ONE of Scotland’s oldest golf clubs is to return its famous layout to the original specifications in time for its 200th anniversary.
Founded in 1817, Scotscraig Golf Club, near Tayport, Fife, is the world’s 13th oldest golf club and boasts an 18-hole championship course originally laid out by James Braid.
Now, an “ambitious restoration programme” will see it restored to its former glory, with all of the course’s green-side and fairway bunkers being returned to their original size, and many substantially expanded.
With additional on-course alterations being completed in tandem with extensive gorse removal, this is the biggest such project undertaken by the Fife club.
George Anderson, Scotscraig’s vice-captain, said yesterday: “The amount of work carried out in the last 15 months has been substantial.
“The conclusion of the current programme will be later this year when all the remaining fairway bunkers will be returned to their original dimensions.
“We’re bringing Scotscraig back to what it used to be, we’re re-establishing the course.”
The first phase of the project involved rebuilding 21 green-side bunkers and a comprehensive redesign, rebuild and expansion of the fourth green and its associated sand trap which are both now open for play.
Stage two will see 26 fairway approach bunkers rebuilt.
The far-reaching restoration project is as much to do with reviving James Braid’s ingenious design as it is about future-proofing the course.
Mr Anderson said: “Although the work is extensive, we are also mindful of the club’s history and what the course looked like in years gone by.”
As well as the new-look bunkers, Scotscraig’s fairways have been cut so longer hitters will find narrower landing areas the closer they get to the green.
Braid, from Fife, who died in 1950 at the age of 80, was a Scottish professional golfer and a member of “the Great Triumvirate” of the sport, alongside Harry Vardon and John Henry Taylor. He won The Open Championship five times and in later life became a renowned golf course architect and is regarded by some as the “inventor” of the dogleg.
Among his other designs are the King’s and Queen’s Courses at Gleneagles, and the 1926 remodelling of The Open Championship venue at Carnoustie.
Scotscraig is also currently in the design phase of its next 10-year development plan which will include further changes to the respected championship course.