THEY battle it out for golfing supremacy, biannually in the Ryder Cup.

From dress code to driving style, the differences between the American and Scottish game have been debated by sports commentators for generations.

While it is generally accepted that modern golf originated at the Old Course in St Andrews, arguments over which country produces the best golfers are unlikely to be settled any time soon.

However, in terms of skill and technique the Americans may now have won a round.

The five-star hotel, which is owned by Herb Kohler, a bathroom hardware magnate from the US, has historically had a problem with wayward balls hitting its walls and it seems Scottish golfers may be mostly to blame.

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According to hotel bosses it is the American golfers who are able to add enough curl in their stroke to prevent it hitting the walls of the hotel, which borders the famous 17th ‘Road hole’. Scots golfers, are said to be more likely to hit the building.

A hotel source said: “They have to hit it over the green sheds which is part of the hotel. It is famous and notoriously difficult.”

The hotel, which overlooks the West Sands beach made famous in the film Chariots of Fire, has also had to take action to help protect guests who are enjoying a drink in the beer garden of its Jigger Inn from errant balls.


Plans for a 14 metre long and 4.7 metre high safety net have been submitted to Fife Council, with applicants the Old Course Limited formally requesting a temporary relaxation of planning permission to put the barrier up until at least November.

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Normally specific planning consent would be required to put up a fence or wall exceeding two metres in height.

Neil Gray, from Gray Planning and Development Limited, said: “The development is solely required to provide physical distancing in response to Covid19 – i.e. the customers seated outside are being directly placed in risk of stray golf balls.”

The temporary move comes three years after a similar application from bosses at the Old Course Hotel Golf Resort and Spa.

In that case they were seeking to protect buildings alongside the 17th hole because of damage caused by errant drives. Built in 1968, the Old Course hotel has welcomed celebrity guests including Justin Timberlake, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

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There are 11 golf courses surrounding the hotel, including its own championship course, The Duke’s, which can be reached by a free shuttle.

Plans are being taken forward to expand the hotel to increase its 144-bedroom capacity, expand conference facilities and add a new events space. The project comes following an extension and refurbishment that was completed in 2018 to the hotel’s Kohler Waters Spa and Fitness Centre.