Aboyne, the oldest golf club on Royal Deeside, has announced the completion of work on its sixth hole featuring the re-establishment of the historic ‘Grants Lochie’.
Designed by Archie Simpson and updated by renowned architect Martin Hawtree, Aboyne is home to one of the most highly-regarded inland courses in the north-east of Scotland.
The changes to the revered sixth hole have helped to bring one of the most quirky features of the layout back into play.
‘Grant’s Lochie’ is a small body of water on the right-hand side of the hole that, over the years, had become largely hidden from view as trees had grown up around it.
However, a tree-felling programme, which saw 23 trees cut down, has helped to reintroduce the water hazard, much to the delight of club members.
Aboyne president Nigel Bradburn explained: “Aboyne Golf Club re-opened on May 28 as part of the relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Scottish Government as we fight this dreadful pandemic.
“The re-start of play has allowed our members to view and be challenged by the reshaping of this hole and we are receiving very favourable feedback.”
Greens convenor David Munro added: “This has been a planned major project as part of our ongoing tree management programme. We have wanted to do this for a few years as we continue to enhance the course.
“We started over the winter months but the onset of the Coronavirus outbreak meant we went in to lockdown and had to furlough some of our greens staff part way through the project. It is down to the exceptional hard work and dedication of our head greenkeeper Colin Forbes that we have been able to complete this project in time for our re-opening.“
Forbes himself said that he is “delighted with the outcome”.
“Previously, players from the tee box who sliced their shot to the right were not really
Penalised,” he remarked. “Their ball usually landed at the base of the trees and was playable. However, some of these roots were exposed and we considered this dangerous to players, so we decided to re-shape the hole.
“Having gained a license from the forestry commission, we set about the work and felled
23 trees comprising spruce and other hardwood. Removing the trees has altered the sixth hole and now offers little protection for a player wayward off the tee. We slightly adjusted the contour of the surrounding ground so that the land falls away to the loch. After tiding up the bankside and raising the canopy of the remaining trees it now offers a real challenge to players to avoid the water.”
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