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How old is the iconic Swilcan Bridge at St Andrews for The Open?


It’s one of the most iconic shots in the whole of golf, but just how old is the Swilcan Bridge at St Andrews as it hosts The Open? What was it previously used for?

Few sporting locations around the world are as instantly recognisable as the Swilcan Bridge at St Andrews in Scotland.

Maybe London’s Oval cricket ground with the old gas works nearby, or perhaps the Monaco Grand Prix, but this small bridge on a course on the Scottish coast is one of the most famous locations in the sport.

Just how old is the Swilcan Bridge at St Andrews – and what was it previously used for?

Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

How old is the Swilcan Bridge?

Although an exact date is not known, it is estimated that the Swilcan Bridge has stood at St Andrews for about 700 years.

It was previously known as the golfers’ bridge as it links Holes 1 and 18 at the historic venue, with the actual Swilcan Bridge being a little further down the way.

It is a small 30 feet long by eight feet wide by six feet tall structure that spans the Swilcan Burn – the course of which is usually determined by the tide.

Long before Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jack Nicklaus and co turned up with the clubs, the Swilcan Bridge was used by shepherds moving their livestock around the place.

Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Nicklaus says goodbye

Of all the iconic moments from the Swilcan Bridge, one stands out.

In 2005, after his final tee shot on the fairway, Nicklaus bid farewall on the Swilcan Bridge, after 18 majors and marking himself as one of golf’s greatest figures.

After he gave his address, The Golden Bear birdied a 15ft put on the 18th to bring the curtain down on his major career, retiring shortly afterwards.

He missed the cut however on that day.

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