Scotland’s newest links golf course is starting to take shape and if the early images are to go by, may prove to be one of the most awe-inspiring and spiritual settings in golf.
The development of the Ardfin Estate on the remote south-west Scottish island of Jura hasn’t been without its environmental and agronomical challenges. An update from the project read;
The course will become part of the 14,000-acre Ardfin Estate, which occupies the southern tip of an island best known for its single malt scotch whiskey and with a current population of just 180. The routing at Ardfin will be arranged in two loops along the edge of a series of elevated bluffs. There will be spectacular views across the ocean from every corner of the property. Designed to cause minimal disturbance to the coastal landscape, the holes will be ‘dropped’ onto existing fields, and constructed without substantially modifying the form of the land.
Remaining naturalistic, the course will preserve all of the existing burns which cross the fields, and the large areas of particularly sensitive wilderness (such as wetlands) even where they lie within the playing areas of individual golf holes. Ancient stone walls on the site will be incorporated into the design, while new walls along with the beautiful cliffs will dictate the strategy for many holes by asking players to choose a brave line if they hope to reach a short par 4 or gain a better angle of approach.
Ardfin – 14th green. One of the most natural and spectacular settings on the property. pic.twitter.com/zTM4ui50PR
— Harrison Golf (@BobHarrisonGolf) June 12, 2015
Financed by estate owner Greg Coffey, an Australian millionaire with a reported net worth of $700m enlisted the work of Bob Harrison, a renowned Australian golf architect and former design partner to Greg Norman.
Harrison has previously shared his appreciation for the area before construction got under way;
“I love Scotland in general and, by a pleasant coincidence, had been a devoted fan of the Machrie Golf Course on nearby Islay for many years. Jura has become my favourite place on earth.”
As I noted on a recent Linkedin post ‘Scotland’s Next Golf Destination’, I believe in the remote west coast of Scotland we could be looking at the world’s next great golf destination. For golf that provides a true spiritual connection to the game of golf and a sense of timelessness at the exact moment the game is awash with commercialism and sanitisation. The beauty in the imperfections of golf as it was formed has been lost to some.
Somewhat worrying to me is the reports that Ardfin will be very much off limits to the public and a private back garden for Mr Coffey. Such a policy would be very much against what Scottish golf stands for and more in keeping with some of the land battles between clans on the very same ground several hundred years ago. Anyone willing to make the journey to the remote west coast islands of Scotland should be given the basic Scottish right; golf. For that Ardfin should reconsider.
Now for the 2020 golf trip I’ve got rounds booked at Ardfin on Jura, Machrie on neighbouring Islay, 36 holes at Machrihanish, a fun 12 hole golf experience on the Isle of Arran before a final round at the Tom Morris designed Askernish with the odd peaty Islay or Jura Scotch thrown in for good measure. And I’ll do it all without seeing another loud golf party pass comment on the lack of clubhouse amenities or the insignificant caddy pool.
Who’s coming with?
For more photos and updates from the site visit the Ardfin website.