Belfast Telegraph

Castlerock course reopens after significant redesign

 

By Paul Kelly

A revamped Castlerock Golf Club is primed and ready to take advantage of any potential surge in golf visitors to the North Coast following next year's Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

The links venue, close to Benone beach, has recently unveiled a raft of significant course changes constructed under the watchful eye of renowned golf course architect Martin Hawtree.

The 71-year-old Englishman has worked on numerous links courses including Lahinch, Ballybunion and Trump International in Scotland.

"We had intended improving and reshaping the existing bunkers but, after consultation with the designer, we felt that only reshaping the bunkers would still leave some weak holes," said General Manager, Bert Mackay,

After further consultations, a plan to develop and update eight holes was conceived which was eventually reduced to six.

"Our focus has been on improving the course primarily for our members," added Bert.

"We will not be bidding for an Irish Open, we simply are not big enough, we will leave that for the likes of Royal Portrush.

"Castlerock has evolved over the last five or 10 years but it has been overlooked in the past. Now we have definitely put ourselves on the map as a golf destination, one that is very family friendly."

Hawtree's plan for the venue was to try and get Castlerock playing and feeling like a true links.

"I want it to really feel like a links. I'm not interested in length for the sake of it. I do want to make the surrounds of the greens more interesting and lively and force players to think about things a bit more," said Hawtree.

In achieving those aims the most significant changes have been made to two holes, the second and 15th which saw the construction of two new green complexes.

The members played the revamped course for the first time at the weekend with early feedback very positive.

Belfast Telegraph

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