For a group of American teens from Northern California and their St Andrews counterparts the summer holidays climaxed with an unforgettable mix of sporting, educational and cultural activities at the Home of Golf.
New Links, a St Andrews-based charity dedicated to helping young people achieve their potential through education, international travel and the game of golf, in partnership with Youth on Course, organised a week in which participants teed it up on six local courses, including the Old Course, toured the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, met representatives of the University’s international admissions department, had a special behind-the-scenes visit to the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns, and found time to go kayaking on the North Sea.
Sandip Nirmel, who is about to start an engineering degree at Harvard, called it “the ultimate golfing and educational experience.”
As well as the Old Course, the group played on the Jubilee and New courses, the Duke’s, where they also had a special links golf clinic, the Torrance, and the hickory-only Kingarrock course at Hill of Tarvit. For context, they visited the British Golf Museum.
UCLA freshman Allyson Chiu said: “The courses back home simply cannot compare to the artistry and creativity of links courses, but most importantly I was able to learn the history of golf and experience the culture in St Andrews.”
New Links co-founder Kenny Wood said: “It was a wonderful week for everyone and there are so many people to thank. I’m very grateful to David Scott at the Duke’s who took time to speak to the group about his life in golf; to Amy Yeates at Fairmont St Andrews; to Karl Morgan and Keith McColl at Kingarrock; to IMG; to the R&A; and to the Links Trust. Jamie and Guy McKenzie of Blown Away provided an exhilarating morning on the ocean, and we were delighted to introduce everyone to the fantastic local cuisine we enjoy in St Andrews.”
In a joint statement, Liyah Lopez, who is about to enrol at Santa Clara University, and Zach Briles, who is going to CSU, Chico, sent thanks “to all the local youth with whom we interacted; they made the experience all the more fun!”
Over 100 young people from Scotland, Kenya, South Africa and the USA have participated in New Links activities since it was founded in 2006 and the organisation has also funded a four-year scholarship at the University of St Andrews.