Dundonald Links worth a Scottish Open visit

BEYOND this year’s first visit to Royal Aberdeen, a plan for the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open has yet to be determined by its three partners – the title sponsor, the European Tour and the Scottish Government.

Castle Stuart Golf Links in Inverness. Picture: Jane Barlow
Castle Stuart Golf Links in Inverness. Picture: Jane Barlow

It is believed the event will be moved around the country over the next few years, with a return to Castle Stuart, where it was warmly welcomed by the Highlands community, during a three-year stint, guaranteed at some point, almost certainly in 2016.

That being the case, we’re looking at the 2015 and 2017 slots needing to be filled, with the likelihood, though by no means certain, that both of those will be close to the Central Belt, with one on the east coast and the other on the west of the country.

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It’s probably between The Renaissance Club or Gullane on the east, with next year looking the more likely option, while Dundonald Links appears to be a strong candidate in the west, if, as seems almost certain, existing Open Championship venues are being ruled out.

If that wasn’t the case, Turnberry and Royal Troon would be more obvious choices, but, with the likes of Western Gailes, Glasgow Gailes and Barassie all probably being too short for such an event, then why not Dundonald Links?

Paying my first visit there for a while last week proved a timely reminder that Kyle Phillips laid down a fine course to the south of Irvine – its overall condition has been improved since coming under the ownership of Loch Lomond Golf Club – and, what’s more, it has the space to cater for the infrastructure of a Scottish Open.