View From The Fairway - Dundonald Links Moves to Another Level
Admiring the newly opened clubhouse at Dundonald Links in Ayrshire, an emotional tale on the PGA Tour, and yet another case of a golfer not shouting fore, Golfshake's Derek Clements shares his latest View From The Fairway.
MUCH has been said and written about the need for golf clubs to move with the times, to adapt, to change. Dundonald Links has just enjoyed a grand reopening after a £25m investment programme. It now boasts a 200-cover restaurant thanks to a cash boost from UK holiday company Darwin Escapes. The club has become almost unrecognisable since it hosted the Scottish Open in 2017. It now has 22 hotel rooms and 18 lodges. The lodges have been fitted with a kitchen, living and dining area, and bar space, and the bathroom features a rainfall shower. And the larger six-bedroom lodges feature a pool table and utility room. But here’s the key difference - the club’s restaurant is not exclusively for golfers. The Canny Crow restaurant will encourage reservations and pop-ins from the public and staff hope it will also become a venue for family celebrations and romantic date nights. Now I know that not many clubs are fortunate enough to be able to attract £25m investment, but there are some lessons to be learnt - clubhouses are largely under-used and most are closed during the evening when winter sets in. Why don’t more of them make the effort to attract the local community?
YOU will probably have figured out by now that I am something of a golf anorak. I cannot get enough of the game. After the recent Bermuda Championship I was looking through the scores and noticed that somebody called Brian Morris had shot rounds of 89 and 92 to finish 36 holes on 39 over par. He did, of course, miss the cut by a mile. You won’t have heard of Morris, but his story will move you. He has terminal cancer. Morris had a malignant tumour removed from his brain almost two years ago, but doctors later discovered stage four cancer in his stomach and esophagus, and, at his most recent check-up, inoperable tumours in his neck. It is a death sentence. He recently underwent his 32nd chemotherapy session. "I'll always have one PGA Tour start to my name," Morris said. "I got to see my family, friends. I don't know if I ever see them again, you know? It means a lot. It's huge. I'll never forget this. I don't have time to think about being sick. I don't feel sick, I don't act sick, just because I'm playing golf. I'm just trying to make shots and hit putts. It's so cool that playing golf takes me completely away because I'm always in it between doctors and hospitals and trips to Boston; it's every day except for those four and a half hours I play golf.” So the next time you feel sorry for yourself, spare a moment or two to think about Morris and his family.
CLIMATE change is at the top of most of our agendas right now, and it is right that it should be. Rory McIlroy spoke about the subject at the DP World Tour Championship, and other top golfers have also joined the debate. But they face a near-impossible task. How so? Consider this: how do you think that McIlroy, Collin Morikawa and Billy Horschel got to Dubai? Come to that, how did the entire field get there? They climbed aboard planes and flew in. And they spend much of their lives criss-crossing the world in jets. Worse than that, many of them do so in private planes where they are the only passengers. If golf is serious about playing its part in helping to protect the planet, this is an issue that quite clearly needs to be addressed. Answers on a postcard please…
I HAD to do a double take when I read that Open champion Collin Morikawa had been made an honorary member of the European Tour. Apart from majors and WGC tournaments, the American played in precisely THREE European Tour events! Surely this is an honour - and that’s what it is - is something that should be earned over a period of time.
HAVING just won the Charles Schwab Cup for the sixth time at the age of 64, Germany’s Bernhard Langer is going under the surgeon’s knife. Langer is having surgery on a troublesome knee, purely and simply so that he can return to action and attempt to win the Charles Schwab Cup for a seventh time. He really is something else.
I MAKE no apologies for returning to a subject that continues to agitate me. During the final round of the DP World Tour Championship, Sam Horsfield hit an approach shot and turned away in disgust. Seconds later the ball hit a spectator and rebounded onto the green. There was no shout of “Fore” and there was no apology. It really is about time that tour professionals were penalised for failing to shout “Fore”. The rest of us do it as a matter of course, and Horsfield was taught to do the same thing. Are we going to have to wait for somebody to be killed before the authorities decide to take action. Failing to warn spectators is unforgivable.
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