The venue for the Genesis Scottish Open, which opens on Thursday, Renaissance Club, like many other great links courses in Britain, looks like it’s been there for hundreds of years.
Like all real links courses, it winds along a coast with few trees. Wind, rain, heat and cold pose problems for players. With firm fairways, you can push a well-hit drive an extra 50 yards or punish an equally well-hit shot with an unlucky bounce.
The course is lined with tall, golden fescue grass that sways in the wind. The brownish green undulates subtly in the center and is striking at the edges. And, of course, deep bunkers swallow the ball as it makes its way toward the target.
Located in the best area for golf in town.home of Muirfield Edinburgh golfers honored company Regular host of the British Open and adjacent to the course.and on the road North Berwick Golf Club, This is where the sport has been played since 1832.
But the Renaissance Club, now in its fifth year of hosting the Scottish Open, opened in 2007 after two American brothers developed the club. The tournament course underwent major renovations in his 2014, with some holes now offering water views.
But its architect, Tom Doak, is not known for building a course to host a professional golf championship. This was his first time.
So how did the Renaissance Club come to host a tournament of increasing importance? It’s sanctioned by the PGA TOUR and the DP World Tour, so you get more prize money and ranking points.)
This change began in 2011 and laid out a broader strategy to play in conditions closer to the Open Championship, which is often held a few days later. The Scottish Open has been held off and on under various sponsors for almost 50 years at that point.
Organizers partnered with Visit Scotland, the country’s tourism board, to find venues that would capture the imagination of visitors. Scottish golf courses vary in terrain, but when you think of Scottish golf, the image of a windy, bouncy course comes to mind.
“We started our link strategy in 2011 and decided to move from Loch Lomond to Castle Stewart,” said Genesis Scottish Open Championship Director Rory Colville. “We have determined that it is in the players best interest to play links golf in the week before the Open. The economic benefits of the first Scottish Open at Castle Stewart are said to have exceeded £5 million. [about $6.3 million]. That’s really positive. ”
Hosting tournaments for more than a decade, Loch Lomond has for centuries been a green course set in creeks and heavily wooded grounds. It is ranked as one of the best courses in the world. But its trees and streams don’t conjure images of Scottish golf.
Castle Stewart, like Renaissance Club, is a modern course built to look like it’s been on the ground forever. The difference was in the design team.
Opened in 2009, the facility was designed by American architect Gil Hans, who has restored US Open and PGA courses such as the Los Angeles Country Club and Southern Hills, Oklahoma. At Stuart Castle, Hanse worked with the land’s discoverer, Mark Parsinen, to build a highland course with wide vistas, firm fairways and deep bunkers.
“Castle Stewart was a relatively new golf course at the time, but as a venue it emphasized everything we wanted from a new links course,” Colville said. “It was a fair test of golf, but it was also the right type of test to warm up for the Open Championship in that it wasn’t set up to be overly penalized.”
“Players don’t want to be beaten going to majors,” he said. “Castle Stewart was just the right type of golf course. It produced solid champions like Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson and Alex Noren.
The strategy at the time was, of course, to use a rota, or schedule, similar to how the Open Championship moves the championship to a set number of venues. For the Scottish Open, Royal Aberdeen, Gullane and Dundonald participated.
“I had an exceptional experience at Royal Aberdeen,” Colville said of the 2014 tournament. “Justin Rose won there in great style. Rory McIlroy played there and won the British Open the following week.”
Gullane has the advantage of being close to the capital, Edinburgh, which has increased the number of spectators.
But top players were hesitant about the rota before the official rota of the Open Championship was announced. That meant they could have to learn a new course each year. There was also an economic reason for planning the same infrastructure and holding events at the same stops.
“Loch Lomond has had an event every year,” Colville said. “To achieve the scale we needed, we needed to find a home. This is difficult for a membership club with a large number of members who do not want their golf routines disrupted by the closure of golf courses each year. “
The Renaissance Club was founded by brothers Jerry and Paul Salvadi. Paul is the CEO of Insperity, a staffing firm, and Jerry has a career in aviation fuels.
As the club celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2018, Paul Salvadi has spoken out about his determination to continue hosting the Scottish Open. “I’m proud of the first decade, but I’m even more excited about the next decade,” he said.
Colville said the brothers were passionate about building a home for the Open Championship.
“They have built long-term television facilities and parking facilities,” he said. “They have built the infrastructure that allows us to host the event year after year. They have made it a viable event.”
Tampering with the course is also allowed. “Our agronomy team has worked closely with the club to improve conditions and improve the golf course.”
Doak, who declined to comment, is best known for designing destinations in notable locations such as: Barnboogle, Tasmania, new zealand cape kidnappers and Pacific Dunes in Oregon. He has largely avoided commissioning or restoring the courses where tournaments are held.
In 2019, he told The Golf Channel, “I never thought I would build a tournament golf course.” When asked what he did to make the course tough enough for the pros, he added: I want to do things that make them think and play a little bit safer. ”
Since the Renaissance Club course was renovated in 2014, Doak has been less involved in the changes over the years. The owner group brought in three-time major champion and former Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington. discuss the course From a tournament player’s point of view.
“You get the perspective of a link-qualified person who contributes to the refinement and improvement of the golf course,” Colville said. “He added some subtle design features to make the rough more punishing and changed many of the fairway cutlines.”
In the five years the course has been hosting events, the Scottish Open has achieved high status with PGA and DP World Tour sanctions. Acquired luxury car company Genesis as title sponsor.
“We expect a record attendance at this year’s Scottish Open, with over 70,000 spectators,” Colville said.
“Eight of the world’s top 10 players are competing this year. It’s a vote of confidence that they love the golf course and facilities.”