Over the past three years I have spoken to Tom Doak about his Renaissance Club, on Scotland's Golf Coast (East Lothian), met Martin Hawtree during his work on Castlerock, and had lunch with Gil Hanse, at Narin & Portnoo (now open for play).
I have played golf with Ally McIntosh several times and chatted to both him and Ken Kearney during a Top 100 ranking meeting.
Talking to these guys just demonstrates how differently I look at a golf course. Golf course design is a discipline quite a distance from my sphere of interest.
And that was my concern when it came to The Island Golf Club, and the changes being made by Martin Ebert (of Mackenzie & Ebert). I love The Island. I played it as a kid and while I remember nothing about that round it has always stayed with me. There have been changes since then but the course I have played in recent years was one that grew on me every time I visited. The front nine was an adventure like no other and the eight par fours to start showed just how different a par four can be. Different shapes, lengths and hazards presented by dunes and wind.
|The approach to the former 8th hole. This has completely|
gone as the 8th and par three 9th have been combined.
The Island, however, decided that there were opportunities (as well as a need) for change and so Mackenzie & Ebert were brought on board. The simplest of rationales was that the club wanted the front nine to be every bit as good as the much revered back nine.
And so the project began... and is now finished. I have yet to see the changes but, I hope, I will play the new front nine in the weeks ahead.
If you want to read my interview with Martin Ebert about the changes he has made, it's in this summer's Global Guide published by Destination Golf. You'll find it from page 57.
If you want to play The Island, then you can do that too, from the start of August, for a heavily reduced rate of €130. For tee times please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01 843 6205.
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