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March date for re-opening of Royal Dornoch classic hole

January 29, 2014

One of the classic holes on Royal Dornoch Golf Club's internationally-renowned Championship Course will be fully re-opened in March after being re-aligned.

The re-design of the 413-yard 3rd hole was approved at the club's annual meeting in August 2013. Work started in October and was completed by mid-December.

The club was formed in 1877, but in recent years houses have been built overlooking the hole. To ensure safety for home owners as building has increased, the club took action to re-align the hole, while striving to preserve the course's integrity and reputation among golfers from around the world.

The design work by Mackenzie & Ebert Ltd and construction by the Royal Dornoch green keeping team means the 3rd fairway has been moved to the right by about 25 yards towards the sea, away from the course boundary. This will encourage golfers to play the hole to the right more.. 

Neil Hampton, Royal Dornoch Golf Club's general manager, said: "Golf course design does not stand still and we have to evolve alongside the development of Dornoch as a whole.

"Safety concerns and a desire to exist harmoniously with our neighbours are of paramount importance to us. But we also had to consider the impact any re-design would have on the character and status of the course, to maintain our standing among players from around the world and our ever-improving world ranking.

"I believe we have achieved the right balance which suits both local residents and our playing clients."

Fairway bunkers have also been moved under the changes and will now be visible from the tee and will test the better players. The design has been completed by old fairway turf being transplanted to blend into the new lay-out and whin bushes moved into the left valley.

Earlier this month the Championship Course was voted 6th best golf course in the world by Golf Digest. It was placed ahead of St Andrews (7), regarded as the Home of Golf, and Muirfield (8), which hosted The Open last year.

Royal County Down in Northern Ireland (placed 4th) was the only course in Europe ranked higher.

Royal Dornoch Golf Club has 1,800 members, 700 of whom are from outside Scotland and scattered across the globe.

In 2016 the club will mark 400 years of golf being played on the town's links. In 1616 written accounts kept by Sir Robert Gordon, the tutor or guardian of John, 13th Earl of Sutherland, showed that the then schoolboy earl spent £10 on bows and arrows, golf clubs and balls.

The club is also part of Highland Golf Links, a partnership organisation set up with Castle Stuart Golf Links and The Nairn Golf Club, as well as the Kingsmills Hotel and Culloden House Hotel, Inverness; the Royal Golf Hotel at Royal Dornoch and the Golf View Hotel and Spa in Nairn, to promote destination breaks.

Castle Stuart Golf Links was ranked 87 on the recent Golf Digest list.

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