A proposal to ban access to an historic right of way across Prestwick Golf Club during events marking the 150th Open tournament has been approved.

Prestwick Golf Club hosted the first Open on October 17, 1860. The 150th Open was held this summer at St Andrew’s Golf Club.

The club sought the temporary order as it is recreating the 12-hole course that hosted that original tournament.

The historic right of way cuts across nine of those holes, sparking concerns for public safety during play.

An alternative route around the northern perimeter of the rejigged course was identified for use between October 10 and 23 and was considered by South Ayrshire Council regulatory panel this week.

Only two representations were made during a short consultation on the access exemption.

One objector, Alex Young had commented that the route had been ‘established and protected for over 700 years by the Freeman of Prestwick’.

He added:”Its original purpose was a right of way to collect wrack (seaweed)

from the beach. In the past golf courses have had to respect that route and have stewards at both ends.”

The other objector, Dr Gary White, argued that the event was ‘essentially a series of low-key golf events, mainly for club members and paying public.

He continued: “I could understand if the Open was being held there, but it is not.”

Labour Councillor Ian Cavana expressed surprise that there had been no comment from Prestwick Community Council.

SNP Troon Councillor Craig Mackay said that the matter had been brought up at the local access forum.

He said: “The reality of it is the route crosses, amazingly, nine fairways on that temp layout and there’s no doubt there would be safety concerns if people allowed to walk across that while golf is being played.

“Even the local access forum accepted it wouldn’t safe to leave that route  open.”

Cllr Cavana asked whether the alternative route was safe for the public to use.

Planning officer James Hall responded that an access officer had walked the route and deemed it safe.

Panel Chair Kenneth Bell, a Prestwick Conservative councillor, claimed that he had walked the alternative route the night before the meeting and found it to be flooded.

Mr Hall replied: “The outdoor access officer walked the route last week and said it was a safe and appropriate route.”

Conservative Cllr Mary Kilpatrick backed the plan:  “I feel that there’s just too much being made of this public right of way.

“It’s only 13 days for goodness sake. It isn’t forever. Surely they can put up with it for a couple of weeks. ”

Cllr Cavana tabled a motion to approve the order while Cllr Bell tabled an amendment to refuse the application on the basis that the alternative route was not safe and that the length of the order was too long.

Cllr Clark said: “This is a momentous occasion for golf throughout the UK. 150th anniversary of the first British Open.

I think many people of Prestwick will want to celebrate it, rather than impose restrictions on the actual celebrations.

“In my view, we are making a mountain out of a molehill.”

Cllr Bell responded: “If you look at the schedule of events, it’s not for the wider public of Prestwick to celebrate.

“Seems to be a short period for members and guests of the golf club. It is not an open public event.

"The application was passed by five votes to two."