Inverness, Scotland: The legacy of Scotland’s pioneering golf course architects can be seen across the world and still influence today’s course designers.
A conference later this year, to coincide with Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, will celebrate the lasting impact on the game by the likes of Old Tom Morris, James Braid, Donald Ross, Willie Park Jr and Alister MacKenzie and their enduring effect on modern-day design and internationally known courses including Royal Dornoch and Castle Stuart Golf Links.
‘Design Masters: The Scottish International Golf Course Architects Conference’ will be held at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness from October 10-13.
As well as remembering the names of the past, the event will hear from leading contemporary course designers from around the world, greenkeepers, equipment manufacturers and golf journalists.
The event, organised by the Golf Tourism Development Group, will be chaired by Adam Lawrence, Editor of Golf Course Architecture magazine.
He said: “Scotland gave the world the game of golf itself, but it also produced some of the most influential designers of golf courses the game has known. More than that, though, Scottish golf continues to be a model for the rest of the world to look to, for its close connection to the population as a whole and its sustainability.
“No golfing country should copy Scotland, because to be truly authentic, golf has to be English, American, German or Chinese, adapting itself to local needs. But Scotland remains the original and best.”
Among the keynote speakers will be Tom Mackenzie, from designers Mackenzie and Ebert and President of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects; Bradley Klein, Architecture Editor of Golfweek magazine and the founding editor of Superintendent News; and Thad Layton, Senior Golf Course Architect at the Arnold Palmer Design Company.
Mackenzie, a former European Tour caddie and a Royal Dornoch greenkeeper, said: “I am delighted to be part of this significant event to celebrate these Scottish pioneers. We still see the effect of these trail-blazers today in the work of course architects and designers.”
Klein, a former PGA Tour caddie and university professor, is regarded as one of the world’s most distinguished experts in the field of golf course design and maintenance.
He has published seven books on golf architecture and history, including Discovering Donald Ross, winner of the USGA 2001 International Book Award. In 2015 he won his industry’s highest honour, the American Society of Golf Course Architecture’s Donald Ross Award for lifetime achievement.
He has served as a consultant on numerous golf course development and restoration projects.
He said: “I think it’s great that Scottish golf is celebrating the architectural legacy of Donald Ross. For a long while the pioneering design work of Ross has been unacknowledged. But it’s something of a miracle story how this humble son of Dornoch took the lessons of Old Tom Morris and links golf and transformed the entire face of the game and of the world’s sports landscape.”
During the four-day conference, delegates will visit a number of historic courses in the Scottish Highlands, including Royal Dornoch Golf Club, which this year is marking 400 years of the game being played in the town’s links, and Brora Golf Club, which is marking its 125th anniversary.
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