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2015 Overall Winner IAGTO Sustainability Awards

Dundonald Links

Dundonald Links honoured to win coveted Sustainability Award

GEO Certified™ Dundonald Links, Scotland, is delighted to announce it has been named overall winner in the 2015 International Association of Golf Tour Operators’ (IAGTO) Sustainability Awards due to exceptional management standards within golf’s sustainability issues – nature, water, energy, supply chain, pollution control and community.

The IAGTO report stated that Dundonald Links, near the legendary golfing town of Troon in Ayrshire, had demonstrated a deep, integrated commitment throughout all aspects of sustainability since opening in 2003 and is now recognised among the most progressive clubs in the world with its dedication to environmental and community initiatives.

IAGTO also highlighted the many activities embedded in the culture of Dundonald Links including Zero Waste, numerous and specific biodiversity projects, habitat improvements, ‘outdoor classrooms’ for local schools, campaigns and partnerships with a large variety of local and national organisations, and public nature trails with education boards.

The announcement was made at the 15th annual IAGTO Awards Ceremony held on 30th October at Villa Erba, Lake Como, Italy.

Earlier this year, Dundonald Links was awarded the title of UK Environmental Golf Course of the Year 2014, in addition to becoming GEO Certified™ – a symbol of great golf environments worldwide. In 2015 it will be proud host to The Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open presented by EventScotland and in 2016 will be host venue to the Ladies British Amateur Open.

Guy Redford, Director of Golf, Dundonald Links commented: Dundonald Links is honoured to receive this award and to be recognised for playing its part in protecting the natural world. Through our team’s passion and dedication to environmental sustainability, the Club has in return become more efficient and commercially viable. In addition, our partnerships with local and national organisations and, in particular, within the local community have been extremely rewarding, supporting education, building relationships and opening doors to new opportunities.

Source:  Dundonald Links

Murtoli Golf Links

Murtoli Golf Links

Alongside thousand proposed activities, such as beach walks, sea fishing, hunting or horse riding, golf lives similar to any other.
Totally natural, the famous designer Kyle Phillips was able to enroll in the natural contours of the land.
Unique with 12 holes, the course is open to everyone, young and old, beginners and accomplished golfer.

Source:  Vimeo

Golf in the Kingdom and Beyond

Kyle Phillips

ALTHOUGH HIS OFFICE IS LOCATED in Granite Bay, California (a suburb of Sacramento), course architect Kyle Phillips has worked extensively around the world. His designs can be found in Austria, Sweden, South Korea, Scotland, and Morocco, among other countries. Troon Golf & Travel spoke with him in England, where he was visiting his 18-hole creation at The Grove in Hertfordshire.

The Grove, your first English design, opened in 2003. What can you tell us about it?

People who come to The Grove for the day never feel that they have been slighted. The condition of the golf course is always superb, as is the service from the moment people arrive to the moment they leave. For me, it was gratifying to work with the owners and it was a seamless transition when we handed the course over to the operations side of things. In this case, we have had a real consistency of ownership and philosophy, which is always a real benefit to how the final product is received. I have great memories of designing and building this course and it is great fun to carry on working with a lot of the same faces who were here when we opened over 10 years ago.

You’ve said you replicated different types of landforms at The Grove to make it reminiscent of classic English courses. Explain.

This was a classic English parkland site. When you look across the landscape here with the longer horizon lines and you walk through the holes, you start to recognize some interesting landforms, some more dramatic than others. These begin to affect how you think about strategy on a particular hole. So, at a macro scale, the course looks rather sympathetic, but at a micro scale, it really takes on an interesting personality. And part of creating this was remaining responsive to the integrity of the historic landscape that was around it and, at the same time, achieving a great golf experience.

Do you think The Grove model, whereby a premier service and product is offered on the basis of pay and play, should be used more elsewhere?

This model is really unique. As nongolfers, the owners come at it from a different angle and this tends to be where a lot of the good ideas come from; people who are not so deeply connected into golf that they don’t just see the forest but the individual trees. They saw a gap in the marketplace and appreciated the business side. Not having members allowed them to accommodate hotel guests and the corporate market whenever they want to play. Of course, if you have members, they want to play on a Saturday morning and at all of the prime tee times. The Grove model eliminates this conflict by creating a club experience in terms of quality and conditioning, but available to everyone.

People have been talking about controlling equipment for a long time now. Do you think we’re any closer to this and, as an architect, do you think this would benefit the game?

I would love to see some controls because I really believe the game should be more about shot-making. But you can read books that are 100 years old and you’ll see discussions about the ball and how far it was going and how equipment was affecting the game. Even in my short time, I remember Jack Nicklaus hitting it 267 yards from the tee and everyone was aghast at how long he was hitting it. You look at that today and that kind of driving distance is laughable, but that’s simply due to the benefits of technology. As an architect, I have my own views, but my job is to respond to technology on the design side. I have seen an increase in what is considered to be a championship course from the back tees, but people playing from the forward tees expect the same length course as we had 30 years ago. This makes it more difficult to create a course that is playable and enjoyable for the full spectrum of abilities. But this is something that we, as architects, have got to rise to and get better at in order to respond to trends.

Can you, as a golf course architect, do anything to counter slow play?

I think there are things we could do. There is an issue with people trying to learn the game who go to championship- level courses without the required experience. I equate it to skiing. If you take someone who has never skied and send them down a black diamond run, it won’t take long to realize they are not going to be successful. They need the bunny slopes, as do we in golf. We need shorter courses.

Can golf architecture help to enhance player retention?

Every time there is a shift in the economy, people feel like they need to be at work more, so the drop in golfers is just a natural result of the economy, as much as anything else. As the economy stabilizes, people are coming back to playing golf. Nowadays there is also so much distraction from other sports, and there is also the whole world of technology that people can live in and not think about playing sport. Time is precious, so we have to ask, what can golf do to attract people to the game? We have looked inside the industry for those solutions; we’ve heard a lot discussed about shorter courses and par-3 courses within existing golf operations, for example. However, I tend to think that the solution may come from the outside with a different form of golf that becomes the gateway. We are seeing that with screen golf and video golf in some of the Asian countries and in the UK, and those are ways for people to spend a couple of hours with a golf club in their hands and perhaps get excited about golf, and we need that.

Source:  Troon Golf Magazine

Kingsbarns to host 2017 Women’s British Open

kingsbarns

Kingsbarns Golf Links is delighted to announce its selection to host the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2017. Located near St Andrews, the highly rated links course has been a part of the men’s European Tour annually for 13 years earning a reputation as one of the most admired venues on the circuit. This will, however, be the first time Kingsbarns will host a Major Championship.

“We are honoured to host the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2017,” said Alan Hogg, chief executive at Kingsbarns. “We have welcomed tour events to Kingsbarns for many years but this will be on a different scale. The prestige of the Women’s Open is growing every year. More importantly, seeing the very best lady golfers competing over the Kingsbarns links should be very exciting. We are extremely proud to have been selected to host such a quality event.”

Consistently ranked as one of the top golf courses in the world, Kingsbarns has co-hosted the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship for over a decade. During this time the course has won praise from touring pros and celebrities alike who admire the traditional Scottish links design with views of the North Sea from every hole.

“What I like is the risk and reward,” said Paul Casey, during the 2012 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. “It is a very enjoyable golf course to play because you can make birdies, you can make eagles but there is a lot of danger out there as well. You’ve got a mix of the fun stuff and the tough stuff wrapped in a package which is beautiful.”

As Hogg explained, however, the Ricoh Women’s British Open will provide an entirely new test for the world’s best players when the Open arrives in Fife in 2017. “Because of the round-robin format of the Dunhill, the course has to be set up identically over the three days, which includes weather-tolerant pin placements,” he said. “During the Ricoh Women’s British Open, the full range of hole locations can be utilised on Kingsbarns’ large and undulating greens.”

The Ricoh Women’s British Open will also offer television viewers a first look at a closing stretch that includes some of Kingsbarns’ most picturesque holes. The challenging par 5 12th along 550 yards of rugged East Neuk coastline, the stunning par 3 15th, requiring a tee shot across an expanse of the North Sea, or the challenge of the 17th have not been featured before on television. “The closing holes will provide the perfect setting for an exciting Sunday finish,” said Hogg. “We can’t wait!”

Kingsbarns is regarded as one of the world’s best courses holding the top spot in GolfWeek’s Top 100 modern courses in the UK and ranked 18th in Golf Digest’s Top 100 Best Courses Outside the US. Art Dunkley, director of Kingsbarns Golf Links said: “People have said many flattering things about our course and facilities since we opened in 2000 but being selected to host our first Major Championship is perhaps the greatest affirmation of all. Our objective has been to create one of the world’s best links golf experiences and deliver it to our guests with a personal touch. That is something our management and staff members feel very strongly about. The honour of hosting the Ricoh Women’s British Open, I believe, results directly from our meticulous focus on providing excellent golf course conditioning and individual customer service every day.”

The statement was endorsed by Shona Malcolm, the LGU’s CEO, who highlighted the significance of the selection. “We believe Kingsbarns will be a wonderful addition to the Women’s Open rota. Their excitement at hosting their first Major will make the 2017 edition very special and we look forward to a long relationship with them,” she commented. “Kingsbarns fits perfectly with our commitment of ensuring the world’s best women players showcase their talents on the world’s best golf courses.”

Paul Bush from Event Scotland added: “Bringing Major Championships to Scotland, the Home of Golf, outlines our ambition to host the biggest events in world golf and the addition of the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2017 at Kingsbarns further strengthens our envied portfolio of golf tournaments in 2014 and beyond. This is also a great compliment to Kingsbarns Golf Links and shows just how established the venue has become on the global golf map.”

After successfully hosting final qualifying for the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2013 when initial assessments were made by the Ladies Golf Union, Kingsbarns is now part of an established Open rota.

Source:  Kingsbarns

Spectacular South Cape Golf Course Debuts in South Korea

Southcape

Copyright 2013 Joann Dost
The 16th hole at South Cape Owners Club reflects the natural elements that create a memorable golf experience.

SOUTH GYEONGSANG PROVINCE, South Korea (November 13, 2013) – The spectacular new South Cape Owners Club, nestled along the rugged coastline of Namhae Island in southeast Korea, has made its much-anticipated debut.

Designed by internationally acclaimed golf architect Kyle Phillips, South Cape’s dramatic setting and ocean views on all 18 holes have positioned it to become the premier golf course in the country and one of the most significant new golf courses in the world.

The golf course is the centerpiece of a luxury golf resort community created by South Korea clothing magnate Jae Bong Chung, the owner and visionary behind the project. South Cape includes a sophisticated boutique hotel (40 suites) and spa, as well as 130 privately owned luxury sea-view villas.

In addition to resort play, South Cape will offer club membership privileges to villa owners. The par-72 course stretches to 6685 meters (7,313 yards) from the championship tees. There are also four additional sets of tees, offering fantastic views of the sea and neighboring islands.

“When you come to South Cape, you know you have arrived at a special place,” Chung said following the recent grand opening celebration. “It is a pure pleasure for the senses, with the sights, the smells and sounds of the sea all around you. There is not a golf experience anywhere that will surpass the quality of South Cape.”

The dramatic coastline topography at South Cape – “where the mountains meet the sea,” Phillips says – provides a considerably different landscape than more conventional seaside links courses.

“We incorporated a links feel into what is not a true links landscape,” said the California-based Phillips, who has designed award-winning golf courses world-wide, including Kingsbarns Golf Links in St. Andrews, Scotland and Yas Links in Abu Dhabi.

The bentgrass greens at South Cape offer subtle undulations and contours that create suitable hole locations for everyday play, yet provide ample positions that can easily meet the needs of championship competition. South Cape has a course rating of 75.2 and slope of 138 from the championship tees. The turf for the tees and fairways is bluegrass, while the rough consists of a blend of fine fescues.

Dramatic granite outcroppings accent the seaside routing, where inland and coastline holes create a serene rhythm, but can be unforgiving to those who flirt with the edges of the golf course. South Cape offers variation and features memorable holes throughout, particularly on what Phillips calls “the promenade to the sea” that starts with the downhill par-5 11th hole and continues through the par-3 16th.

“There is a good variety of strategy through the course,” said Phillips, whose stylish bunkering replicates the natural outline of the island coast. “You can play bump-and-run shots, or you can be aggressive. There are multiple lines of play, depending on how you want to attack the golf course.”

“It is simply an amazing coastline,” Phillips said. “Every hole has a view of the sea, which comes into play on 8 holes. It is one of the most striking coastlines in golf.”

The remarkable collection of par 3s at South Cape is visually inspiring and strategically challenging. Most notable is a breathtaking pair on the back nine – the 136-meter (148 yards) 14th hole, on a spectacular peninsula setting reminiscent of the famed 7th at Pebble Beach Golf Links; and the 204-meter (223 yards) 16th, which plays cliff-to-cliff across a cove, evoking the spirit of the legendary 16th at Cypress Point Club.

“As you walk the course, the ever-present beauty of South Cape is all around you,” Phillips said. “It is a golf experience that transcends shot-making.”

# # #

Media Contact

Karen Moraghan

Hunter Public Relations

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Continental Drift?

Asia has been golf’s most dramatic growth region in recent years. But has golf development stalled across the continent, or is the momentum still there? Adam Lawrence investigates.

South Cape #14 - Par 3 - 136 meters

Kyle Phillips’ new South Cape course in Korea is expected to attract worldwide attention.

The Korean golf explosion is perhaps the game’s greatest recent success story. From 24 courses and a total of 750,000 rounds in 1980, the country’s market has expanded to well over 400 courses and nearly 27 million rounds now. Korean golfers have achieved huge successes on both male and female professional tours, and research by golf consultant Ha Jong-du shows an average number of rounds per course in excess of 60,000 – which implies  demand for additional facilities. And, indeed, more courses are currently being built:  architect Kyle Phillips’s spectacular new South Cape course on an island off the country’s southern coast is expected by many to challenge the Nine Bridges course, which has long been regarded as the country’s best.

Source:  Golf Course Architecture – October 2013

Golfmagic Plays Dundonald Links

One of the most interesting aspects of my round was that I found the fairways here the most lust of any links I have played in recent memory.

Feeling a tad nervous on the first, I was more than happy to pipe a drive down the fairway and past the hungry bunker down the left side. With a tricky approach into a raised, undulating green, I took my four and ran!

I then moved onto the dogleg second, which asked for a 3-wood and a mid-iron approach to a green nestled amongst the dunes, shortly before tackling the relatively simple par-5 third and 175-yard par-3 fourth.

After a little rest bite at the par-5 fifth, I was required to be back on my guard at the second of the par 3s at the sixth. Playing 157 yards to a raised green slanting from back to front, with a wee burn running up the left hand side of the green, there probably isn’t a more exciting hole on the course. Terrific short hole.

The par-4 seventh and eight holes offer reasonable birdie chances and you’ll likely need to convert them before heading into the ninth and its index 2 rating. A blind tee shot is negotiated to a rolling fairway and a second shot to a false fronted and semi-blind green. Tricky.

After my second bacon roll of the morning at the turn, another dogleg lurks at the 10th requiring a driver and long iron to a narrow entrance but with a back stop on offer two well thought out shots should result in a par.

The par-3 11th is everything a classic course should have – a par-3 under 150yards! At 120 yards this fitted my bill with a wedge to a shallow green that had a run off long in the Donald Ross mould. Find the bunker at the bottom of the run off and you can forget about making par.

The 12th continues to the Firth of Clyde with the back drop of the Island of Arran and an ample time for my solitary ‘wee birdie’ of the round at the shortest of the par fours.

From there on in, 13th has a fantastic double-tier green with a good four-foot step in it that allows for a reasonable birdie chance – that is if you have avoided both the railway track from the tee and make the right level of the green on your approach.

The railway track also hugs the right hand side of a roller coaster of a fairway at the 16th, played into a narrow, two-tier green. A good drive still requires a hybrid into the dancefloor.

And to close, you have to negotiate a very tricky par-5 18th, particularly when it comes to the second shot lay-up, which must negotiate cross bunkers aplenty. The approach isn’t that much easier, either, with another one of those wee burns located to the front left.

Golfmagic Verdict

Whilst a driver friendly course in the mould of Phillips’ other UK creations, the defining feature of Dundonald Links is its greens.

Generous in size and in some cases three clubs deep that requires you to both club well and focus on staying on the right side of the pin. Definitely worth taking a caddie if you can.

There are a variety of par-3s at Dundonald that would befit any of its neighbouring trophy courses and the par 5s require plenty of thought on the lay up shots which I was helped admirably on the day by my surprising fresh laddie of a caddie.

Having ‘Hammy’ on the bag that seemed like a joke for every lost ball added to what was an overall enriching golfing experience on this hallowed stretch of Ayrshire links.

Philips has used his vivid imagination and the light, sandy soil to build a traditional 7,100-yard masterpiece that lingers in the memory long after a visit is over.

Love Links Golf? Visit Dundonald Links

Source:  Golf Magic

Sicily: Offers You Can’t Refuse

verdura

By:  Kingdom Magazine

Leading the way in southwest Sicily, near the port of Sciacca and the ruins of an ancient Greek temple at Agrigento, is Sir Rocco Forte’s luxurious Verdura Golf & Spa Resort. Opened in 2009, Verdura is home to a hotel with 203 bedrooms, a spa, three restaurants and two 18-hole courses—the East and West, both designed by American architect Kyle Phillips, creator of Kingsbarns Golf Links near St Andrews on the east coast of Scotland. Meandering from mountain foothills through olive, lemon and orange groves down to the Mediterranean, these layouts, a composite of which hosted the European Tour’s Sicilian Open last year, are a joy to behold, and play.

The West incorporates more coastal land, but a number of its early holes stretch consecutively along the eastern boundary and a few fairways are a little tight given the exposed nature of the site. The beachside holes are its star attraction—the first glimpse of the sea comes at the 8th and 9th before a four-hole encore from the 15th. It’s these final holes with their uninterrupted views that really steal the show. The 16th and 18th are beautiful two-shotters, the 18th routed right along the shoreline, while the 15th and 17th are short holes dominated by watery backdrops. There are other standouts as well, including the strategic par-5 4th and the strong par-4 5th, where the approach is played partly across a pronounced natural depression. The first coastal hole, the two-shot 8th, is also outstanding.

The more undulating East is equally memorable. Its finishing holes don’t have quite the same glamour, especially the front-nine par-5s that link the central area to the southern beach holes, but there are more directional changes here and plenty of design surprises as well. Highlights include the short par-4 3rd, early water holes at the 5th and 6th, each with stunning outlooks, the intimidating ridge-top par-3 12th and the semi-sunken 13th green. From there the course turns seaward. Both the 14th and 15th are long holes that plummet across glorious linksy ground while the 16th is a short hole played into a wickedly shallow target. The finishing duo are particularly strong—the penultimate hole rises gently into the foot of a Sicilian hillside and the breathtaking par-4 18th crashes from an elevated tee right along the craggy coastline.

Source:  Kingdom Magazine – Spring 2013 – Issue 25

Planet Golf: California Golf Club of San Francisco Review

Cal Club of SF

One of the state’s most prestigious golfing institutions, the California Golf Club of San Francisco was originally designed by A.V. Macan in 1925, and rebunkered a couple of years later by the great Dr Alister MacKenzie. MacKenzie’s original bunker shapes here were every bit as rugged and impressive as those at Pasatiempo and Cypress Point, but over time the hazards had lost their dramatic appearance and in the 1960s the layout was further compromised when the club lost part of its land for a road expansion. Technology also hurt the Cal Club, as the dimensions of their internal driving range became less adequate the longer the ball flew, and trees and containment mounding was thought necessary to protect golfers on the course.

The problems of deterioration were to be addressed in the early 2000s by a redesign program that caught the attention of prominent architects throughout the United States. Kyle Phillips was awarded the job, largely on the back of a radical plan to re-route the front nine, build three new holes and shift the driving range away from the clubhouse. The MacKenzie look and influence had been eroded over time and Phillips, while also creating new holes, was determined to make the Cal Club again look and feel like a MacKenzie course. His plan allowed the holes the space and sense of grandeur they deserve, and by giving breathing space to golf corridors and removing unnecessary trees the emphasis is again back on just how suitable this site is for great golf.

Unlike the nearby Olympic Club, which is essentially built on the side of a hill, Cal Club occupies erratically tumbling ground, the heavy slopes full of great natural movement and ideal for interesting golf. The rugged, naturalistic bunker shapes and restored green complexes work perfectly on this site, and give the impression that MacKenzie’s work here was never touched. That’s the biggest compliment anyone can pay Kyle Phillips regarding his work at Cal Club, that it all looks preserved from the MacKenzie plan of the 1920s.

The California Club of San Francisco is a great place for golf, and after years of darkness the club once again owns a genuine American classic. The golf holes are inviting, varied and original, the green surfaces beautifully pitched to accept well struck balls and the bunkers are strategically arranged and attractively constructed. Appointing Phillips to oversee this important program was a bold one, but the designer did a wonderful job here and the course is now once again heads and shoulders above better known San Francisco layouts like Harding Park and Olympic Lake.

By:  Darius Oliver

The Troon Golf Collection – The Grove

The Grove

When it comes to luxury golf hideaways in and around London, The Grove, which is managed by Troon Golf, certainly takes some beating. A Grade II listed mansion set on 300 acres of picturesque Hertfordshire countryside, The Grove boasts just about every facility, amenity and service you could expect of a 5* resort and its proximity to London makes it the ideal base for an extended British Golf Holiday as well as for a stay and play golf break.

With all on offer at this amazing venue, it comes as no surprise that The Grove has seen a long list of celebrity guests including the likes of Tiger Woods and even Queen Victoria enjoyed weekend breaks here. One thing’s for sure; if it’s good enough for a golfing royalty and actual royalty as well then it then it’s certainly good enough for us Weekend Warriors!

Here we take you on a fly by journey through some of the things on offer at London’s finest golfing retreat.

Location, location, location…

Situated in the beautiful county of Hertfordshire, just outside London, The Grove is one of the most luxurious and all encompassing golf resorts in England. As well as being great for a weekend getaway, The Grove is quite simply the perfect base for golfers from overseas who are looking to explore the golfing riches in and around The Big Smoke.

– Golf –

The Grove’s championship course, which was designed by Kyle Phillips, one of the foremost golf course architects of recent years, is the resort’s crown jewel. The course is kept in immaculate condition all year round and as there are no members; guests are assured to receive an incredibly warm welcome from staff who are very focused on customer service.

Kyle Philips’ edgy design makes a round of golf at The Grove a thrilling experience. As you can see from the picture above, your short game will have to be on song if you miss the greens with your approaches!

SOURCE:  Your Golf Travel

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