Brian Keogh explains how the venerable, world top 20 Royal Portrush is still in the hunt for a return engagement of The Open. But now suggestions are surfacing that the R&A might like to use the current 17th and 18th holes for tents, and ask the the club to build two new holes near the current 5th and 6th holes.
Apparently the use of two holes from the accompanying Valley Course is not an option either.
The 17th and 18th could then be used to house the tented village — par will be reduced from 72 to 70 with the 475-yard ninth and 478-yard 10th likely to be reduced from par fives to par fours.
Two "new" holes would then be needed and according to one member, it appears unlikely that the R&A are thinking of incorporating two of the Valley's signature holes into the Open course — the 336-yard, short par four, fifth hole and the 237-yard, par three, sixth — but instead hope to build two new holes in the sandhills close to that area.
According to one source, a potential seventh hole for the Open could run from left of the current sixth green to the area near the seventh tee on the Valley and from there head back up through the sandhills to the seventh tee on the Dunluce Links.