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As part of a multi-million pound project to create a world-class sporting estate at Taymouth Castle in Kenmore, Perthshire, the estate's James Braid designed golf course is being extensively renovated and re-modelled.
Golf course architects Weller Designs have been appointed to oversee the project, together with Scottish professional Stephen Gallacher. The work includes a significant re-routing of the course, two new holes close to the River Tay, nine new greens, 18 new tees, restoration of all bunkers and the lengthening of the course to just over 7,000-yards.
"In Braid's time, the bunkers would have been deep, but due to poor maintenance over many years, they had become flattened out and uninteresting," said Bruce Weller - head architect on the project. "To make the bunkers a feature of the course again, and to add definition to individual holes, we have created steep grass-faced bunkers, which are dramatic and integral to the course strategy." "In terms of the raised green complexes, Stephen Gallacher has played an active role in their remodeling. He was keen to have running approaches to force short-game skills to come into play. He also wanted to include slopes and swales around the greens, to test shot-making. The result will be very exciting." Set in the beautiful Perthshire countryside, Taymouth Castle has a long and interesting history. The ancestral home of the Earls of Breadalbane and the Campbell Clan since the 1550s it was visited by Queen Victoria in 1842 on her first visit to the Highlands. Staying at the castle inspired her to return to Scotland and to purchase Balmoral Castle in 1852. Fittingly, Taymouth Castle was used as a double for Balmoral in the 1996 film "Mrs Brown."
In 1922 Gavin Campbell, Marquis of Breadalbane was forced to sell the castle in the face of mounting debts caused by a reduction in the price of wool and the cost of new laws demanding an improvement in the living conditions of tenants. His situation was not aided by his wife's gambling!
Taymouth became a luxury retreat for the 1920s elite and James Braid designed a 12-hole course for the hotel. Six new holes were added in 1948 by which time the hotel had been requisitioned by the Government as a convalescence home for soldiers. It became a boarding school for the children of American servicemen in the 1970s but the castle then fell into disrepair in the 1990s.
Meteor Asset Management have taken up the reins and have already invested a considerable amount of money to restore the castle and its east wing. They plan to create a spa, restaurant and to build luxury villas around the golf course.
It's estimated that the new resort at Taymouth will generate 300 jobs and inject £30 million into the local economy.
Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and it was concentrated by his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?
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