Irish architect Pat Ruddy has been hired by County Sligo Golf Club to carry out a renovation of its Rosses Point links.
Rosses Point, which hosts the West of Ireland Amateur championship every year, is the work of Harry Colt. “This is one of Harry Colt’s most important works and so my proposal is to seek to preserve his work while adding onto it in what I perceive to be an artistic and sporting manner,” Ruddy told GCA. “I have a particular feeling for Mr Colt having played a lot of my early golf at Rosses Point and then having lived for almost 40 years beside the second green of his lovely suburban course at Dun Laoghaire.”
The planned works encompass new championship tees and some alterations to a number of greens, as well as building an entirely new green for the par five third hole. “The third was variously a bogey four or five in the old days and is a par five today, but it is vulnerable to power hitters,” said Ruddy. “My proposal is to create a new green about 40 yards behind and slightly to left of the existing one, in delightful mild dunes ground. This will introduce more yardage and more risk for the second shot and is likely to do a fine job for a few generations to come.”
Colt’s putting surfaces will mostly not be altered, said Ruddy, though a number of greens will be extended to add more pin locations and additional difficulty where appropriate. “On the first, second, seventh and eighteenth holes, the plan is to extend the greens to the side,” said Ruddy. “On the fifth, tenth and eighteenth they are to be extended to the back. The idea is to preserve Mr Colt’s work while adding more green surface with traditionally devious contouring, pertinent bunkering and runoffs to add interest to the existing pin positions while raising the championship tempo considerably with the new sections.”
Ruddy said he hoped the alterations would not make the course more difficult for average players. “Care is being taken to ensure the comfort of the club golfer after the work is done as much consideration is given to playability for all,” he told GCA. “The new tees, for example, are all championship tees. The changes around the greens will, of course, be for all players but there will be wider choices now between championship and everyday pin positions. The changes to the tees are not just about added yardage alone but very much about adding shot values by moving the drives from straight away bashes to slightly angled approaches to the target zones.
“The new tees are designed, also, to restore some of Mr Colt’s marvellous challenges to play. A prime example of this is the terraced fairway on the lovely tenth hole. Players are nowadays over-flying this terrace and landing their drives down in front of the green. A new tee here will, in certain weather conditions, bring the ledge back into play and I just know that any golfer of soul will relish this.”
“I am hopeful that Mr Colt will be approving of my work and that we will coexist harmoniously as I will not be asking him even to move over in the bed,” Ruddy concluded. “I will just fit in alongside!” The expectation is to start work in August and have some elements in play for the West of Ireland next Easter.