Golf: Plan Ahead

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The Independent Online
The Alfred Dunhill Cup is golf's equivalent of Davis Cup tennis, the world team competition, involving the top professionals. It is has been held at St Andrews, 'the home of golf', in Scotland, since its inception in 1985, and this year the tournament runs from 15 to 18 October.

Eight nations have been invited and eight have had to qualify, and among the 16 finalists are teams from the United States, Australia, Japan and Sweden, last year's winners. Of the home countries, Wales failed to qualify.

The playing format this year has been changed, giving the spectator better value for money. Australia, the joint favourites last year, will be staying for at least three days this time. Instead of the knockout system, which allowed for shock defeats, like Australia's, on the first day and an early exit from the Cup, the competition will be a round- robin in four groups for the first three rounds. The winners of each group go into the semi-finals on the Sunday morning with the final contested in the afternoon.

Tickets for the event, which is held on the Old Course at St Andrews, can be purchased daily at the club or, in advance, from Auchterlonies, the golf club manufacturer and shop, in the town. The season ticket also includes the pro-am competition. There is plenty of public car parking and is well signposted.

St Andrews and North-East Fife tourist board has a comprehensive guide to accommodation, including self-catering. Demand for hotels and guest houses in the town for Friday and Saturday is already high, but there is plenty of bed and breakfast, and the board can arrange accommodation outside St Andrews, if necessary. The town is served by Leuchars railway station on the London to Aberdeen line. The five-mile journey can be made by bus or taxi (about pounds 7).

Alfred Dunhill Cup, Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, 15-18 October. Pro-am day, 14 October.

Admission: Daily pounds 8 adults, pounds 4.50 under-18s and OAPs. Season ticket pounds 30, pounds 15 (includes pro-am day). In advance: Auchterlonies, 2-4 Golf Place, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9JA (Tel: 0334-73253).

St Andrew and North-East Fife Tourist Board, 78 South Street, St Andrews KY16 9JX (Tel: 0334-72021).