard Wax, Chairman of the Golf Festival told BTN: ”As a golfing visitor, I have felt since my “Eureka” moment some 17 years ago that St Andrews under-delivers from the aspect of welcoming golfing “pilgrims” who travel from around the world to the “Mecca” of golf. The clubs overlooking the famous Old Course are invariably private and there is literally nowhere where golfers can get together of an evening, make new friends, share the pleasures of humour, literature, art, traditions, the heroes who have won memorable championships.So the Festival is focused on filling this gap for a short period of five days but the effort which we have deployed will have benefits thereafter as the hotels and B&B’s are realising that they have been taking the golf market somewhat for granted.

They are in a competitive market for the tourist dollar and need to emphasise why St Andrews is the home of golf, to reinforce its core message of “golf for all” and not just the happy few, the essential values of the game such as integrity, respect of the environment and of one’s playing partners and opponents. The guest speakers and events will be filmed and be made accessible globally via the Internet. We have a database of some 1,800 golf writers around the world many of whom we know personally.

Speaking of innovations, Richard Wax added: ”The core team which is coming up with new ideas such as the playing of Street Golf in the lanes of St Andrews which evokes references to a game called “Sillybodkins” which is mentioned as having been played in the 1830’s by one of the most influential persons in the history of the game, Old Tom Morris. In those days the game was played with a cork held together with nails! We will select 18 “holes” through the beautiful old town each close to a location with golfing connotations from the past. Competitions and fun games will be held both during the Festival and afterwards.The University of St Andrews with its 8,000 students will love getting dressed up in old golfing attire to enjoy a stress-free “round” of golf.The Town of St Andrews with its 8,000 population will see more business coming through the shops and restaurants due to visitors discovering the beauties of the town through “Street Golf.”

Photos and film footage of golfers in 1850’s attire playing golf with a backdrop of the ruined Cathedral, the splendid beach where Chariots of Fire was filmed and the secluded courtyards of the University will be beamed around the world projecting a new and fun image of the ‘Auld Toun’, as St Andrews is known universally.