With the R&A having confirmed Royal Portrush as host course of The Open Championship in 2019, Golf Course Architecture spoke to Martin Ebert of Mackenzie & Ebert about the work he and his team are carrying out at the Northern Ireland club in preparation for the event.
Royal Portrush is home to two courses designed by Harry Colt, the Dunluce Links – upon which the Open will be competed – and the Valley Links.
During the Open, the site of the existing holes 17 and 18 on the Dunluce Links course will accommodate the spectator village. As such, Ebert has been brought in to develop two new holes for the course, which will become the seventh and eighth. He will also oversee a number of alterations to existing holes on the course.
“It’s been a busy couple of days, but it’s been great to be at Royal Portrush and be around the club when such historic announcements are being made,” Ebert said.
“The work is progressing well, and we’re hopeful that the changes to the green on the second hole will be completed within the next two weeks,” he explained. “We’re also working to finish the reshaping work on the eighth green – which is, of course, not a Harry Colt green.”
“Preparatory work has been ongoing with the two new holes for the Dunluce Links course, and we can now begin to turn our full attention to these,” Ebert added. “We’re hopeful that these will be completed by the new year.”
The two new holes are to be located on land that currently forms part of the Valley Course. Ebert has designed three new holes for the Valley Course to bring that course back up to its full complement. He confirmed that the work on these holes is nearing completion.
A video outlining the plans for the course can be viewed below: