St. Andrews is the mecca of golf and the Swilken Bridge is one of the most recognizable images of golf history. Although I have never visited St. Andrews, I had the opportunity to see a replica of the Swilken Bridge at Wildfire Golf Course!
Here is a bit of history on this famous bridge:
The Swilken Bridge, or Swilken Burn Bridge, is a famous small stone bridge in St Andrews Links golf course, Scotland. The bridge spans the Swilken Burn between the first and eighteenth fairways on the Old Course, and has itself become an important cultural icon in the sport of golf. The bridge itself is extremely small; at its furthest extents it measures about 30 feet long, eight feet wide and six feet tall, in the style of a simple Roman arch. Originally built at least 700 years ago to help shepherds get livestock across, it has the modern photographic advantage of great backdrops on three sides: the course’s grand Royal and Ancient Clubhouse and Hamilton Hall on one, often a packed grandstand of enthusiasts on another, and rolling hills facing toward the North Sea, on the last. (Wikipedia)
On my trip to Wildfire Golf Course I was fortunate to be paired with Jeremy Sizer. Jeremy is the Superintendent of the Roundel Glen Golf Course, but in his former life, he was a greens keeper at Wildfire. He provided an awesome tour of the course by describing all the nuances on every hole. He talked about how the unique aspects of the course were built and why! It was great listening to him describe everything with such passion.
One of the most interesting stories was about the bridge on the first hole. He described how the owner labored over trying to replicate the Swilken Bridge stone by stone. He talked about how the owner meticulously searched for the right stones to ensure a perfect match. It took a fair bit of time and I applaud him for his efforts!
It was great a bit of golf history to Canada. It is these rare opportunities that keep golf fun. There are similar courses in Canada that replicate other historic golf images and might make a great book some day, but for now it was very interesting to see this bridge and hope to find other treasures in the future!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!