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.”