Final round for golf’s most famous landlady at iconic 19th hole in St Andrews

Landlady Antoinette Leask with Herb Kohler and his wife, Natalie, celebrating Antoinette's retirement, at The Jigger Inn in St Andrews. (Photograph by Stuart Reid of Reids Photography)
Landlady Antoinette Leask with Herb Kohler and his wife, Natalie, celebrating Antoinette's retirement, at The Jigger Inn in St Andrews. (Photograph by Stuart Reid of Reids Photography)

St Andrews’ Jigger Inn has welcomed many an Open champion over the decades, and witnessed some amazing celebrations.

Last week, it held an unrivalled party.

Antoinette has been the undisputed face, heart and soul of the Jigger for over 20 years.

David Scott, Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa

‘The Jigger’ recognised its longest standing member of staff with a very fond farewell to landlady, Antoinette Leask, as she called ‘last orders’ for the final time in the world of golf’s most famous 19th hole.

Antoinette arrived at the Jigger in the summer of 1992 and became landlady five years later.

For almost two decades, and for over half of the pub’s lifetime, the iconic 19th hole has been Antoinette’s “second home”.

She has served no fewer than four Opens and an impressive 13 Alfred Dunhill Championships.

Antoinette said: “I’ve absolutely loved working here. They have been some of the most enjoyable and rewarding years of my working life.

“I’m especially proud of the Jigger team I’ve helped to build.”

The Jigger is owned by the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa.

David Scott, resort director of operations, said: “Antoinette is a one off. Her unique character has made the Jigger the envy of 19th holes around the world ... and ensured golfers from all four corners have lifelong memories of their time in this historic pub.

“She has an incredible skill for remembering names and faces, and customers’ likes and dislikes, and she treats everyone the same, whether you are a prince or a pauper.”

“She has been the undisputed face, heart and soul of the Jigger for over 20 years. On top of that, she’s been a fantastic colleague and a friend to all at the resort.

“Her blarney is legendary and she will be a very tough act to follow.

“We’re very sad to see her go, but we wish her an incredibly happy and much deserved retirement.”

Herb Kohler, chief executive of Kohler Co., owners of the resort, flew in from the USA with his wife, Natalie, to be a part of the farewell party at the Jigger that saw senior members of the resort’s team as well as members of the R&A join the celebrations.

Antoinette recalled: “In a conversation some years ago with Mr Kohler, he described The Jigger as his train set – but I assured him I was the driver!

“It’s an honour that my colleagues would organise such a send off. I will never forget it.”

She added: “This is the first year I won’t be working at the Open Championship. I plan to enjoy the event on the course for the first time – and hope I bump into some friends out on the links.”