Roger McStravick is so energetically passionate about St Andrews, his explorations into the history of the Auld Grey Toun dive so deep, he just about needs breathing apparatus and a bathysphere.

For a golf historian, there is no finer place to be. St Andrews may be world renowned as the home of golf but, as McStravick says, it is also the “home of golf research”. And researching everything about the cradle of the game is not a task for the faint-hearted.

“There’s so much work to do, it’s almost overwhelming, because things come up all the time,” said McStravick of this tireless, historical spade work.

A huge part of that history, of course, features Old and Young Tom Morris, the celebrated, decorated golfing father and son of yore who remain colossal, iconic figures in the game’s revered pantheon.

“I am a nerd of the highest order,” added the Irishman, who actually shares the same June 16 birthday as Old Tom. “St Andrews has become an obsession for me. I became mesmerised by Old Tom Morris a number of years ago. And when I was told the story of the death of young Tom, I was like Halle Berry on Oscar night. I was a mess. I just started researching and researching. I was voracious. Where people have passions about football teams, I have a massive passion for everything about St Andrews and Old Tom Morris in particular.”

That passion has been flung into the production of numerous, award-winning books. His wonderfully researched and superbly executed “St Andrews – In the footsteps of Old Tom Morris” remains a delightfully evocative meander around the streets, places and landmarks of a town jam-packed with legends and lore.

McStravick’s latest publication, “St Andrews – The Road War Papers”, tells the fascinating and at times absurd tale of a dispute that generated a staggering stooshie in 1879.

Focusing on what is now one of the most famous streets in golf – The Links, which stretches from the corner of Golf Place to Grannie Clark’s Wynd and beyond – The Road War Papers documents a bitter legal wrangle which divided St Andrews and involved all the great figures of the time, including Old Tom.

As the book’s foreword says, the furore generated by the creation of a simple strip of tarmac would, to modern eyes, seem to be a “tempest in the teapot”. But, in 1870s St Andrews, the impact of a road on this cherished piece of public land stoked up a gripping, heated debate of nationwide interest which ended up in the House of Lords.

“When they wanted to allow a road in front of Old Tom Morris’ shop and across the ancient links there was outrage,” said McStravick, who buried himself in the archives at the University of St Andrews to uncover original testimony from the key figures who were cross-examined in the courts.

“There was a box called ‘St Andrews Links’ but they said they weren’t sure what was in it. There were statements for Old Tom and others. I almost had my head in a brown bag hyperventilating when I discovered them. This wasn’t just somebody writing about Tom Morris. It was actual statements by Tom Morris. It was a goldmine and the transcripts are very revealing.”

McStravick’s sleuthing also shed light on the evolution of the Old Course itself.

“Everybody had written that the first hole was created in the 1840s or so,” he said. “But I found the receipt from the 1830s which showed the carter was being paid to take the rubbish from St Andrews, dump it on what was the beach, level it off and that reclaimed land was how the first hole was created. The man who actually did this, John Carstairs, talks about the whole case. The first hole is effectively built on the rubbish.”

For McStravick, the Old Course and St Andrews as a whole is the gift that keeps on giving. “There are so many wonderful twists and turns in the history of St Andrews and that’s the beauty of the place,” he said.

“St Andrews – The Road War Papers”, by Roger McStravick is published by St Andrews Golf Press and distributed by The Golf Book Shop.