News:

This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
DUNDONALD LINKS
« on: June 29, 2015, 03:57:42 AM »
Sandwiched between the tried and tested links of Glasgow Gailes, Western Gailes and Kilmarnock Barassie, Dundonald is a new comer to Ayeshire, but the railway is a common thread for all these links.  There was a course located in the area that was eventually left to go fallow after WWII preparations for the D-Day landing took place on site.  I believe there was a halting restart by the name of Southern Gailes, but Loch Lomond eventually purchased the course.  The present design was fashioned by Kyle Phillips and opened in 2005ish.

Similar to The Grove, Dundonald features fairly generous fairways and green areas which heighten the difficulty.  Philips briefly described the project as follows: “The ground was all ancient beach sand. There were a few small dunes, some rushes and gorse areas running through it. I tried to utilize the strongest and most interesting of the natural features and then create grander, more dramatic landforms and features over the remainder of the site." In part this translates to a separation between many holes was achieved by building dunes.  I must say the work is well done and one wouldn’t notice the hand of man except for the fact that no matter which direction holes run the dunes follow.  I would personally rather there was a more open aspect to the earth moving if only because the exterior views are non-existent. It’s true there are some spots which need hiding, most obviously the huge paper mill left of #5, but there was scope for creating interior views other than between dunes.  On the note of dunes moving in every direction, the routing in terms of wind is excellent.  Holes move every which way, yet with the slight hiccup of the opening hole starting nowhere near the house, the two loops roll comfortably back to the house. This issue may be eliminated in the future if a permanent house is ever constructed. 

The opening four holes are on an arm of the property a bit removed from the main site. While solid holes (with the possible exception of the par 5 third), there is nothing particularly memorable until we reach the 6th except to note that other than cradling dunes, doglegs (1-3 turn right), burns and movement in greens are also main features.

#1


#2


#3


The 4th is a rather bland short hole which takes us back to the main section of the property for a banger par 5 legging hard left.  The course seems to abruptly change for one hole, but what a cracker.  Uphill and playing 175ish yards, the 6th is a tight hole with gorse just right of the green and water left.  There is preciously little room between the bunker and the back of the green which makes the smart play to the right half of the green. 


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: February 09, 2020, 04:57:32 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS 1-6
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2015, 04:18:31 AM »
I played Dundonald about eight or nine years ago. I remember having a fun day, but I can recollect very few details about the course, except a par three shortly after the turn with a rather odd pot bunker behind the green (Kyle later told me he hadn't built that). The most memorable aspect was the caddy the club's PR person set me up with, who was the gruffest, most stereotypical Scots caddy I've ever had....
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS 1-6
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2015, 05:00:59 AM »
The original course from 1912 (?) was designed by Tulloch (greenkeeper at Glasgow Gailes and the man who reputedly taught James Braid how to play golf) and Willie Fernie, although when I say "original" legend has it that golf had been played on this site some time before.


Anyway, the "original" course was known as one of the longest of the day although it was fairly flat. Perhaps this description explains why it struggled for members and eventually fell into disuse after WW11. At some point the land fell into the hands of the local council and the existing course came into fuition as a result of the council selling it off specifically for development as a golf course.


The original developer was a local businessman who unfortunately died shortly after the course was completed. At that point the steel frame was up on the clubhouse (located to the west of current temporary clubhouse). The development was inherited by the sons who had no interest in golf and they sold to Lyle Anderson in fairly short order and the course became the second course for Loch Lomond (similar idea to Glasgow GC) with Anderson taking down the structure to the proposed clubhouse and erecting the temp clubhouse. Lyle Anderson eventually went bust and the members or at least a section of them managed to buy both Loch Lomond and Dundonald although reputedly Pollok were considering buying the course to also do a Glasgow GC style course in the city and another on the coast type of idea.


I managed to get a tour of the "course" during construction at the point when the were shaping and it was one big sandbox. I still have somewhere a skip cap with "Southern Gailes" on the front and "The Last Links" stitched on the back which was a pointed reference to Michael Bonnallocks comment that Kingsbarns would be the last links built in this country. Fair to say that wasn't one of his best predictions !


Niall

Mark Pavy

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS 1-6
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2015, 11:09:10 AM »
Sean, what did you think of the purple flags?

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS 1-6
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2015, 03:35:36 AM »
Thanks Niall.  Mark, now that you mention it the flags were an odd colour, but it didn't completely register until you brought it to my attention.

DUNDONALD TOUR CONT

Another sharp legger follows, but at least the 7th bends left.  Finally, a straightaway hole with the 8th.  It is here we see the first noticeably raised green and the approach, while short, is more difficult for it. The photo doesn't reveal the sloping left to right green.




Legging slighty right, the 9th takes us back to the house over blind (for many) water to a raised green.  The two fairway bunkers are a bit of a red herring in decent weather.  They can easily be carried without having to risk the right rough.




The 10th runs left and is a decent hole, much like nearly all of Dundonald.  The stakes are raised on 11 and from here on in I think the course improves by a full measure.  The green sits well above the fronting burn which must see some business. 


Another plateau green is on show for the split level fairway 12th (hitting the blind lower section is really an accident).  By now I noticed there is a distinct lack of yardage variety in the par 4s.  This is the 6th two-shotter whose yardage measures between 330 and 375 and there are two more to come under 380 yards.

At last, a dead straight hole and despite the rail tracks the 13th is a very handsome one at that. 


The green is angled to accept shots best from the railroad side of the fairway.  The more right one is the more difficult the 2nd. 




The three shot holes are better on the back 9.  The 14th turns continuously right to the green.  Because of the dogleg it is tough to reach the green in two.  Plus, there is a cool depression created shy and left of the green which suck in the slightly off-line shot. 




More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 06, 2018, 11:03:58 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Jeff Johnston

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS 1-14
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2015, 04:29:06 AM »
Sean, I played Dundonald twice over the weekend just past in a society comp so your thread timing is great  :)
 
I liked the 13th as well, and actually thought the railway enhanced the visual mix from the tee (and also got in the head just a wee bit). Maybe that's just me though, as I am generally a fan of trains rattling by as one plays.
 
Did you spot the genuinely evil pot bunker over the back right of the 11th green? I thought it was a Kyle Phillips trade mark (v similar to one down behind the green on a short par 4 on the front at Kingsbarns IIRC) but then read on here somewhere that he has said it was added after he finished the project. Either way, it is a pig. I thought the bunkers generally were pretty borderline (at least for handicap players) - interested to see what you made of the bunkers on 15 - just looking into them gave me the head staggers.

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS 1-14
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2015, 06:41:29 AM »
Jeff


I've played the course a number of times but not for a few years but my abiding memory is how deep some of the bunkers were, particularly on the par 3's.


Sean


The course has grown in some since I was last there or at least they are maintaining it more like a traditional links. I have to say it's looking better than I remember it. I also notice they have been making some tweaks over the years. The fronting water hazard on the 13th looks like a diagonal "drainage ditch" and I suppose the fact that it's diagonal has put a bit of strategy into the hole. I remember the water being more of a traditional burn that ran straight across the front of the green. One of several holes which had water straight in front of the green. I know its been done at TOC and Carnoustie to name two courses but it's not really a feature I like on a links for anything other than perhaps a par 3.


Niall

Jeff Johnston

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS 1-14
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2015, 12:01:34 PM »
your recollection is spot-on Niall. Some of the fairway bunkers are very deep as well, particularly the centreline ones (9 and 16 come to mind).
 
correct re the style of the water hazard front of  13 - it is now v much in the narrow drainage ditch style, and on the diagonal left to right. I am in two minds about it. On balance I thought the hole was strong enough without it, but against that the front apron is otherwise fairly open so I can see why they maybe wanted to defend it a little.
 

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS 1-14
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2015, 04:05:32 AM »
Jeff

Yes, I saw the pot beyond 11 green.  Generally, I didn't think the bunkers were terribly severe...just run of the mill deep pots  ;)

The ditch in front of 13 does look odd and it is very easy to hop it. Perhaps it really is a useful ditch, but the water seemed to be flowing quite hard considering the small amount. 

DUNDONALD LINKS CONT

The 15th is a hole I don't quite get.  The green is incredibly small for such a demanding uphill shot.  There is space to kick one in from the right, but miss it out there and its a good chance of a lost ball. Perhaps an easy "solution" is to keep the right rough down to accommodate a miss. 






Now then, #16, what a hole which makes the long walk from 15 worth it.  Beside the centreline fairway bunker a humpback runs down the centre of the fairway feeding balls either right or left.  Right is the better angle in, but a bunker awaits at around 260 yards out (in the shadow).  The green is a straight-forward two tier affair with OOB hard right and a bunker eating midway into the left edge of the green.




The only issue really is the shadows masking the trouble down the right.  Perhaps some strategic tree removal is in order.


Philips is back to his old tricks on the sharply doglegging 17th.  I quite like the deception of this hole and the idea of hitting toward the far end of the dogleg for the better angle of approach.


The three-shot 18th brings us home in style.  The last 50 yards or so the hole crooks right over water to a long green.  Not terribly long, but because of the trouble around the green and the angle of the dogleg the green is troublesome to reach in two. 


I admit to not being terribly impressed with Dundonald until the 13th.  Much like The Grove, the holes are good and proper, but other than #6 there is little to distinguish the design.  While not groundbreaking, the 13th signals a welcome change of pace.  The architect over-played his hand by heavily featuring many burns, multiple severe doglegs and an over-abundance of faux dunes.  However, the greens do have interest, there are stand-out holes in 6 & 16 and the routing utilizes the wind well.  The course serves very well as a weekend venue for touring parties and one shouldn't be dispappointed if invited for a game or playing during the attractively priced twilight periods.    2015

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 06, 2018, 06:58:49 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2015, 05:20:33 AM »
Thanks for this photo tour Sean. The photo of the last 50 yds or so of the 18th looks ever so similar to the 14th at County Sligo.
atb

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2015, 03:49:49 AM »
Thanks for this photo tour Sean. The photo of the last 50 yds or so of the 18th looks ever so similar to the 14th at County Sligo.
atb

atb

I very much like Sligo's 14th and yes, there are similarities.

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 06, 2018, 11:05:53 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

David Davis

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2015, 05:54:39 AM »
Sean,


Nice tour again. I played Dundonald shortly after seeing you and the boys at Formby this year. It's a fun course for sure and very links like even though it was farmland originally. A bit of containment mounding. On the par 5 14th what did you make of that bunker about 60 yds out on the right? Do you remember it? It's totally out of sink with anything else on the course. I wondered if this was some kind of afterthought and I"m not sure if it really adds to this hole. The depression on the right was pretty unique but don't forget the fall away on the back left. We faced a pin position that was front left but right on top of the ridge which was rather harsh. Do you recall that. Still a decent hole.


The long par 3 15th was playing straight into the wind and being as long as it was I had bogey in my head the minute I stepped on the tee. Tough and exacting hole.


Agree that the back 9 is better, that's a strong stretch of holes. I enjoyed the par 3's, at least the 3 I can remember as they were totally unique and of varying lengths and directions.



Next up: open to ideas!

IG: @top100golftraveler
www.top100golfcourses.com

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2015, 06:30:18 AM »
David


The Dundonald site might have been used for grazing livestock (which links course didn't have grazing at some point ?) but it was never cultivated as far as I am aware. Certainly I wouldn't classify it as farmland as it is pure sand underneath.


Niall

David Davis

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2015, 10:33:11 AM »
David


The Dundonald site might have been used for grazing livestock (which links course didn't have grazing at some point ?) but it was never cultivated as far as I am aware. Certainly I wouldn't classify it as farmland as it is pure sand underneath.


Niall




Niall, during lunch the GM came out and joined us and told that the entire place was sand capped that it was simply dirt farmland and not sand based turf. This is also part of the reason they have had drainage issues that you wouldn't have on a sand based course. There were literally no dunes on that site so everything is man-made...or so the story goes. I know Western Gailes across the tracks is set on true links land however.


I also thought it would of been sand, in fact, had assumed it was until I as corrected.


David
Next up: open to ideas!

IG: @top100golftraveler
www.top100golfcourses.com

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2015, 08:40:36 AM »
David


I admit I have a track record of advising you wrongly but in this instance I seriously think you have been misled by the GM who I assume wasn't around when it was built. I wonder if he was referring to Loch Lomond ?


I recall being driven over the site when they were doing the shaping and it was all sand, not just sand capped. In fact I recall having a conversation in the pub with the developer a couple of years after that visit discussing the difficulty of growing grass in sand ! I think his knowledge of agronomy was even worse than mine and suspect he might have been a bit of a challenge for Kyle Philips. Anyway before they started work it was fairly flat links scrub land and I think they basically scraped off whatever organic matter was on top and piled it to one side which is how the "dunes" were formed.


Niall

David Davis

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2015, 09:03:53 AM »
David


I admit I have a track record of advising you wrongly but in this instance I seriously think you have been misled by the GM who I assume wasn't around when it was built. I wonder if he was referring to Loch Lomond ?


I recall being driven over the site when they were doing the shaping and it was all sand, not just sand capped. In fact I recall having a conversation in the pub with the developer a couple of years after that visit discussing the difficulty of growing grass in sand ! I think his knowledge of agronomy was even worse than mine and suspect he might have been a bit of a challenge for Kyle Philips. Anyway before they started work it was fairly flat links scrub land and I think they basically scraped off whatever organic matter was on top and piled it to one side which is how the "dunes" were formed.


Niall


Niall,


Thanks, it sounds like your experience is far more solid than my second hand information in this case. We can always double check it with Adam Lawrence whom I'm sure most likely spoke to Kyle himself about it if not a few of the others involved.


Again to me it plays like a links for sure and is very enjoyable. The drainage issues lead me in a another direction but could be due to pockets of clay based soil.


I'll ask Adam and report back.


David
Next up: open to ideas!

IG: @top100golftraveler
www.top100golfcourses.com

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2015, 12:21:59 PM »
David

I'd be interested to hear Adams take, or indeed Kyle Philips take even second hand.

I don't know if you've played either Glasgow Gailes or Barassie but they more or less bookend Dundonald and sit back a similar distance from the shore line. Both are most definitely links, similar in fact to Formby. I don't think there is any question that Dundonald isn't on links land even if it was "reconstituted" as it were. I think where the difference might lie is in the GM's definition of farm land. It is possible, maybe even likely that the land was grazed at some point but I'm pretty sure it was fairly useless as arable land but then as I said I know hee-haw about agronomy.

With regards to the wet areas I think they are more likely to have been used to extract sand/quarry and what was left was close to the waterline. Just a guess on my part.

Niall

Brian_Ewen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2020, 02:43:34 AM »
https://www.bunkered.co.uk/golf-news/25m-cash-injection-for-popular-scottish-course


£25m cash injection for popular Scottish course
By Michael McEwan — 23 October, 2020


Dundonald Links has unveiled plans for an ambitious £25m investment to transform it into a luxury golf resort from next summer.

Those plans include the planned opening of a new clubhouse and overnight accommodation facilities for individual and group guests.

From July 2021, 18 luxury lodges – which feature two, four or six bedrooms – will be available to the public. Each has been custom-designed with golfers in mind, with bag storage and drying areas, en-suite bathrooms, large living spaces and fully-equipped kitchen and dining facilities.

The brains behind the Dundonald Links course, Kyle Phillips, will add to the lodges by creating a series of private putting greens on their doorstep.

Phillips is also overseeing £1m of investment in the course itself, with a focus on improving the playing environment and experience, as well as the addition of a new halfway house.

The plans have been revealed just over 18 months after the Ayrshire facility was bought from Loch Lomond Golf Club by leisure operator Darwin Escapes in a deal reported to be worth £4.5m.

David_Tepper

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2020, 11:01:01 AM »
That is pretty ambitious considering the current pandemic and the contraction in global travel. If the new owners are lucky, the pandemic will be behind us and golf tourism will be on the rebound by the time their project is completed.

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2020, 11:30:14 AM »
Certainly does seem a little ambitious...


... Going back to Sean’s original review, what lets the course down is the built dunes, un-natural because they are all flanking the fairways in a containment style, regardless of orientation and the expected transitions of the site. Also very similar in size and scale.


Other than that, there are some excellent holes and I like the way the course moves around in flow.

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2020, 04:22:35 PM »
Ally


Re the "dunes", fairly certain they are basically the top-soil that was scraped off the original site and put to one side. Personally I agree with you that they aren't great but they certainly have weathered fairly well and look better than they did. They also do basically the same job as the "dunes" at Dumbarnie in that provide separation between holes and according to Mr Bonnar that's a plus point at Dumbarnie.   


Niall

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: DUNDONALD LINKS
« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2020, 04:24:45 PM »
also, £1m for an overhaul of a relatively new course ?! I know these things happen in the US but .... ;D


Niall

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back