New course plan for Scottish island

A view of the planned eighth, ninth and tenth holes from the first fairway

Australian architect Bob Harrison is to build a new golf course on a seafront site on the island of Jura in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland.

The course will be build as part of the 14,000 acre Ardfin Estate at the south of the island. Ardfin was sold in 2010 to London-based Australian hedge fund manager Greg Coffey, nicknamed the 'Wizard of Oz' for the performance of his funds, for an estimated £3.5 million. Coffey's net worth was estimated at US$743 million in 2011. Most of Jura's 190 inhabitants live on land owned by the estate. As well as the golf course, Coffey's plans include the renovation of a farm steading and other properties on the estate, with the aim of encouraging more shooting tourists.

Harrison, a 30 year veteran of the golf industry, said the site was “the most beautiful I have ever seen. Nothing I've seen anywhere in the world competes with the sheer beauty of the Jura site. I love Scotland in general and, by a pleasant coincidence, had been a devoted fan of the Machrie course on nearby Islay for many years. Jura has become my favourite place on earth."

Plans call for the course to be built on the site of the former Ardfin Farm, which is no longer in agricultural use. The routing will be arranged in two loops along the edge of a series of elevated bluffs. Harrison says his holes are designed to cause minimal disturbance to the coastal landscape, and will be 'dropped' onto existing fields, and constructed without substantially modifying the form of the land.

“We aim to preserve all the existing burns that cross the fields, and the large areas of sensitive wilderness, such as wetlands, even where they lie within the playing areas of individual golf holes,” he added. “Ancient stone walls on the site will be incorporated into the design, while new walls along with the beautiful cliffs will dictate the strategy for many holes by asking players to choose a brave line if they hope to reach a short par four or gain a better angle of approach.”

The development team plan to use grasses that resemble the current pasture grasses used for farming and, like traditional old Scottish courses, to have no irrigation, even on the greens – also the case at the nearby Machrie.

Because there are no new buildings planned and minimal earthworks required to construct the golf course, the project is believed to have the support of the vast majority of Jura residents. Developers are in the middle of a three month consultation period, and hope to win planning consent from the Argyll and Bute district council later in the year.

View a gallery of pictures of the Jura site.

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