The Scottish Open Helps the Renaissance Club to Step Out of the Shadow of Its Neighbor

Posted by on July 10, 2019  /   Posted in golf reviews

If you are really familiar with the company you are keeping, the Renaissance Club has certainly started the right way.

Years ago, when Jerry Sarvadi, an American and co-investor, started telling friends about the course they were building in Scotland, the first question almost always tried to know where.

The answer: right next to Muirfield.

Yes, that is Muirfield. The 128-year-old home of the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers and host of the British Open on 16 occasions, most recently in 2013.

Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Nick Faldo and Phil Mickelson have been to the champions.

"To be able to tell people," Literally next door, "" Sarvadi said, "it has given us an identity up to the location."

Ultimately, however, it is not enough just to live in the shadow of your neighbors.

The Renaissance Club quickly made its own niche, now with more than 250 members signed by Tom Doak's design, a beautiful view of the Firth of Forth and modern influences not found among its older neighbors.

This week the club has the opportunity to introduce itself to a wider audience as the host of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.

"It is the National Open of Scotland," said Sarvadi, now the club's club manager and director. "There are only a few others who get the TV coverage that it has. It's pretty unique. We're excited about it."

[Read more about how the Scottish Open gives players a last-minute chance to qualify for the British Open.]

As a final test for the British Open next week, the line-up has attracted at least 16 of the best players in the world ranking. Among them are the British Open winners Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson. Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler are also scheduled to play.

Three weeks later, the Ladies Scottish Open is played on the same layout.

"It's in a real golfing paradise." Said Stenson, the 2016 British Open winner, "just along the coast of Muirfield and so many other great courses."

The East Lothian coastline east of Edinburgh is one of the geographic gems of golf. The piece starts in Gullane, where the Gullane Golf Club is embraced as the "people & # 39; s club" compared to the ultra-prime Muirfield. Last year's Scottish Opens were played in Gullane.

There is also North Berwick Golf Club, where the game has been played on the West Links since 1832. Too short for the modern pro, it is an attraction for golf tourists for its creative challenge and beautiful holes along the sea.

"It's a nice neighborhood. Two of my favorite courses in the world are on both sides," said Doak, referring to Muirfield and North Berwick.

"It is clear that you are being held to a very high standard in that neighborhood."

The project gave Doak, who already has Pacific Dunes and Sebonack in the United States, Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand and Barnbougle Dunes in Australia had designed his first chance in Scotland.

Doak spent a year after college by studying the courses of Britain and Ireland, which helped shape his minimalist design philosophy.

First, however, the Doak team had to restore the land. Sarvadi said that large stands of pines and plane trees were planted by the British Forestry Commission shortly after the Second World War.

"Prior to the trees" here, it was all left dune land, "said Sarvadi, who retired to Florida after a career in the oil and gas industry.

He said that when the stumps were pulled out, "just sand would fall. It was 100 percent sand. "

Perhaps that hidden aspect was what caused golf to be developed earlier in the field. Sarvadi first heard the tract in April 2002 during a golf outing with his brothers and friends.

A of them was Don Lewis, whose father-in-law helped with the construction of Muirfield Village near Nicklaus near Columbus, Ohio.

"We drink wine in the evening and he says: & # 39; Do you want to build a golf course in Scotland? & # 39; "Sarvadi remembered." Yes, where? "

Sarvadi flew to look. Within three years he said he had financing and papers were signed for a 99-year lease. Construction started in January 2005.

Doak said his biggest challenge was to design holes for tournament professionals while still providing a high-quality experience for members.

"In the United States, if you want build a course to organize a tournament, you would hire Jack Nicklaus or Pete Dye, "he said.

Doak said he always built courses with holes that" would be a wake-up call for the dear players. But I never want to build 18 holes that feel that way. "

Substantial tournaments have always been part of the Renaissance Club business plan. It helped organize the 2016 Boys Amateur Championship and followed one year later with the Scottish Senior Open. Last year it was one of the four locations for qualifying for the British Open Final.

"We value all history and tradition," Sarvadi said. "At the same time, we wanted to build something that would stand on its own."

With other Doak projects on winter gap "almost his entire team came over for several months," Sarvadi said … The course was opened in 2008.

Even then, Sarvadi and Doak knew it had greater potential. the north end of the building was a triangle of the site of the Honorable Company, enough to design three coastal holes, while at the same time the Honorable Company wanted area on the Sarvadi travellint that Muirfield overlooked, so a land exchange was arranged.

He said it took until 2011 before the environmental authorities gave permission to build the coastal holes. Those holes were built in the middle of the route, although they will play as No. 3-5 for an upside-down Scottish Open.

Two quaint par-3s bookend No. 4, a sweeping par-4 that bends along the edge of a cliff, lure golfers to bite off as much as they tighten a second shot to a green set. be able to set up the edge of the cliff.

As with any British event, it seems to be the biggest concern again. Sarvadi remembered Saturday from the British Open in 2002 in Muirfield, when a winter storm caused the temperatures and golfers tried to shelter on the course.

"It would be really bad luck if that happened," he said.

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