Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society, Edinburgh, Scotland
The Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society is the fourth oldest club in the world and it has been at its current home on the west side of Edinburgh since 1898. Originally designed by Willie Park Jr and then extensively redesigned by Dr Alister MacKenzie in 1921, in past decades the course had not really kept pace with the modern game. The first phase of an ambitious three phase plan was completed in 2017, with two completely new holes, three new greens and bunkers re-sited and re-constructed on another 8 holes. Plans for Phase 2 have already been drawn up and work re-commences next summer with a further 8 holes being revised.
Royal Automobile Club - Old Course, Surrey, England
The remaining bunkers on the last six holes were completed in early 2017 and all holes came back into play in the late spring, completing an express bunker reconstruction programme that only started in January 2016. The result is not far from having a new course, only for a fraction of the cost and the disturbance.
This year’s work also included the wholesale reconstruction of the par three 13th hole. The old hole had been heavily altered since Herbert Fowler, the original architect, laid it out. Set at almost the highest point of the entire Woodcote Park property, it was frustratingly blind, so the work focussed on making the green visible from the tee and rebuilding the green which had been poorly rebuilt at some point previously. It has transformed the hole.
Trevose Golf and Country Club, Cornwall, England
Trevose’s iconic 4th hole received a major overhaul in the winter of 2016 to 2017 and the hole re-opened in the spring. Standing on the green, the glorious views behind are now in sight. 7 holes have now been extensively re-worked with the 14th, 15th and 16th being tackled this winter. This year’s work includes bunkers, extensive green surrounds work and the opening up of bare sand areas to rejuvenate habitat and add interest to these holes.
Royal Wimbledon, Surrey, England
Having recently celebrated its 150th anniversary, Royal Wimbledon has embarked on a carefully planned programme to restore its heathland, revamp its bunkers in keeping with its heritage, restoring green sizes, easing off severe greens, adding forward tees and improving its path network. Phase One started in the spring with the completion of a new Short Game Area close to the clubhouse and Phase Two followed this autumn with work to the 7th to 10th holes being completed by Christmas. Heathland regeneration is a key part of the programme and acid turf is being stripped from heather areas to use on bunker surrounds while allowing heather coverage to be extended.
Royal Dornoch, Sutherland, Scotland
The revised 12th hole opened for play this season and work has also started on the new 7th hole which is going to make full advantage of the majestic views that only the tee currently enjoys at present. The existing green design is to be replicated for the revised hole which is an interesting challenge when the landform is slightly different. This is a big step for the Club to take, but not only will it keep all that is good about the present hole and make the most of the setting but it also frees room to restore the lost strategy on the 8th hole with its two level fairway.
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