Carnoustie Golf Links begins preparation for 2018 Open

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    The fifth tee on the Carnoustie Championship course

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    Carnoustie has been a Hunter customer for 15 years

Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Carnoustie Golf Links is beginning to make preparations and plan its next hosting of The Open, which will once again visit the Scottish club in 2018.

Located in Angus, Scotland, Carnoustie Golf Links is home to three courses. The Championship Course has hosted seven Open Championships in its time and will host the event again in 2018. The club is also home to The Burnside and Buddon courses.

“The Open is the ultimate event to have on your golf course, and from a greenkeepers point of view it’s the pinnacle,” the club’s links superintendent Sandy Reid told GCA. “It means a huge amount to us at Carnoustie.”

Reid explained that the team at Carnoustie are regularly making minor changes to the courses to ensure it is to the highest standards.

“In recent times we’ve created some new spectator mounding, and we’ve replaced some of the poorer grasses in the rough with fescue,” Reid says. “There’s been a couple of relatively minor tee alterations, but a lot of the work we do is to try and enhance the spectator experience, without trying to make it look like a stadium course.”

Plans are currently in place to build a new practice tee this year ahead of the Open, on which is currently an area of land occupied by the first and eighteenth holes on the Buddon Course. Architect Martin Ebert will work with the club on this project.

The club has been a Hunter Industries customer for some 15 years, and have used Hunter sprinklers since 2001. The club has also recently upgraded its rotors to the Hunter G885 model.

“We’ve also moved to the new Hunter pilot system so that the reporting mechanism would be better, and we’d have more idea of what works and what didn’t,” Reid explains. “This was with the aim of making it easier to make water savings, run the system more efficiently, within a given timescale that we have. In Scotland, there’s more light, so you’re opening your course first thing in the morning and closing it last thing at night, so your water window is relatively small. So we were keen to make sure we had a system in place that made sure we had the most efficient use of the irrigation system.”

The club last hosted The Open in 2007, which was by Reid’s admission a wet event with the course suffering from a high water table.

“Since then we’ve raised a lot of areas as in fairway areas and some bunkers, to get away from water during wet periods,” Reid says. “Landing areas on the seventh, ninth, eleventh, seventeenth and eighteenth holes of the Championship Course all been raised.”

Reid says a lot of turf replacement has been carried out on the course, which has been aided by Hunter products.

“We had a few artificial turf paths in very heavily trafficked walkoffs and carrys, but we’ve been able to convert them back to turf using species of Dwarf Ryegrass to help, as well as some of the Hunter MP Rotator sprinklers,” Reid says. “They have such a narrow throw that we’re able to maintain grass cover on these walkways from tee to fairway, on the back of being able to install irrigation, that just covers a walkway that might be five or six yards wide, but without soaking everything else around it.”

Carnoustie Golf Links will host this year’s Senior Open Championship from 21-24 July, while the 2018 Open will take place from 19-22 July 2018.