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Nicklaus to design new Loch Lomond course

Loch Lomond golf club have agreed a deal with Jack Nicklaus to design a second course, and are optimistic that the American great will make an appearance in a future Scottish Open.

Lyle Anderson, owner of Loch Lomond, said yesterday: "Jack has just signed a contract to design our second course, and we will start construction work next year. Before then, some of the preparatory clearing work will take place this winter.

"Itís going to be different in style, more of an inland links course. The feel will be more Scottish. Jack is very excited about the project. Heís seen the land several times, and knows exactly what he wants to do.

"Apart from the second course, our future plans also include more overnight accommodation for the members, building a new pro shop near the practice range, and generally to keep raising our standards.

"Our hope is that the second course will allow us to expand the membership, including more Scottish members, but it will be an add-on to the existing course. We will continue to be a private club," said Anderson.

One of the main criticisms of Loch Lomond as a potential Ryder Cup venue is that the club operate a strict members and guests policy.

"Itís not one of the criteria of selection that you must be open to the public, and many Ryder Cups have been held at private clubs in the past," Anderson observed. "What we have done is give access to our course through the Scottish Golf Union, which raised a lot of money for junior golf. It was a business decision on our part to make it a private course. But we give access in other ways, through the tournaments held here and TV coverage of those events. Thereís lots of different ways to enjoy a golf course.

"As far as the bid is concerned, obviously Iím prejudiced to Loch Lomond. But I genuinely feel our course would be the best way to showcase Scotland because of all the beautiful TV pictures which would be transmitted worldwide. Thereís a romance about this place which is very special. I think it would give Scottish tourism a huge boost.

"Our main thrust as a private international club is to promote golf and communication. We have members from 44 countries. Our reputation around the world is high, and many see us as the No1 truly international club.

"What really gives me a kick during the tournament is to watch the quality of the players whose names appear on the leaderboard. I donít think that happens by chance. On this course, the best players rise to the top. Aside from its beauty, I think thatís another reason why it would make a wonderful Ryder Cup venue.

"Itís also true Iíve had discussions with both Jack Nicklaus and Hale Irwin, and theyíve both said they would love to play. Their problem is that one of the senior majors on the US Seniors Tour, the Senior TPC, takes place the same week. If that hadnít been the case, weíd have already seen them year after year."

The main investment at Loch Lomond this year was in 18 new greens which can cope with 400mm of rain per hour - compared to 2mm on the old putting surfaces.


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