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COURSE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

Tom Mackenzie of McKenzie and Ebert...

....made an excellent presentation to members on 20 April 2017. His appreciation of the course and his enthusiasm to see our rich heritage maintained and enhanced was easy to see in the text of his report, available here and in hard copy at the club. He wrote “On a sunny day, Mortonhall is a spectacular place to play golf. The variety of views that unfold throughout the round are as good as any. They lift the spirits as much as some of the hills lift the heart rate. They have been a key factor in the success of the Club over the years. Golfers love to play in beautiful places, especially the majority for whom the game is more about exercise and company rather than competition……

The Club is rightly proud of its course but it recognises that its bunkering needed to be addressed. Bunkers are one of many elements that make up all courses. The challenge that is posed to the players is a combination of the bunkering and all of the other factors such as the weather, the terrain, trees and rough”

Ian McKerrow (the then Green Convener) noted in Mortonhall’s 2017 Annual Report…

“[The M&E report] was very well-received and allayed the fears of even the biggest sceptics. He pointed out that the positioning of many of the bunkers has been rendered irrelevant by modern golf technology. Although this started out being considered as a ‘bunker’ project, it was clear from Tom’s presentation that it could more accurately be termed a course improvement project. The report he produced is very thorough and in it he pays full respect to the historical design of the course”

Where are We Now

The tender for course improvement works went out in March 2018 and after due process Golflink was chosen as our preferred contractor. Council agreed the recommendation to proceed with Golflink and approved the expenditure at a Special Council Meeting on 30th April of that year. Although Golflink was a new company it has a very good pedigree, with an excellent work force, well known and respected in the industry. Their work started in mid-September 2018. Holes 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 16, 17 and 18 plus some work on a green side bunker on 15 was completed by the end of November 2018 and that by the following March the full course was back in play.

The course remained open throughout the renovation work, although adjustments to some holes took place to allow the work to proceed. The green staff worked very closely with the contractor and were excited by their involvement. They were responsible for filling in the redundant bunkers away from the contractor’s working area, with re-laying of turf surrounds and in putting the Capillary Concrete lining into the bunkers.

Work began again in September 2019 with the remaining 22 bunkers to be completed. The same excellent contractors were used, and the same rapport was established between them and the Green keepers. A more challenging time was had, weather wise. Unexpected amounts of rain and storms took its toll on the course. However the work has been completed on time and under budget. You can look elsewhere in this section to see the progress that was made

Key Objectives of the Project

Building on the report the Course Improvement Project (CIP) intended to modernise the course layout and maintain a strong but fair challenge for all levels of play. A major design tenet was to rationalise the number of bunkers from 59 to 44 ensuring that bunkers are consistent in style, high quality, visually attractive and in keeping with Mortonhall heritage. This work ensured that bunkers better influence play, giving both high and low handicappers a more exciting game. We have developed and utilized the knowledge and experience of our own staff, whilst have built a good relationship with external experts and contractors. Costs were managed to the agreed budget, the Project deliverd within a 2 year timetable and that disruption to members was kept to a minimum.

A MUST FOR ANY KEEN GOLFER

The club has hosted the Scottish Amateur Stroke Play, Scottish Youth Tournaments and  in 2017 the Scottish Girls Under 16’s. Only 3 miles from the West End of Princes Street, Mortonhall Golf Course is a must for any keen golfer visiting the historic City of Edinburgh and offers some of the best golf in Scotland. We welcome visitors to our course and to use our superb clubhouse throughout the week.