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About Us

The St Andrews Resident Golfers Association is a central platform for all resident golfers of St Andrews. Our mission is to gather and reflect the opinions of resident golfers regarding the provision of golf on the St Andrews Links. We aim to provide information about St Andrews Links and assessments of resident golfers points of view.

Golf Equipment

Golf in St Andrews 


It is a unique privilege to be able to play golf in St Andrews as many people from all over the globe do each year. The high standards of the golf courses and associated facilities are largely funded by income derived from visitors, residents and other links ticket holders. Benefits from the Links extend to the wider Northeast Fife and Scottish economies. Consequently there are many competing interests in maintaining the quality of the golf experience available in St Andrews and a balance must be struck between these. 


What is the St Andrews Resident Golfers Association (STARGA)? 


This Association has been set up to look after the interests of people of St Andrews who hold resident tickets for the Links. It is 50 years since the St Andrews Links Trust (SALT) was set up to manage the courses and over time there has been a perceived dilution in the golfing experience of local residents due in large part to record numbers of visitors pressurising a finite number of tee times. The Association comprises like minded individuals who wish to maintain the rights of resident golfers and to provide a conduit for local issues to be raised. 

Why is STARGA necessary? 


The 1974 Act of the Westminster Parliament which set up the SALT directs the Trustees to “maintain the links for the residents of the town of St Andrews and others resorting thereto”. There are 8 trustees on the SALT appointed by the following bodies: 3 are appointed by the R&A, 3 from Fife Council, 1 by the Scottish Government and the final place is for the local MP.  None of the local golf clubs or residents have any status on the SALT and cannot influence decisions which are taken about their interests. Given this lack of ability to directly have the voice of the resident heard the Association seeks to act as a focal point for identifying and communicating issues to bodies such as SALT, Fife Council and local politicians. In 2022 SALT reached an annual turnover of over £37m generating a significant surplus; an emphasis on commercial gain may subvert the original intention of the Act and the interests of residents, this sentiment was clearly expressed by A C Rutherford, one of the architects of the 1974 Act, in a letter to the St Andrews Citizen in 2008. 


Do the Golf Clubs not represent residents? 


In 1974 members of the clubs in the town would largely be residents. Over the years this has changed and today local clubs have far more members who are not resident in the town. There are about 700 resident ticket holders who are members of clubs compared to nearly 1300 ordinary tickets from those outwith NE Fife. The clubs are there to look after the interests of all of their members not just residents and inevitably their priorities may not be the same as a resident living in the town. It is felt that a residents only group would complement the work that the clubs undertake. 


What will STARGA hope to achieve? 


It is hoped that by engaging with residents it will become clearer as to what the views and issues are from a local golfer perspective. Once there is some clarity about the issues it is the intention of the Association to raise these with the relevant authorities to promote change. For example a local time could apply only to those with resident tickets.  SALT is clearly a significant player but Fife Council, elected politicians and the Scottish Government all have a role to play in supporting the resident golfer. This is why the Association wishes to learn the views of resident golfers to see if there is a case for change. 


Why should residents support STARGA and can I join? 


There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that residents are unhappy with access to the courses and that over recent years it has become increasingly difficult to play on the links. The number of visitors and the extension of the playing season means that the courses do not have time to recover and are deteriorating when compared to previous years. In order to protect the interest of the resident golfer we believe that it is important that as many residents as possible support the Association and make their views known. The Association is therefore open to all who have a residents ticket and active participation from as many people as possible is encouraged. 


What can I do to help STARGA? 


If you are a resident and have a resident links ticket then we want to hear your views. We encourage participation in any meetings set up to discuss the provision of golf on the links. One of the intentions of the original Act was to look after residents interests and we want to hear from you as to whether this is being done adequately. There will be a survey issued as part of this process and we encourage active participation so that the Association learns first hand what residents really think about golf in the town. 

How will STARGA operate? 


The proposition is that the Association will be light touch with limited bureaucracy. There is a website to act as a focal point for participants and communication will be by email. It is felt that the opportunity to discuss common issues in an informal atmosphere will also be valuable so there will be the opportunity for face to face meetings. 


Is the 1974 Act not due to expire? 


The 1974 Act was promoted through Parliament as a private members bill by Willie Whitelaw a former R&A Captain. There is only one club named (the R&A) and the bodies appointing trustees reflected those who possibly wanted to protect their interests at that time. In 1996 the expiry date of the Act was removed so there has not been any update or renewal to reflect modern trends such as the expansion of the number of visitors. The society we live in has also changed and a key question is whether the current dated Act is fit for purpose. If residents want to see their rights preserved and to ensure that there is appropriate access to the links, that are such an important part of the heritage of the town, then all options for improvement should be considered. 

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