Work has begun on the iconic R&A clubhouse at St Andrews to add a female locker room for the very first time.
Women members and guests currently have to use an external facility 50 yards away at Forgan House, but plans are underway to change this setup.
Women members were admitted for the first time in 2014 – at a club that had previously contained an all-male membership of 2,400 names.
The location of the clubhouse that overlooks the first tee and 18th green of the Old Course will not be changed as the R&A felt its iconic position was too important to move.
Reports of the plans first emerged in 2019 when they were just images and artists’ impressions. Construction is now under way at the venue, which held the 150th Open Championship in 2022.
Bob Denney posted a picture of the current state of the clubhouse on Twitter. There will also be a new car park area and a drastic increase to 450 lockers from 120.
Fife Council gave the go-ahead in early 2021 and construction will virtually treble the accommodation space. This will help the clubhouse deal with increasing visitor demand as well as footfall at prestigious professional golf tournaments.
A bag storage area for up to 500 golf bags, a new drying room and a family-friendly meeting area is also set to take shape in an attempt to promote junior golf at the major host venue.
The Cutty Sark flagpole and the Playfair Monument are due to be dismantled and revamped as part of the new outlook as the works to the clubhouse represent the biggest reconstruction plans since it was opened in 1854.
The works apply solely to the R&A clubhouse and will not affect the vast majority of golfers who visit St Andrews. Female golfers who visit the Home of Golf can make use of the facilities in the Links Clubhouse.
The changes to arguably the game’s most famous building follow the uproar last week when another historic landmark in the Auld Grey Toon was altered.
St Andrews Links Trust backtracked and removed the so-called ‘patio’ added to the Swilcan Bridge to limit the damage caused by tens of thousands of golfers in the approach to the historic walkway.
The bridge crosses the Swilcan Burn on the 1st and 18th holes and golf fans became outraged such a famous landmark was altered.
Follow NCG on Twitter here for more stories like this!
Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?