Scotland’s Loch Lomond Golf Club Adds an Inspired New Links Course: Dundonald

Executive Golfer
By Edward F. Pazdur

“Kyle Phillips’ first course designed in Scotland, Kingsbarns Golf Links near St. Andrews earned him an unprecedented endorsement from The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews.”

Newly acquired, Dundonald makes an exceptionally worthy companion to Lyle Anderson’s Loch Lomond, a renowned international private club in Scotland with members from 42 countries, and 48 of America’s states. With the addition of Dundonald, Loch Lomond Golf Club, located just 30 minutes from Scotland’s Glasgow International airport, has surely become the world’s “mecca” of golf. The rank of mecca is easily justified. Its international membership includes 42 countries and 48 American states representing virtually every important private club in the world.

Chairmen, presidents, owners and senior executives have become members and formed a network of leading decision makers worldwide. ” Loch Lomond is a remarkable achievement in a remarkable setting. Never turn down an invitation to play there,” said Peter Burt, a member and recently retired Group Chief Executive of the Bank of Scotland, and Muirfield Captain.

The addition of Dundonald to Loch Lomond is a masterful move. It boosted the prominence of Loch Lomond within international circles and significantly added to its worldwide stature.

Dundonald is a new links course located about an hour’s drive from Loch Lomond and just north of Troon, Scotland. Anderson initially became interested last November when its name was Southern Gailes Golf Links with an uncertain future.

Phil Schneider, Vice Chairman of the Anderson Company, accompanied Anderson to take a look at it. “The owner decided he wanted to sell the club for personal reasons,” said Schneider. It had not opened. “We thought we might look at it and see if it would be possible, over time, to make arrangements for Loch Lomond members to play there from time to time. But, when we got down there,” explained Schneider, “we walked all 18 holes, designed by Kyle Phillips, and found all 18 to be outstanding. Our plans were changed right on the spot. We decided Loch Lomond Golf Club should try to buy it!”

The purchase was negotiated and completed by the end of January of this year. One of the first things on Anderson’s agenda was a name change. A variety of names was tossed back and forth.

Anderson decided, with the encouragement of others who favor a traditional approach to simply name it “Dundonald” without the word “links” with the name. Prince Andrew, who is serving as the international captain for Loch Lomond Golf Club, said he strongly favored a one word name in the tradition of links courses such as Troon, Carnoustie, Muirfield and Donorch. Dun means fort, so the name means Fort Donald and refers to a nearby hill which has had fortifications since the period of 500 to 200 B.C., and has had small castles between then and now.

Prior to World War II, there was an old course called Dundonald at the site and the Dundonald name was used for that area when it was converted for military use. There is also a small town of the same name nearby. Consequently, there is some very relevant history to the name.

When word got out to Loch Lomond members, it created a lot of excitement and pressure to play it. Kyle Phillips felt there was still some drainage and finishing work to be done.

As a compromise, it was decided to open it to club members sometime in July on a “preview” basis, until the fall, and then close it for a number of months to fully complete it, with a true grand opening on the finished course in 2004.

“We’ll have a very nice temporary clubhouse facility this summer. Our permanent clubhouse will be ready in 2004,” said Schneider. “And we have planning approval for forty (4-bedroom) cottages that would be along the golf course. Over time, there could be accommodations for members and their guests as well as sold to members.”

I asked: “How about the Anderson Company specialty and the development of a golf community?”

“There will be no homesites,” replied Schneider. “This is a private club and an extension of Loch Lomond.”

The buzz among Americans familiar with golf in the U.K. and among the Brits themselves is that Dundonald will become one of the very best links courses in the world. The real beneficiaries, of course, are Loch Lomond members. They have just been handed a second golf course to play and can look forward to a third, designed by Jack Nicklaus at Loch Lomond, in the near future.

“We are going through a really exciting time at Loch Lomond Golf Club. In addition to golf we’re adding a spa within the historic Walled Garden and beautiful new cottage accommodations for members and their guests,” said Schneider.


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