The stonework construction that temporarily fronted the Swilcan Bridge was likened to a garden patio BBQ area by some critics

Swilcan Bridge ‘patio extension’ removed after public backlash

You mess with the Home of Golf at your peril. That would appear to be the over-riding message after the St Andrews Links Trust’s decision to build what looks like a circular garden patio leading up to the famous Swilcan Bridge on the 18th hole of the Old Course was met with such a torrent of negative comments on various social media platforms that is was forced to back down on the project and return it to its original state.

The scene of many of golf’s most iconic moments over the centuries, and traversed by nearly all of the game’s greats, from Old Tom Morris to Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, the 30-foot long arched bridge, which was originally built to help shepherds move their flocks of sheep over the Swilcan Burn, has been desecrated – well, it has to naysayers, of which there seems to be many.

‘That’s like drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa’ quipped @warrenallsworth on Twitter, while @jabba2711 commented, ‘The only thing missing is wrought iron patio furniture’.

The St Andrews Links Trust, which manages seven courses in St Andrews, including the Old Course, initially tried to defend the decision to build the extra hard standing as a way of dealing with the intensive levels of foot traffic that the area is subjected to during the golf season, and on other days when tourists and golf fans flock to have their picture taken on the bridge, but it soon became clear that the golfing public was having none of it.

The Links Trust said previous solutions, including the installation of artificial turf and replacement of natural turf, did not prove successful in “adequately protecting the area from the significant wear and tear”, but after several days of social media indignation, with the likes of Sir Nick Faldo and Ken Brown weighing in with their objections, the Trust was forced to back down and has now issued a statement saying that the concreted area will be returned to its former state – turf – while a long-term solution to the problem is thought through.

“We recognise that as such an iconic landmark in golf, the Swilcan Bridge retains a special place in the heart of many golfers and as such can be emotive topic. We believe we are unable to create a look which is in keeping its iconic setting and have taken the decision to remove it.”

The St Andrews Links Trust wasted no time in returfing the area that had previously been occupied by the unsightly area of stone paving after reacting to a massive public backlash