Edinburgh, Aug.22 : The world's oldest golf course has been discovered in the Scotland's Western Isles.
The little-known Askermish Golf Club, dubbed the sport's "Holy Grail", is located on South Uist is regarded as potentially among the best links courses in the world.
It is said to be 117 years old and was designed by legendary golfer Old Tom Morris.
Now, efforts are on to have the restored course reopened by the football hero Kenny Dalglish, who is the club's honorary president.
According to The Scotsman, it is estimated that Askernish will soon be attracting 5,000 visitors a year, and double that within four years, bringing in one million pounds to the South Uist economy by 2012.
Use of the course declined after the nearby farm was brought into crofting use in 1922. In 1936, part of the course was lost when Scottish and Northern Airways used it for a runway. A 12-hole course was later established but latterly it remained as a nine-hole until the restoration project began in 2005.
Gordon Irvine, a golf course consultant, heard of the "lost" course during a fishing trip and when he saw it announced he had found the "Holy Grail".
The redevelopment cost just 50,000 pounds, largely because Irvine's team, including golf architect Martin Ebert, worked on it as a labour of love.
Eberthas worked on 60 courses in 16 countries,
Storas Uibhist, the community company that bought South Uist Estates for 4.5 million pounds in December 2006, will plough money generated by the course back into the area.
The income they bring in will help fund other projects, including a five-turbine wind farm, plans for which will be submitted later this year, and which will generate 250,000 pounds annually.
It will also help the regeneration of Lochboisdale, four miles away, where housing and pier improvements are planned.
The only hazard ahead is a pending case at the Scottish Land Court raised by a group of crofters who argue the course removes valuable grazing land and who are angry that today's opening is happening.