Machrihanish Dunes to open in July

15 April 2009 Respond to this article

Machrihanish Dunes to open in July

15th April 2009

Golf course to tee off with US cash injection

It finally appears that golfers making the pilgrimage to Scotland’s historic Machrihanish Golf Club will have the chance to play its much-anticipated sister course.

An American resort developer has stepped in to ensure that the West Coast of Scotland's first new links golf course in more than a century opens this summer.

Southworth Development, based in Massachusetts, announced yesterday that it had bought a controlling interest in the Machrihanish Dunes development and would be injecting “several million pounds” to complete the estimated £30 million project.

After taking a minority stake in 2006, the US developer has acquired control of Kintyre Development Company (KDC), which in addition to the golf course owns the Ugadale Hotel and golf cottages in Machrihanish, and the Royal Hotel at Campbeltown.

The move by Southworth follows delays to the landmark development amid persistent rumours over KDC's ability to fund the mounting cost of the project. Brian Keating, the founder of KDC, will remain a shareholder and a director.

Like Southworth Developments more grandiose £500 million golf development on the opposite coast of Scotland, Machrihanish Dunes has been the subject of controversy because of its potential impact on the environment.

Much of the 259-acre site is designated as being of special scientific interest, and securing planning consent has involved numerous hurdles.

The championship links, which is being built next door to the famous Machrihanish Golf Club designed by Old Tom Morris, has been created by David McLay Kidd, a Scots designer whose previous work includes the Castle course in St Andrews and Bandon Dunes in Oregon. Six of its greens border the Atlantic.

Machrihanish Dunes Golf Club, is scheduled for a soft opening May 2, with an official opening July 21, two days after the 2009 Open Championship reaches its climax at Turnberry. The 7,300-yard seaside links sits adjacent to historic Machrihanish Golf Club, an Old Tom Morris design, about five miles west of Campbeltown on the southern tip of the Kintyre Peninsula in southwest Scotland.

Campbeltown used to be a busy port town with nearly three dozen whisky distilleries, and Campbeltown Airport has one of the longest runways in Europe. But the region has been hammered economically in recent decades. With the addition of the second course, the Machrihanish developers and tour operators envision the area becoming a popular stay-and-play destination. To that end, Southworth Development is building golf cottages and renovating the Ugadale Hotel in Machrihanish and the Royal Hotel in Campbeltown.

Southworth is one of the biggest golf resort developers in the world, with courses in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.

From: The Times & Golfweek