Scotscraig’s greenkeeping team makes dramatic course changes

By Alistair April 17, 2017 20:46

One of Scotland’s most respected heritage golf clubs has unveiled a comprehensive renovation project that has reinstated many original features of the famous links and heathlands layout.

Scotscraig Golf Club, the 13th oldest golf club in the world, features a championship course in a traditional loop that has undergone an extensive development programme which has returned all of the green-side and fairway bunkers to their original size and removed and controlled extensive areas of gorse.

There have also been a number of significant on-course changes, most notably on the fourth, 12th and 16th holes.

The first round of improvements were completed last year and involved rebuilding 21 green-side bunkers and a comprehensive redesign, rebuild and expansion of the fourth green and its associated sand trap. The second stage has seen 26 fairway and approach bunkers rebuilt in a more natural form and four new bunkers introduced on the par five 16th. New bunkers were also added at the 11th and 12th holes and two new championship tees will be unveiled on the finishing holes later this year.

Scotscraig Golf Club

“We want to bring the course back to a proper heathland and links layout,” explained Brian Gofton, greens convenor at Scotscraig. “We want to bring the course back to the original design ethos followed by Tom Morris and James Braid when Scotscraig was originally conceived. That is what we are striving for.

“Any changes that have been made have been sympathetic to the course. We didn’t want to put in a raft of new bunkers or extend the course to a ridiculous yardage just for the sake of it. All the changes implemented have been done so as to enhance the golf course.”

The greenkeeing team at Scotscraig has been at the forefront of the project. “For members who have been here a long time, these are quite dramatic changes,” said Chris Barnard, Scotscraig’s course manager, who has planned, managed and implemented over 1,000 man hours of work required to realise the project.

He continued: “The fairway bunkers have all changed – we have taken away all the revetting by hand. The new bunkers are all contoured and rough-edged, and are now more visually appealing. We’re also going to plant heather and marram grasses around some of the bunker faces so they don’t look manmade. They have just evolved – that’s the look we’re going for.”

As part of the plan, two double fairways have also been created between the 4th and the 8th holes and the 9th and 10th. As a result, the total area of cut grass will not change dramatically but the character of the course will be enhanced.


By Alistair April 17, 2017 20:46

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