Rain at St Andrews
Recent excessively wet weather has had a noticeable effect on the numbers of rounds of golf being played at St Andrews Links. After last year's new record of 215,000 total rounds, this year seemed to be following the same path - until June. With 50% more rain than usual for June, the number of rounds played at St Andrews in June was down by 7% on last year, with the decrease affecting both local and visiting golfers.
Figures for the first six months of 2002 show an overall 2% decrease in golf primarily as a result of fewer visitors, as play by local golfers is up by 1%.
"The weather is clearly deterring casual golfers and last minute visitors," explained Peter Mason, external relations manager at St Andrews Links Trust. "Even the ballot for the Old Course has been relatively quiet so golfers who are happy to play whatever the weather have a better chance than usual at this time of year of getting a tee-time."
Golfers who have ventured out in between downpours will have noticed the effect of the heavy rainfall on the courses as there has been more than the usual greenkeeping activity taking place at the world's most famous golfing venue.
"The greenkeeping teams have had to concentrate on managing the rough including invasive plants such as clover, which is more difficult to spray effectively in wet weather," explained Gordon Moir, Links Superintendent at St Andrews.
"We have had strong winds which displace the sand in the bunkers resulting in many hours spent reshaping and restoring the bunkers. The courses are more lush and greener than we would like. On the bright side, it only takes a few dry and breezy days to firm up the greens to traditional links standards."