Scots golf course named after Prince Andrew refuses to change despite scandal

One of Scotland’s top golf courses is refusing to change its name over the sex scandal engulfing Prince Andrew.

The Duke’s Course at St Andrews is sticking with the “well established” name – despite pressure from Fife politicians to cut ties with the royal.

The course – owned by the famous Old Course Hotel – was named after the Duke of York and it was Andrew who hit the first ball when opening it with the British Lions rugby team in 1995.

Andrew was last week pressured into giving up his membership at the historic Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in Scotland. His patronage of him at other golf clubs has also been cancelled.

Prince Andrew opening Duke’s Course, St Andrews July 1995, with playing partner Gavin Hastings in the background

Other clubs and groups worldwide have been moving fast to “cancel” the duke amid revelations over his conduct.

But Kohler, the Wisconsin-based company that owns The Old Course Hotel and The Duke’s Course, are refusing to consider a change of name.

A member of the £800-a-year Dukes Course, who contacted the Daily Record, said the club should act decisively.

The member said: “The club has such an explicit association with this man and this has become a problem that must be sorted out.

“The club was very proud that he hit the first shot when he opened the course back in 1985 but in those days he was a dashing prince who added huge status.

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“In recent times the Prince Andrew brand has become toxic. It wouldn’t take too much creativity to rename the course something more appropriate.”

Phyllis Wilkie, General Manager of the Old Course Hotel, St. Andrews

In response, the Old Course’s general manager Phyllis Wilkie said the course would stand its ground on the name.

She said: “We always take the views of our members extremely seriously but to date we have received no approaches on this matter. We currently have no plans to change our course’s widely recognized name.”

Scottish Labor MSP Claire Baker, who represents Mid Scotland and Fife, said: “In light of the very serious accusations leveled against Prince Andrew, it is only right that the Duke’s course is re-named.

“This is a major tourist attraction which supports the local economy of St Andrews and Fife in general. That’s why it is of paramount importance that the reputation of the Royal and Ancient golf course is protected.”

Duke’s Course claims to be one of the best in Scotland

And Wendy Chamberlain, the Lib Dem MP for north east Fife, added: “It would be in line with the decision of Prince Andrew to withdraw from many areas of public life and titles if the owners of the course were to follow suit and change who the course is named after.”

The prince failed to block a civil lawsuit brought by Virginia Guiffre last month.

Guiffre claims she was trafficked by the prince’s friends Jeffrey Epstein and convicted sex offender Ghislaine Maxwell and had sex with him when she was 17 and underage.

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Andrew has always denied those charges and recently requested a trial by jury.

Prince Andrew, Virginia Giuffre, and Ghislaine Maxwell

The legal developments prompted The Queen to remove all of his military affiliations and royal patronages.

Other golf clubs have already taken action against Andrew.

The Prince lost honorary titles at three courses in Northern Ireland – Royal Portrush, Royal Belfast and Royal County Down – in the wake of the growing scandal.

It is thought that the severe ties with Andrew and the R and A will lead to a torrent of other moves to cancel his status and standing in other clubs.

Prince Andrew opening Dukes Course, St. Andrews July 1995

Andrew has been a member of the R&A since 1992 – three years before he partnered Scotland rugby hero Gavin Hastings in the first ceremonial game played at the course. He was its captain during its 250th anniversary year in 2004, the sixth member of the Royal Family to hold that office and the first to serve on one of the club’s committees.

The Duke’s Course, designed by Peter Thomson, states on its website: “The 6,983 yard Duke’s course is a classic inland design and is characterized by small undulations, currently displaying all the hallmarks of the great heathland courses of the early 1920s.

“The Duke’s was opened in July 1995 by The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, who played an inaugural round with British Lions.”

After the prince offered his resignation to the R&A, a spokesperson said: “I can confirm that The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has received notification that the Duke of York will relinquish his Honorary Membership. We respect and appreciate his decision from him.”

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Virginia Giuffre’s civil lawsuit, lodged in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, is made under the Child Victims Act, a state law enacted in New York in 2019 which expanded the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases to give survivors more opportunities to seek justice.

Ghislaine Maxwell is due to be sentenced in late June after her conviction on charges including sex trafficking and conspiracy relating to the recruitment of teenage girls for financier Epstein to sexually abuse.

Buckingham Palace has announced Andrew would have his military titles and patronages removed.

He will also no longer style himself as His Royal Highness – HRH.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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