Walking The Big Bag Trail in St Andrews
St Andrews is unquestionably one of the great walking towns. It packs so many places of intrigue and beauty into a small area. Just a short wander from the legendary Old Course and spectacular West Sands, visitors can stumble across the atmospheric medieval structures of the Castle and Cathedral, check out the charming boutique shops and bustling pubs, or venture a little farther to the ancient harbour and East Sands - which in the opinion of this resident is the true hidden gem of this fascinating town.
Ahead of the 150th Open, when the eyes of the world shall fall upon this beloved corner of Fife, these historic streets have been enhanced by the introduction of a fabulous collaboration between Callaway Golf and the St Andrews Links Trust.
Celebrating the community and the talents of its young people, these two revered institutions have launched The Big Bag Trail, a project that challenged the pupils of local schools; Madras College and St Leonards - to design tour golf bags that were inspired by their affection for St Andrews, Fife, and Scotland as a whole.
From 65 submissions, 10 finalists were subsequently selected (five from each school), with those imaginative concepts being transformed by Wild in Art into tour bag sized sculptures that adorn strategic locations throughout the town for six weeks leading up to and during the milestone championship. One of them will even be chosen to be used during The Open.
Neil Howie, President and Managing Director, Callaway EMEA, said: "This has become one of the most ambitious, exciting and innovative celebrations of golf we have ever undertaken, and there was no better place to do it than at the Home of Golf in Scotland, on the eve of the 150th Open."
We have just completed @TheBigBagTrail!— golfshake (@golfshake) June 9, 2022
This is a fabulous collaboration between @CallawayGolfEU and @TheHomeofGolf, decorating the streets and landmarks of St Andrews with creative designs by local school pupils. pic.twitter.com/XrCPNAcXP9
Each of the sculptures are accompanied with a descriptive plaque that provides detail behind the inspiration for the design, a creative showcase that has appealed to both schools.
Ken Currie, Rector, Madras College, St Andrews, commented: “The Big Bag Trail provided a fantastic opportunity for our young people to showcase their amazing talents in our local community. Beyond that, our finalists have been afforded a front-seat experience into the exciting world of sport, business and marketing as The Big Bag Trail concept has progressed in the run up to the 150th Open at St Andrews. This exciting partnership between our school, St Andrews Links and Callaway Golf has added significant relevance and value to the learning, skills and confidence of pupils from Madras College.”
Simon Brian, Head of St Leonards School, St Andrews, added: “Our school is known for its innovation in all aspects of education, and in its commitment to fostering a thriving community of creativity. The Callaway Golf bag design competition sparked the imagination and curiosity of so many of our students, and saw an incredible breadth of entries from our learners. The remit was in line with the approach to learning they encounter in their lives at St Leonards, that is to say guided and driven by their own individual interests and inquisitiveness, and thus giving them real ownership of their learning and real satisfaction in leading their own process of design."
Having now walked the complete trail - which can be guided by a free-to-download app for Android or Apple devices - it was wonderful to see this public artwork that has complemented many popular and also sometimes overlooked corners of St Andrews, providing a perfect excuse to explore the town ahead of The Open, with the thousands of spectators attending the championship set to have that opportunity too when their attention is briefly diverted from watching the world's best golfers to walk the historic streets themselves.
Among the legacies of The Big Bag Trail - and one that will make a tangible difference to lives - is that on Tuesday 19th July, 48 hours after The Champion Golfer of the Year has been crowned, the ten sculptures will be auctioned at a special evening event at the Tom Morris Bar & Grill in the St Andrews Links Clubhouse.
All proceeds from the auction will go to CHAS (Children’s Hospices Across Scotland) and Scottish Sports Futures (Changing Lives Through Sport).
The beauty of The Old Course - and The Open when it comes to St Andrews - is that the venue and town are entwined. The Big Bag Trail is a unique way to celebrate that relationship between the game and its spiritual home.
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