Oceanside drama at Renaissance

Oceanside drama at Renaissance
By Toby Ingleton

Shaping of four new holes at the Renaissance Club at Archerfield in East Lothian, Scotland, is approaching completion.

Architect Tom Doak has recently completed a visit to oversee progress on a new routing that has been designed to include a stretch of coastline acquired from Muirfield shortly before the course’s original construction.

GCA visited the course recently to see work on the new holes, all but one of which are par threes. The exception is a spectacular waterside par four that will surely become the course's most memorable hole, thanks to its picturesque setting with views over the Firth of Forth and to Fidra island.

The clifftop landing area for the hole, which will become the course's tenth, was cleared of buckthorn earlier in the year to make way for shaping work, which must have been precarious as the left of the fairway falls directly over the cliff edge. The land acquired also includes sand dunes, but because of the area’s environmental sensitivity and the difficulty of working on this rugged landscape, they are being left untouched.

The new tenth hole will be between two new par threes, which have adjacent greens bisected by one of the tumbling stone walls that feature throughout the course. The ninth has an infinity-style green, which will give players their first view of the sea, and the eleventh will be a drop shot from the current thirteenth tee, but played in the opposite direction. The present thirteenth, now a par three, is being extended into a par four, and will be the new twelfth hole. A new fifteenth, also a par three, is being built behind the current fifteenth close to the site for the new clubhouse, bringing the routing back into step at the sixteenth, which is to be extended to a par five.

Shaping work is expected to be completed within the next few weeks. The new holes should be in play in 2013, in time for both the completion of the new clubhouse and the Open Championship's visit to neighbouring Muirfield.

The original routing of the course was created with the possible land acquisition in mind, with current holes one to three positioned so they could easily be taken out of play for the introduction of holes by the Firth. No decision has yet been announced on the future of this area, although the teeing area for the driving range is being extended and a new putting green is being built that will blend with the current fourth hole. That will now become the first, a very stern opening test to the course.

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