Think of St Andrews and you, understandably, picture the Old Course. The host of this year’s 150th Open Championship is perhaps golf’s most iconic venue, and is synonymous with the name of the town.
But, travel a few hundred yards from the 18th green, and you’ll find the centre of a town that’s home to around 20,000 people, and perhaps one of Scotland’s most scenic regions.
Along with all the courses under the St Andrews Links banner, it’s home to one of the world’s oldest universities, a stunning harbour and some of the best golf shops (and golf-themed pubs) on the planet.
The Big Bag Trail was launched at the start of June, and here at bunkered, we were lucky enough to get the chance to be one of the first to complete it.
Getting started on the trail is very straightforward. Just download the app, which you can get for either Android or Apple, and you’ll find a map that will point you towards all ten sculptures across town, and let you log your progress as you go.
— TheBigBagTrail (@TheBigBagTrail) June 1, 2022
The idea behind the trail was a simple one. As always, Callaway wanted their special major bag to stand out and, with The 150th Open being the most anticipated event in golf for many years, they wanted something a little bit different.
That’s where local teenage pupils from St Leonards and Madras College came in.
They were tasked with creating a design that would be a little bit different from the usual tour bags, which are usually pretty spectacular as it is. The original plan was for one of these designs to get the nod straight away but, when the drawings were ready, it was clear a tough decision was coming up. Ten bags made the final shortlist, and as Lisa Giove from St Andrews Links Trust explained, it would be a shame for the public not to see them.
“The Big Bag Trail is an initiative we came up with alongside Callaway,” she said.
“This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to engage with the town and the pupils of the town to create the design that, hopefully, some of the world’s best golfers will be using on the Old Course come July.
“When we got the designs through from the pupils, they were just so strong that we felt we just had to do something, from creating these fibre glass structures to then filling them with breeze blocks before we put them out on the trail.
“It’s going to be massively rewarding when we’ve got hundreds of thousands of people coming to St Andrews and seeing the talent we have in the town.”
Of course, for Callaway’s bag designers, the prospect of producing ten different outlines would be a scary one. So, just one of the templates on display will make its way to some of the best players in the world’s bags. That decision will come down to some of the players set to tee it up in the 150th Open, as Owen Davies from Callaway explained.
“The players absolutely love it,” he said. “One of the reasons we wanted to do something extra special was the bags mean a lot to the players.
“For the pupil that has their bag chosen, for them to see one of the best players in the world walking up the 18th, to see them potentially going to tap-in to win the Open, it would be a magical experience.”
Having walked the trail and got a close look at all the sculptures, I don’t envy the players tasked with selecting a design. As you’ll see, the pupils, along with local artists who helped bring the ideas to life, have done an excellent job. Each design clearly has a Scottish feel to it, incorporating some of the most recognisable features of not just Fife, but the rest of the country. It’s genuinely impressive.
— bunkered (@BunkeredOnline) June 1, 2022
As you walk the trail and tick off each bag, you’ll get information on each design on the app, while also getting the chance to cast a vote for your favourite. I’d recommend you leave that until the end of the walk, as chances are it will change several times.
If you’re a quick walker and, unlike myself, don’t get lost easily, you’ll probably get round the trail in under an hour, but if you’re stopping at each bag, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon. Between each bag, you’ll take in the sights of the home of golf, all away from the golf course and through historic landmarks such as the Cathedral and St Andrews University.
For those who are in town and fancy time away from the golf course, it’s a great use of an afternoon.
The Big Bag Trail app is available to download for free on Apple and Android.