|The Carrick in Loch Lomond is set to open in the spring of 2007 and add to Scotland's upscale golf options. (GolfPublisher.com)|
LOCH LOMOND, Scotland - There's a historic golf course in every nook of Scotland, many with a storied history of 100 years or more.
But that doesn't mean the country's golf isn't evolving, however. Newcomers continue to join the saturated golf scene in the country. While course growth in the U.S. has slowed, Scotland's upscale course market is still blossoming.
Along with the numerous famous clubs such as St. Andrews, Royal Dornoch, Carnoustie and Turnberry, some high-end courses have thrived in recent years: Gleneagles' PGA Centenary Course designed by Jack Nicklaus (host of the 2014 Ryder Cup Matches), the acclaimed Loch Lomond Golf Club, Kingsbarns seven miles from St. Andrews opened in 2000, and Spey Valley in Aviemore — an upscale Highland gem opened this summer by Macdonald Hotels.
Three more are on the way and for each, the bar — and price tag — is high.
The Carrick, Loch Lomond (open: spring, 2007) — DeVere Resort's Cameron House Hotel on the shores of Loch Lomond will go from five-star getaway to world-class golf resort with the opening of The Carrick — the first to open among the three projects, slated for next spring.
Nine holes are completed and are stunning. The rest are just maturing a little more before welcoming the masses. The Carrick has a completely different character compared to the links and parkland courses in Scotland and will rival Loch Lomond Golf Club, host of the Barclays Scottish Open in July down the road.
The enormous Ben Lomond Mountain serves as a dramatic backdrop while Loch Lomond lies at the foot of the course. Architect Doug Carrick, whose projects include Greywolf and Eagle's Nest in Canada, has built another visually jaw-dropping course here.
Located across the Loch from the beautiful and secluded Cameron House Hotel, golfers will have the option of traveling to the course by boat, which will scoot across the loch and drop them off near the clubhouse, which will feature an entire spa complex, restaurants and large pro shop. A total of 100 condominiums will also be built beside the course.
The Cameron House Hotel currently has a nine-hole Wee Demon course that's a tight par 32, played in heavy woods. Colin Montgomerie has a not-so-wee timeshare overlooking one of the holes.
Trump International, Aberdeen (open: 2009) — Donald Trump's "people" scoured Europe in search of the perfect location for what he says will be his only golf development abroad. After a lengthy search, he's found an incredible piece of land just north of Aberdeen on the same rugged shores of the North Sea as Cruden Bay, Murcar Golf Links and Royal Aberdeen. The old Menie Estate property is 1,000 acres and over half is prime links and dunes.
"It's our ambition to build the best course in Europe and maybe in the world," Trump said in an earlier interview. "And I think we have the land to do it ... I'm willing to spend the money to make it the finest course of its kind anywhere in the world."
The development is currently awaiting approval, which is expected to be given by the summer of 2007. Ground will be broken shortly after and projected opening is in 2009.
No. 7, St. Andrews (open: 2008) — Just two miles outside of town is the highly anticipated No. 7 course, owned by the St. Andrews Links Trust, who hope the modern design on classic links land rivals Kingsbarns just up the road.
Designer David McLay Kidd (creator of Bandon Dunes in Oregon) broke ground in 2005 but the course still has a ways to go. No. 7 will play up to 7,200 yards at championship length.
Starting Nov. 1, the Links Trust began an open competition to name the course.
"It is not very often that a new course opens at the Home of Golf and we have been acutely aware of the interest that Course No. 7 has been attracting," said Alan McGregor, general manager of the Links Trust. "We know that many golfers feel an emotional attachment to the birthplace of the game and we really wanted them to have the opportunity to become a part of the process of naming this new course."
You can submit your suggestion to the Links Trust Web site.
December 4, 2006
Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Channel Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker.
Dublin is Ireland's largest and most tourist-friendly city, with marquee attractions from the Book of Kells to the Guinness brewery, But Ireland's best known golf courses are almost all on the west coast, in the northwest or in Northern Ireland. Because of this, many golfers on wish-list trips never set foot in the capital. That's a shame, because a trip to Dublin can combine the charms of all things urban and Irish with exceptional -- and inexpensive -- links and parkland golf.
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