Golf Course Architecture - Issue 54: October 2018

51 commentator, moved to the US after he gave up television work, and built a new career as a golf course designer. Told by his friend, the golf journalist Malcolm Campbell, who lives nearby, about the Dumbarnie site, he negotiated a lease with the landowner, the 5,000 acre Balcarres Estate, created his routing, and, eventually, put together a consortium of fourteen investors, mostly American, that is developing the course. One of those investors is leading golf contractor Landscapes Unlimited, which is providing the construction crew. The site has more elevation than is commonplace on most links courses, with several holes occupying an escarpment some sixty feet above the coastline, resulting in thirteen holes having a view over the Firth of Forth. Bunkers are being built by a crew provided by leading synthetic bunker edging specialist EcoBunker. That crew, led by global installation specialist Llewelyn Matthews, is moving through the property behind the shaping crew and constructing the revetted bunkers. Not all the bunkers will feature revet though; architect Clark has planned in a number of large sandy blowouts. “The par five fifteenth has twin fairways, the straight line is more dangerous as it is only 30 yards wide, while the left fairway, which is split from the right-hand fairway by a couple of large bunkers, is 50 yards wide,” he says. “There is also a short par four at seventeen, around the 300 yards, and that has an old Scottish wall en route to the green. “The coastal level is the larger part of the site, but the dunes there are fairly low, which allows us to see over them,” says Clark. “Up the escarpment and when you’re high above the coastal plain, we have three of four holes where the view is getting on for 180 degrees which is quite spectacular. “The material onsite is ideal, and we moved quite a lot of dirt to accomplish high dunes – the bigger ones are in step with Birkdale,” says Clark. “We hope to have construction finished by the end of the year. It is a tight schedule, but we are on target, which will allow a full eighteen months for the course to grow in before opening in 2020.” That tight target looks like being hit. At the time of writing, middle September, the final hole, the par three eighth, was being shaped, and a lot of green grass was evident, with some greens and fairways already being mowed and rolled to aid establishment of the turf sward. Formal opening is planned for 2020, though it is likely that there will be play next year. GCA Dumbarnie Links “Up the escarpment and when you’re high above the coastal plain, we have three of four holes where the view is getting on for 180 degrees which is quite spectacular” Top, eighteenth hole view from the entry drive across the site; above, golf course architect Clive Clark (on the left) discussing details with lead shaper, John Ellsworth, on the first hole; right, project team including Clark (second left), project manager Paul Kimber (centre), and superintendent Grahame Taylor (second right) Photos: Clive Clark