The man in charge of the Scottish Open has told bunkered.co.uk that the European Tour is looking into staging a future edition of the event at Dundonald Links, but was quick to stress that it is by no means a done deal.
Peter Adams, the European Tour’s director of international championships, was part of a delegation from the circuit that visited the Ayrshire course earlier this year. However, he was adamant that no decision has been made to play the event on the Kyle Phillips-designed course just yet – nor is a decision likely any time soon.
“We are looking at a number of different courses,” said Adams. “Right now, Dundonald Links is just one of them. We’re doing all of our research and are not as far along with that as setting a timeline for announcing any new venues just yet.”
Adams added that around half a dozen courses are on the European Tour’s radar for the Scottish Open but declined to name any of them.
“At the moment, we’d rather not go into naming all of the other places we’re looking at,” he added.
Dundonald Links, though, is one of them and the people in charge of the course seem keen to get the Scottish Open there in the near future. Indeed, Bill Donald, the general manager of parent organisation, Loch Lomond Golf Club, insisted that staging the event there ‘feels like a good fit’ and that its ‘hat is in the ring’
“Dundonald is set up for tournament golf and has been for a period of time,” noted Donald. “We all know the history of Loch Lomond and the Scottish Open is well documented and it seems like a natural progression that there was interest in the European Tour in the facility.
“They’re keen to have somewhere for the Scottish Open in the west and we seem to tick the boxes for them. When you’re friends and you know people, it’s an easy conversation to have and so we’re happy to support the possibility of the Scottish Open at Dundonald.”
"I think Dundonald achieves everything that is required to host an event like the Scottish Open" - Bill Donald
The Ayrshire links’ sister course, Loch Lomond, hosted the tournament, in one form or another, between 1996 and 2010.
“It has all come together quite quickly. There are good relations between a lot of people at Loch Lomond and the European Tour, so it was a very seamless chat to have. Quite interesting.”
Donald and his fellow board members of Loch Lomond Golf Club were approached by North Ayrshire Council to front a bid to host the event at Dundonald. “They have agreed to hold the funding for a couple of years, so that leaves options open for us and the European Tour, if they so wish,” added Donald.
On the face of things, Dundonald is well set up to stage an event of the Scottish Open’s size. Donald agrees.
“I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of years at The K Club where I saw a lot of tournament golf and I think Dundonald has it all,” he said. “It has the space, the access, the rail link, decent road links, and the proximity to Glasgow is important, too. Plus, I think there’s a real love for the place. It did in the region of 26,000 rounds last year and seems to attract a real loyal support from the golfing fraternity. And with the funding that has been made available to upgrade some of the areas – such as the practice area and so on – to ‘Loch Lomond’ standard, I think it does achieve everything that is required to host an event like the Scottish Open. It’s equal opportunities, too, which is important these days.”
However, the one thing it is missing is a permanent clubhouse. That, though, is something they are moving to fix, with plans for a new two-storey structure – possibly along similar lines to the clubhouse at Kingsbarns – set to be put to members ‘quite soon’.
“It’s something we’ve raised and we’re moving quite quickly on it,” added Donald, who also stressed that the tournament’s return to its previous host course is ‘not on the agenda’.
“The European Tour… can put up their own clubhouse, too, if need-be. Is not having a clubhouse an issue? It probably doesn’t particularly help in the scheme of things but not enough to side-track it.”
Donald also believes that a Scottish Open at Dundonald would be a fitting reward for the hard work done there by director of golf Guy Redford and his team.
“Dundonald has made terrific progress financially,” he added. “Guy and the team have turned everything around and it’s interesting what positive results do to people’s minds. They feel as though they can start to achieve everything.”
A Scottish Open at Dundonald Links
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