The acclaimed American course architect Tom Doak has been associated with some fantastic contemporary course designs around the world in recent years – think Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand, Barnbougle Dunes in Australia, Pacific Dunes in America – all of them very highly ranked in the World Top 100 rankings.
Now, with his first course design at the Home of Golf in East Lothian’s Archerfield Estate, next door to Muirfield, Doak has added another brilliant layout to an already outstanding portfolio with the opening of the Renaissance Club course in April 2008.
The 18 holes were carved out of around 300 acres of pine forest – developer Jerry Sarvadi told us there were over 8,500 tonnes of wood cleared – but the design retained a number of these trees in strategic fairway and greenside positions, adding both definition and a very pleasing aesthetic quality to the landscape.
The course has been built with tournament golf in mind and it can play as long as 7,426 yards, though normal member positions will be around the 6,250-yard mark. Par is 71, with only one par five on the front nine, the right doglegged 6th, which measures 601 yards from the championship tee.
The four holes that run from the 10th to the highest point on the course at the 13th are closest to the Firth of Forth, where the water sits some way below and beyond this ridge on the property – in time, this stretch may well constitute the feature holes on the course, with the stunningly photogenic 11th set to become the signature hole on the course.
Scotland has several high profile course opening later in 2008, including St Andrews (Castle), Machrihanish Dunes, Castle Stuart and Rowallan Castle and they are being eagerly anticipated. Simply stated, they will have to be of exceptional quality to match the new 18-hole layout at The Renaissance Club.