16th October 2023


St Andrews Links Trust has published its official Annual Report & Accounts for 2022, underlining how the organisation began a strong recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic following the lifting of restrictions on international travel.

Following two years of losses in 2020 and 2021 which totalled £11.1m, the Home of Golf returned a profit of £3.7m in 2022, largely as a result of visitor income and improved trading conditions across its facilities.

With the easing of international travel restrictions in April 2022, visitor traffic returned to pre-pandemic levels with income of £33.2m even outstripping the £29.2m seen in 2019.

This success was mirrored across all areas of the Trust with golf, retail and F&B all benefitting from an uptick in visitor income throughout 2022.

In total 254,298 rounds of golf were played across the seven courses at St Andrews Links during 2022 with around 50 per cent of these by visitors. The remainder of rounds were played by yearly ticketholders, who pay an annual fee for playing rights at St Andrews Links. In 2022, yearly ticketholder prices included a fixed fee rise of £100 to support the financial recovery of the Trust.

The 2022 Annual Report & Accounts outline the Trust’s strategy to continue its recovery by maximising income streams across all areas and rebuilding the cash reserves decimated by the losses of 2020 and 2021. An infrastructure investment strategy, which was placed on hold in 2020, will also be revisited to deliver reinvestment into the Trust’s facilities, many of which are approaching many decades of operation.

Neil Coulson, Chief Executive of St Andrews Links Trust, said: “While 2022 began with significant uncertainty amid talk of new Covid strains, the lifting of travel restrictions in April set us on the path to begin our recovery following the two most difficult years in the history of the Trust.

“The return to pre-Covid income levels underlines the important balance between welcoming international visitors to the Home of Golf and looking after our yearly ticketholders both in St Andrews and beyond. I am delighted with how our dedicated staff coped with the transition from operations of the previous two years to the sudden return of high demand across the Links. As a business, we were able to achieve so much in 2022 including the historic hosting of The 150th Open. It is a testament to our staff and all of our stakeholders that the year was such a success, and to our visitors whose desire to visit the Home of Golf remained undimmed throughout.

“While 2023 has undoubtedly brought some different challenges as we have dealt with unprecedented demand, the outlook for St Andrews Links is positive with the team here determined to continue our recovery and to deliver on the ambition maximise and reinvest income back into the Links to enhance the experience we provide.”

As a charitable organisation, St Andrews Links Trust exists to manage, maintain and preserve the golf courses and facilities on behalf of the people of St Andrews and the golfers who visit. Profit derived from the Trust’s commercial activities is reinvested back into the Links. The Trust will mark its 50th year in 2024 following its establishment by the St Andrews Links Order Confirmation Act 1974.

The Trust employs more than 350 members of staff as well as supporting the visitor economy in St Andrews and beyond with visitors contributing to hospitality and retail businesses during their trip. VisitScotland estimate the value of golf tourism to Scotland to be around £300m annually.

The full St Andrews Links Trust Annual Report & Accounts for 2022 can be found here: SALT 2022 Annual Report & Accounts

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