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Sunday
Jan152012

Dawson: Royal Portrush Needs "The Treatment" Before Landing Open!

Wasn't "The Treatment" the thing Dr. Galea called his little blood spinning, HGH and shark-blood-infused healing concoction?

Turns out The Treatment is what the R&A's Peter Dawson calls course tinkering to mask regulatory apathy.

Dawson, talking to John Huggan in Scotland On Sunday about a wide range of subjects, touches on the glorious Royal Portrush's slightly improving Open chances. Remember, this is a course perennially ranked in the top 15 in the world that has survived many decades now without needing much design help.

He has already been over to take what was meant to be a surreptitious look at the course and the surrounding infrastructure.

“I enjoyed my visit. It’s a great golf course,” he enthuses. “But it hasn’t had the ‘treatment’ that other Open courses have had and some of that would be required. One or two holes need some changes. And there are layout issues. It’s not obvious where the practice ground would go, for example. Or where the tented village could be sited.

He goes on to discuss what The Treatment has meant for Royal Lytham and St. Annes.

“The course is coming along nicely,” says Dawson. “We’ve lengthened the holes by about 200 yards since we were last there in 2001. We’ve re-bunkered the second hole. The third is longer and both holes have a lot of new mounding to the left of the fairways. There’s a new tee at the fifth. And the sixth will be a par-4, not a par-5, with new bunkers in the dogleg.

“The seventh will see the biggest change. It has a new green, further back and left. The old green was always a bit ‘Mickey Mouse’ so that is good. The tenth has a new tee, as has the 11th, right on top of the sandhill back and left of the tenth green.

“That sounds like a lot of change. But it is still Lytham. I’ve always been a fan of the course. It’s a very subtle and good test. It’s [five-times Open champion] Peter Thomson’s favourite, which says a lot.”

Indeed.

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Reader Comments (11)

The 7th was only good enough to be one of the top three par 5s on the Open rota according to Jack Nicklaus (the other two being the 6th at Carnoustie and the 14th at S:t Andrews). And artificial monding on a links? What meeting did I miss???
01.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Oh no!!
01.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMRP
Eew, what a blithe idio..er, high ranking official.

The Treatment: my dystopian image of the future is littered with saggy tattooed flesh on bodies with preternaturally young pockets of plastic and silicone.
On the golf front, every classic course is in danger of some mad doctor's knife.

No wait, that's the present!

I hope the fine folks at Portrush suggest Mr Dawson and his improvements take a hike.
01.15.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdbh
Gawd. With comments like that, one might hope that the Open would be kept permanently at The Belfry, so that no lasting harm could befall the great links courses at the hands of the R&A and Acushnet.

How witless could Peter Dawson be? He must know about posts like this, on this blog, and how indefensible is the position of the R&A and the USGA with respect to the Joint Statement of Principles which was several years and about 800 yards ago.
01.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
Dawson ought to be ashamed of himself.

Find a course. Go play it.

Since when did the USGA and R&A have anyone on their staffs that knew anything about golf course architecture?
01.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Smith
I think Jeff is trying to say Dawson ought to be ashamed of himself, I completely agree. What a joke, bad joke.
01.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSYF
I would like to know what experience in design or a list of actual complete designed courses The R&A undertaken to qualify them to make suggestions on a course layout.

Is this the same R&A that stated last year that there is no current problem in the game related to the distance the ball travels.

Melvyn
This is what happens when you leave men in charge of an organization. They always think they know better and can't leave well enough alone. Silly ego's :)
01.15.2012 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Lytham IS one of the best. It wouldn't need all of those changes if the R & A did something about the ball.............and neither would the Dunluce Course at RPGC. As for the horrid tented village, if what they had at Sandwich is to be the norm - put it in downtown Coleraine!
01.16.2012 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
I agree with everyone regarding the distance issue-but a couple of points-
The majority or the mounding on Royal Birkdale is man-made.
The R and A do employ a course architect.
You will never get agreement as to whether he's any good or not-but I believe The Donald rather likes him!!
01.16.2012 | Unregistered Commenterbonnie banks
If there is any wind at all, Portrush would slaughter half the field. The top 10 may shoot good scores but the field will not.
What's next? Eliminate the blind shots at RCD?
01.16.2012 | Unregistered Commenterrose

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