Golf News and Comment

Forget SPOTY….Focus on the FUTURE

For all of us golf devotees here in Scotland and across the wider U.K. golf community, our national broadcaster’s (BBC) decision to allocate a frugal 30 seconds coverage to an entire year’s golf & to effectively snub Britain’s latest Major Champion Matt Fitzpatrick by failing to include him in the shortlist for the main award in the 2022 Sports Personality of The Year shindig has rendered all fair minded SPOTY watchers shocked & horrified but sadly not at all surprised.

Whatever happened to the once mighty Beeb?  When did it fall out of love with our great game?

So many of us grew up setting our golf calendar by its world class coverage. Starting in spring with at least the last two days of The Masters, followed by all four days live of every Open Championship to get us through summer and then seeing out the season with The World Matchplay over the West Course at Wentworth; all of course accompanied by the glorious soundtrack of Messrs Alliss , Hay, Critchley, Clark & a young newcomer Ken Brown.

What makes the situation so irritating is the fact that 2022 marked some incredible moments in the golf world. At the highest level of the men’s professional game we witnessed the carnage of LIV v The Rest; obscene multi million dollar offers being thrown around pitting Tour against Tour and Pro v Pro. An unseemly and vulgar assault, destroying countless hard won reputations in an instant, including that of recently appointed Europe Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson and Champion Golfer of The Year Cam Smith.

In stark contrast we had the privilege of watching the finest women golfers compete in the AIG Women’s Open over the mighty links of Muirfield ; a historic moment indeed, both for the Women Pros and The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.

Ignoring the champion’s subsequent career move, The Old Course at St Andrews was once again the focus of the golf world when it hosted a fantastic 150th Open Championship.

How encouraging to see Rory McIlroy re-establish himself as a genuine contender in The Majors and a well deserved world No.1 spot to end the season. What price a Green Jacket finally for Rory at Augusta in 2023?

What is a certainty is that Rory will be a critical figure for Europe in the 2023 Ryder Cup, being held for the first time in Italy at Marco Simone Golf & CC near Rome. In what could be a drastically changed line-up ( result of LIV fallout ) Scotland’s Robert McIntyre has to be a strong contender for Captain Luke Donald’s selection.

Less than two weeks before the 44th Ryder Cup, the Women Professionals from Europe & USA will contest the Solheim Cup; the 2023 event will be hosted in Spain at Finca Cortesin in Andalucia.

Scotland will still enjoy a decent share of tournament golf with the Women’s Scottish Open at Dundonald Links, The Genesis Scottish Open again being played at Renaissance Club and not forgetting The Walker Cup being contested over The Old Course for the first time since 1975.

The Home Of Golf has always enjoyed its place as a must visit destination for the devoted golf traveller but we are now witnessing incredible demand for tee times on many of the other top courses with some like Muirfield and North Berwick already closing tee sheets for the 2023 season, together with a range of exciting investments in new courses and high end luxury accommodation as well as key initiatives designed to appeal to a younger audience with the vision to genuinely grow the game.

In The Highlands region for example 2023/24 has the potential to transform the area for future golf visitors. The purchase of Castle Stuart by Cabot means a second course, designed by Tom Doak should be breaking ground later in 2023 and hopefully good sense will prevail and we will see the fantastic proposal at Coul Links near Dornoch move to design and construction overseen by Mike Keiser and designers Coore & Crenshaw.
American real estate group Marine & Lawn certainly appear confident these ambitious projects will be fully realised.Following the group’s recent purchase and upgrades of Marine Troon, Marine North Berwick and Rusacks St Andrews, they have now agreed the purchase of The Dornoch Hotel which, following a full refurbishment, is scheduled to re-launch in 2023 as The Dornoch Station Hotel.

Good news for anyone planning to play the new venues or some of our current outstanding Highland courses in the future such as Royal Dornoch, Brora, Golspie, Tain, Carnegie Links, Fortrose & Rosemarkie, Nairn & Nairn Dunbar etc

To keep the balance there are also advanced plans for a new course at Machrihanish on the Kintyre Peninsula and Fairmont Hotel outside St Andrews has recently announced their decision to to completely overhaul their two courses to create one championship layout.

Possibly not for the purists but the R&A’s decision to purchase the public course at Lethamhill in Glasgow, invest very substantial funds and plan to launch the new complex in summer 2023 as Golf It! deserves enormous credit.
Five miles south of Golf It! takes you to the Royal Burch of Rutherglen and to the first Top Golf location in Scotland. Now part of the Callaway brand family this very impressive set up launched just a couple of weeks ago to very positive reviews.

All very ambitious and all very good news for golf and particularly golf in Scotland.
Investment at grass roots & social level.
Investment at the high-end luxury level.

Roll on 2023.







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