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Columbia Men’s Golf Travels To Scotland

Columbia Men’s Golf Travels To Scotland

Follow the Columbia Men's Golf Team in Scotland

Courtesy of Columbia Sports Information/Media Relations

NEW YORK -- From August 25 to September 2, the Columbia University men's golf team is visiting Scotland to play some of the world's most renowned courses and learn about the rich history surrounding the sport.

The Lions, who are coming off their third consecutive Ivy League championship this past spring, opened their trip on Thursday, August 26 at Prestwick Golf Club in Ayshire. Prestwick inaugurated the first Open Championship (commonly called the British Open) in 1860, and recently celebrated the 150th anniversary of the event in July.

Next, the Columbia men played historic Turnberry Ailsa, where four of the most spellbinding Open Championships took place: the 106th in 1977 (won by Tom Watson), the 115th in 1986 (won by Greg Norman), the 123rd in 1994 (won by Nick Price). Most recently, Stewart Cink defeated Watson in a memorable four-hole playoff in 2009 to win his first major championship.

On Saturday, the Lions ventured off to Carnoustie to play yet another Open Championship venue. Golf has been played over the links at Carnoustie since the 1500’s but the present course came into being in 1850 when it was designed by Alan Robertson of St Andrews. Its famed Barry Burn eases it’s way through the final 3 holes, quietly awaiting a shot that is slightly less than perfect. It was there, in 1999, that Jean Van de Velde lost a chance at being Open Champion and a place in history.

Kingsbarns Golf Course was the scene for Sunday's round. The Kingsbarns Golf Links site has long been known for its intimate connection with the sea. The fact that its golf origins date back to 1793 is testimony to the attributes of the site, which foster ideal conditions for links turf to flourish amid interesting natural terrain.

The next three days will be spent in St. Andrew's, Fife, with hopes of playing at The Old Course. The team will enter the Old Course Ballot on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The Old Course Ballot is a daily lottery-style draw, which enables golfers to try for a tee time on the Old Course. Home to the 2010 Open Championship, The Old Course at St. Andrew's is widely considered the oldest golf course in the world.

One of the unique features of the Old Course are the huge double greens. Seven greens are shared by two holes each, with hole numbers adding up to 18 (2nd paired with 16th, 3rd with 15th, all the way up to 8th and 10th). The Swilcan Bridge, spanning the first and 18th holes, has become a famous icon for golf in the world. Only the 1st, 9th, 17th and 18th holes have their own greens. Another unique feature is that the course can be played in either direction, clockwise or anti-clockwise.