Golf Course Architecture - Issue 59, January 2020

ON S I TE 64 W e’ve said on many occasions in GCA that the most important factor governing the quality of a golf course is the land on which it sits. Which means three things, basically – the topography of the course itself, the views and surroundings around the property, and the type of soil in the ground. Tick off all three – a classic links, say, with wonderful random ground contour, views down the shore and across the ocean, and sand underfoot to guarantee good drainage – and you have the perfect site to build a world-class golf course. Anything less, though, and you have compromise. That’s not the worst thing in the world – any golf architect would be delighted to have a site with two, or even one of our three characteristics. But it does mean that the work of construction will not be completely straightforward. There have been few golf course sites where the three characteristics were so starkly in contrast as was the case when Tom Weiskopf and the late Jay Morrish came to build the Loch Lomond club in central Scotland. For sure, it’s a glorious spot to play golf on a nice day, right on the ‘bonnie banks’ of Great Britain’s largest lake and with very pleasant up and downs that never get hilly. Ironically, although one of the first ‘American-style’ private clubs (with no visitor green fee play, just members and guests) in the UK, it is one of the country’s better-known venues, as a result of 15 years as a European Tour venue, hosting Scotland’s national Open, the final tournament before the Open Championship itself. Beautiful spot though LLGC, the former home of the chieftains of Clan Colquhoun, is, there is one very fundamental problem. Water. The loch didn’t get there by accident. It is surrounded by mountains and is one of the wettest places in Scotland. The site, as director of golf course and estates David Cole told me, averages around two metres of rain each year. The native soil was mainly a peat bog and inert spoil was imported during the original construction to stabilise the ground and sculpt the routing and contours of the golf course. Weiskopf reckons a million cubic metres of waste Adam Lawrence visited the famous and exclusive Loch Lomond Golf Club in Scotland, where an enormous renovation project is transforming drainage Drying out LOCH LOMOND GOLF CLUB, SCOTLAND Photo: David Cole