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…

Golf Monthly - - Gm Promotion -

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.

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