The Swilcan Bridge at St. Andrews got a makeover, and golf fan are not happy about it
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The Swilcan Bridge at St. Andrews got a makeover, and golf fan are not happy about it

The Swilcan Bridge -- which runs over the burn between the 18th tee and the rest of the 18th hole on the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland -- is a sacred landmark in golf. Practically every golfer that has ever played the Old Course in the modern era has had their picture taken walking over it as some point. It's practically a ritual.

However, the St. Andrews Links Trust has made a change to the Swilcan Bridge, and a lot of golf fans aren't happy about it.

On both side of the Swilcan Bridge, the Trust created a circular stone area -- like a patio of sorts -- that covers the space leading up to and just after the crossing. Some have called it a patio, while others called it a cul-de-sac. However, the opinion is almost universal that it doesn't look good.

So, why did the Trust do this?

The reason is that the Swilcan Bridge is a high-traffic area. Golfers are walking over it all day, and it still gets plenty of traffic when the Old Course becomes a public park on Sundays. Naturally, high foot-traffic areas are spots where it is difficult to grow and maintain grass. The Trust was clearly trying to think of a way to keep the area looking nice instead of constantly having to put sod down or worry about having a worn or muddy path to and from the Swilcan Bridge.

This doesn't seem like the best solution, though it doesn't look quite as jarring when viewed from afar or even a side angle. Some have suggested the best solution would be some kind of artificial turf look, with plenty of drainage underneath to prevent the area from becoming a collection spot for water.

Who knows if this is going to be a permanent fix. It could just as easily be gone next week if the reaction is particularly bad. However, this wasn't done with the idea of desecrating a sacred space in golf. It was an attempt to make it better.

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