KEEPING UP WITH THE SUNNINGDALES
A place in the Top 100 or Next 100 indicates quality of the highest order. Rob Smith takes a look at the steps clubs are taking to up their game…
frequently asked question relating to our Top 100 Rankings is why a particular course has dropped a few places, or even disappeared. Occasionally, the answer is that there has been a decline, usually in conditioning, but by far the most common reason is simply that others are constantly improving. This is great news for golfers, because it means we are enjoying the results of remodelling and refinement that caters for modern tastes and equipment, as well as improved maintenance techniques. In such a competitive world, all clubs have to move forward to stand still!
Aroster, and it is very rare that any reappear as host without some form of makeover, most often designed to stiffen the test. Even the hallowed turf of the Old Course receives tweaks.
At this year’s venue, Royal Troon, a large bunker set in the dune ridge on the 10th had been reinstated and the front part of the 15th fairway had been pulled 50 yards over to the left. These changes brought the course back to the way it had been designed, and were more aesthetic than strategic. Some of the smaller greens had also been enlarged, such as on the famous Postage Stamp, allowing a new pin position that brought the front bunker more into play.
More radical are the changes at Trump Turnberry, particularly those around the lighthouse, which have met with great acclaim from people lucky enough to have seen them already. All 18 holes have been changed in some way, with every green re-laid to ensure consistency. This meant closing the course for some time, and a huge financial expense both for the work and the lost revenue.