A spring opening is planned for the isle of Jura’s new world-class golf course while a question mark remains over who will be allowed to play there.
The new 18-hole course, on Australian millionaire Greg Coffey’s 12,000-acre Ardfin estate, is now complete but for a few finishing touches.
But Mr Coffey, nicknamed the Wizard of Oz for his financial prowess after reputedly making £430 million as a hedge fund trader, has given no indication over how the course will operate.
Willie MacDonald, Ardfin’s long-serving estate manager, said: “We are not going to be operating until next spring. A decision about what we are doing won’t be made until April, or May, next year.”
He added: “We have never discussed the cost of playing here, we have never discussed figures, or what model we are going to operate on.”
Steve Brown, barman at The Jura Hotel, said: “I very much doubt the golf course will be open to the locals but we just don’t know, we are still in the dark about what is going on, but he is the one with the money, so it’s up to him.”
Designed by Sydney architect Bob Harrison and constructed by SOL, which built US president Donald Trump’s Scottish courses, Ardfin boasts spectacular sea views from every hole.
Ardfin is preparing to welcome guests, with the refurbishment of an old stable block to form 17 luxury hotel apartments now completed.
Mr Coffey’s estimated £70m investment into the estate he bought for £3.5m in 2010 also includes a revamp of Jura House, his private family retreat, with a swimming pool, steam room and gym which have planning permission to be used by commercial guests.
An Argyll and Bute Council policy document, praising the development work at Ardfin, states that planning permission and listed building consent was granted for the conversion and extension of the disused stables to create a 2,700sqm hotel/guesthouse “which is intended to be run as a private members club by the estate”.
A planning amendment was also recently passed to allow the leisure facilities at Jura House to be used by commercial guests.
Mr MacDonald, however, remained adamant that no decisions on opening a hotel or club had been made, and said: “We are concentrating on getting everything finished and then the decision will be made;, it is just whatever he decides to do.”