After four agonising years, the R&A is to scrap its controversial ‘no-readmission’ policy for those attending next year’s 150th Open Championship at St Andrews and beyond.
Ever since the 2017 Open at Royal Birkdale, ticket holders have not been allowed to leave the confines of golf’s oldest major and re-enter the grounds on any of the seven days.
It’s meant paying highly-inflated prices for food and drink on top of the eye-watering price of £95 for an adult daily Thursday to Sunday entry ticket it will cost to attend next year at St. Andrews.
The R&A’s no re-admissions policy has also incurred the wrath of local businesses crying out in being deprived of any business during Open Championship week.
In introducing their ‘no re-entry’ policy, the R&A insisted the rule was necessary to crack down on the sale of non-official or pirate hospitality, which is often latched onto Open branding. Now after so many complaints in the ensuing five years, The Open has been staged, the R&A have listened to the paying public with spectators allowed to come-and-go from 2022 as they please.
A spokesman for the R&A said: “We have reviewed our no readmission policy following the Open at Royal St George’s and believe it has proved effective in deterring unofficial hospitality providers and protecting fans.
“In light of this, we have decided to amend the policy for the 150th Open at St Andrews and future championships so that ticket holders will be able to come and go from the venue.
“We will monitor the situation closely, however, and if these problems re-occur we will consider reinstating the policy.”
The news will also delight businesses around Royal Liverpool, which will stage the 2023 Open, and Royal Troon, the venue for 2024. Royal Portrush is expected to be named as the Open’s venue for 2025, after the hugely successful return of the competition to Northern Ireland in 2019.
Also with this announcement we remember three years ago when David Valentine, the proprietor of Simpson’s famed golf shop across the street from Carnoustie’s 18th green, started an online petition which stated of spectators: “The R&A’s ‘no-readmission’ policy will effectively lock them on course all day, every day unless they pay again.”
It’s taken four Open Championships but thankfully common sense has prevailed.