Swilken Bridge

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Swilken Bridge
Bridge Photo.jpg
Photo of the Swilken Bridge, St. Andrews, Scotland

The Swilken Bridge, or Swilken Burn Bridge, is a famous small stone bridge in St Andrews Links golf course, Scotland. The bridge spans the Swilken Burn between the first and eighteenth fairways on the Old Course, and has itself become an important cultural icon in the sport of golf.[1]

The bridge itself is extremely small; at its furthest extents it measures about 30 feet long, eight feet wide and six feet tall, in the style of a simple Roman arch. Originally built at least 700 years ago to help shepherds get livestock across, it has the modern photographic advantage of great backdrops on three sides: the course’s grand Royal and Ancient Clubhouse and Hamilton Hall on one, often a packed grandstand of enthusiasts on another, and rolling hills facing toward the North Sea, on the last.

The list of golf enthusiasts, and other celebrities, to have had commanding or silly portraits taken at the bridge has always read like a Who's Who of the sport, but it is customary for champions of golf to publicly show some sort of homage or respect to the small and unimposing structure. A recent display was by Tom Watson in early July 2010 at The Open Championship, when he was photographed kissing the bridge.[2] Also, at the 2005 Open Championship, Jack Nicklaus gave his final farewell to professional golf while standing on the bridge.[3] Other notable celebrities of past and present include: Tom Morris, Sr., Tom Morris, Jr., Sam Snead, Lee Trevino, J.H. Taylor, Bill Murray, Bobby Jones, Margaret Hamilton, Arnold Palmer, Harry Vardon, Bob Martin, Henry Cotton, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Nick Faldo and Tom Watson.

On the second floor of the World Golf Hall of Fame museum in St. Augustine, Florida, there is a life-size stone replica of the Swilcan Bridge, accompanied with a floor-to-ceiling photograph of the Royal & Ancient clubhouse and Hamilton Hall in the background.[3]

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Coordinates: 56°20′36″N 2°48′25″W / 56.3432°N 2.8070°W / 56.3432; -2.8070