Work on the extension to the golf course has begun on the 6th and 7th holes and it is my intention to give everyone an idea of the thinking behind the designs and regular updates regarding the progress.
The design has been heavily influenced by CB McDonald, who is often referred to as the father of golf course architecture in America. This is an additional element to the influences of the Old Dornoch and Merion of the first 9 holes at Gowrie Farm. CB is remembered for his masterpiece – the National Golf Links of America – where he put his ideas about golf course architecture on the ground. He was a great student of the old Scottish courses, having studied at St Andrews. When building courses, CB always took some of his favourite holes from Scotland and adapted them to the local areas. The most commonly used holes were the Redan, the Alps, the Road Hole, Eden and the 14th at St Andrews. I have tried to use the same philosophies when it comes to the new 7 holes at Gowrie Farm, where I hope to bring adaptations of the Road Hole, the Pit (13th at North Berwick) and the Redan. Muirfield will also influence some of the holes and hopefully, we will be able to add 7 new holes to Gowrie which do justice to the first 9.
The first of the new holes, the 7th, was strongly influenced by 3 par 5’s: the tee shot by the 6th at Carnoustie, where Hogan’s Alley was the main feature, or the tee shot at the 14th, which has a split fairway. We’ll be offering two choices from the tee. Both the 14th at St Andrews and the 17th at Muifield have cross-bunkers some 100m from the hole. We’ll look to do the same at our 7th. This new hole will be just over 500m for the club golfer and 540m from the back tees, giving a golfer the chance of taking the short route without a bounce on his right hand side, similar to Hogan’s Alley, or taking the safe, but longer route, which will ensure that they have a 3-shot hole to the green. A number of you may have watched the Ladie’s Open at Muirfield and will remember the 17th, where one of the main features were the cross-bunkers. We will have a series of cross-bunkers similar to this, roughly 100m from the hole.
Unlike most, the green will be without any bunkers. We feel the challenge getting there will be sufficient to make this an interesting hole. Next month, I’ll bring some background on the design of the new 6th hole – a 158m par 3.
– Guy Smith