Dundonald Links, in North Ayrshire, Scotland, will host the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open for the first time in 2017.
Located near the town of Irvine, Dundonald Links – which is undergoing major renovation works – will follow on from Castle Stuart Golf Links, the host venue for the 34th edition of Scotland’s national Open from July 7-10, 2016.
The stunning 7,100-yard, par 72 layout was designed by the highly-acclaimed golf course architect Kyle Phillips, whose creations also include Kingsbarns, one of the three venues for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, and The Grove, which will host the British Masters supported by Sky Sports for the first time this year.
Since being acquired by Loch Lomond Golf Club in February 2003, Dundonald Links has played host to numerous professional and amateur tournaments, including the European Tour Qualifying School First Stage, a qualifier for the Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex and, most recently, the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, which returns to Dundonald Links this year.
After hosting the 2015 Ladies Scottish Open, which featured World Number One Lydia Ko and Solheim Cup player Suzann Pettersen, the club’s owners devised plans for a structural overhaul which included the construction of a new clubhouse, scheduled for completion at the end of 2016.
On the course itself, under the guidance of Kyle Phillips, several of the greens have been increased in size and three of the putting surfaces have been levelled in selected areas to soften their contours, thereby providing organisers with more options when setting up for tournament play.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: “We are delighted to announce that the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open will be staged at Dundonald Links in 2017. Following this year’s tournament at Castle Stuart in the north, this will ensure that Scotland’s national Open is showcased as widely as possible across the country.
“Special thanks goes to our two partners in the Scottish Open – the title sponsors Aberdeen Asset Management, and the Scottish Government – whose joint vision and commitment to improve and expand this great tournament has enabled us to make this announcement today.
“We also extend our gratitude to everyone at Dundonald Links for the work they have done at the golf club, and the work that they continue to do. I know all our Members will look forward to the challenge the course will present to them next July.”
Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, said: “Since becoming title sponsors of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in 2012, it has been our ambition to complete the geographical spread of the tournament by taking it to Scotland’s west coast following successful events at Castle Stuart, Royal Aberdeen and Gullane. We are therefore delighted with today’s announcement confirming the stunning Dundonald Links as the host venue in 2017.”
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, which manages the Scottish Government’s investment in the event, said: “Scotland is the Home of Golf, and as such is fortunate to have an abundance of world-class golfing venues the length and breadth of the country.
“I am delighted that Dundonald Links, one of the outstanding courses on the west coast, will host the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in 2017 and continue the commitment of rotating the event around the country.”
Bill Donald, General Manager of Loch Lomond Golf Club and Dundonald Links, said: “The course changes will enhance what was already a fantastic spectator experience, with natural amphitheatres surrounding many of the holes.
“Crowds of ten thousand turned up for the Ladies Scottish Open last year, and we’re hoping for more of the same this year. Broadcasters around the world will be covering the final day of the tournament live, and I am sure that anyone who tunes in will be impressed with what they see.
“It will also give us a bit of a dry run ahead of hosting the Scottish Open next year, and that is a great opportunity which many host venues don’t get. So we’ll be more than ready by the time the Scottish Open comes around.”
Councillor Willie Gibson, Leader of North Ayrshire Council, said: “North Ayrshire Council is delighted to welcome the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open to Dundonald Links in 2017.
“This part of Scotland is fortunate to have so many championship golf courses capable of staging top-class events, including the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open which, last year, attracted tens of thousands of spectators. The Council, through our ‘Team North Ayrshire’ approach, has worked with our partners to bring this prestigious event here, and we look forward to delivering a first-class tournament for everyone to enjoy.”
For 15 successive seasons, from 1996-2010, the Scottish Open was held at Loch Lomond Golf Club, the owners of Dundonald Links. During that time, Thomas Bjørn (1996), Lee Westwood (1998), Colin Montgomerie (1999), Ernie Els (2000 and 2003), Retief Goosen (2001), Graeme McDowell (2008) and Martin Kaymer (2009) all lifted the trophy.