Old Links offers new challenges


Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Nick Faldo has opened the Old Links course at Ballyliffin Golf Club in County Donegal, after it was renovated by his design company, Faldo Design. Faldo said that when he first visited Ballyliffin over ten years ago, he had only intended to play the front nine. "I enjoyed it so much that I just had to stay for the full eighteen," he said.

"We have completely revised the course's bunkering and added a variety of strategic challenges," Faldo said. "I also believe we have succeeded in emphasising the natural beauty that this course has always had in abundance." The renovation includes several new oceanside tees, which better emphasise the natural beauty of the area. The renovation of the front nine holes in 2005, was well received by members and visitors.With the completion of the back nine, the club is confident that the course now sits comfortably amongst the very best Irish links courses, and is well positioned to help it realise its ambition of hosting further European Tour events. Together with its sister Glashedy Links, Ballyliffin now has what it believes is an unrivalled 36 hole championship links complex.

The Faldo team is also busy on other projects in Ireland, including Lough Erne in County Fermanagh. Currently under construction by S.O.L. Golf, the routing meanders through diverse terrain and includes 14 lakeside holes on the shores of Castle Hume Lake and Lower Lough Erne. Faldo said: "I'm confident that this project will produce one of Europe's – indeed one of the world's – most visually stunning courses. I am struck by the sheer beauty of these surroundings every time I step onto a site and this is such an inspiring place to work".

Completion is expected by early 2008.

Construction work at Ledreborg Palace in Denmark is also fairly advanced, where the design has required particularly sensitive attention to environmental and ecological considerations. "We have had to avoid infringing upon ancient hedgerows, ponds and forestland, and, in particular, earth movement has been kept to an absolute minimum," said Faldo. "This has made for a challenging but very interesting process of work, where the routing has been influenced by the precise topography of the site. This is exactly how I imagine design practice would have been implemented on the very earliest golf courses."