Turnberry work leads busy time for M&E


Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

British design firm Mackenzie and Ebert is starting 2007 with a busy roster of new projects and renovations. In particular, Martin Ebert has started work on some extensive renovations to Turnberry's Ailsa course in preparation for the return of the Open Championship in 2009 and the Amateur the year before.

A new tee, right on the cliff edge, is being added to the tenth hole, and the fairway moved towards the sea, making the famous clifftop run around the turn even more spectacular. But the biggest changes are to be made towards the finish.

The sixteenth hole, 'Wee Burn,' is to have an entirely new fairway. By moving the fairway some 40 metres left, thus creating a significant dogleg, room will be opened up to lengthen the seventeenth by some 50 metres. A dunescape will be built at the inside of the new dogleg.

Ebert's partner Tom Mackenzie, meanwhile, has been working on the design for a new course on the Caribbean island of Grenada. Developer Robin Peterson plans a resort featuring a Four Seasons hotel and around 250 villa sites – a huge project for an island with a population of only 90,000. "We are trying to get the overlap between housing and golf to be as unintrusive as possible," says Mackenzie. "The site is really attractive, with lots of ocean frontage and some sections that are very steep and pointy.

The soil is very heavy, though, so one of the key technical challenges will be to produce a course that can be kept dry, especially during the rainy season." Construction is expected to start during 2007.