Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Rowallan Castle project at Kilmaurs near Kilmarnock

First Monty-designed course in Scotland opens to the public

By Martin Dempster
There was no blaze of publicity and the man himself wasn't there to witness the occasion but the first course to be designed in Scotland by Colin Montgomerie is now open to the public.
The "official opening" of Rowallan Castle, close to where Montgomerie grew up in Troon, was revealed in a press release issued yesterday but a spokesman for Rowallan Castle said an official grand opening next month is in the final stages of preparation, when Europe's Ryder Cup captain will be there to show off the latest addition to his design portfolio.
The £55 million project was launched in 2005, when Montgomerie and Niall Campbell, the owner and managing director, jointly hosted a press briefing within the historic Rowallan Castle and shared their enthusiasm about what was being created just off the M77 at Kilmaurs, near Kilmarnock.
Following a "soft opening" last August for some limited play over a three-month period, the course is fully operational and Montgomerie, who is in Turin this week for the BMW Italian Open, is pleased to hear that.
"I am absolutely delighted that golfers will now have the opportunity to play the first golf course I have designed in my homeland," said the eight-time European No 1. "It is certainly a very proud day for me and another high point in what is proving to be a very exciting year."
Campbell said: "I couldn't be more pleased with the way the golf course and the clubhouse are shaping up. I truly believe that we have a totally unique set up, with a championship standard course and a clubhouse that is quirky, fun and incredibly comfortable and welcoming."
While Campbell's initial plan was to have a debenture scheme, that has now been scrapped and instead it will operate similar to most golf clubs in Scotland as a private members' club. The joining fee and annual subscription are both believed to be comparable to a lot of the leading clubs in other parts of Ayrshire.
According to the spokesman, it already has a "healthy membership" and a recruitment drive is about to be launched now the course has been opened.
"We are looking for both individual and corporate members while there will also be a limited 'pay and play' for prospective members," he added.
Montgomerie has created the course in association with European Golf Design. The Scot has designed more than a dozen courses around the world, including Carton House outside Dublin, the Royal Golf Club at Riffa Views, Bahrain, The Montgomerie in Dubai, Papillon Golf Club in Turkey and the recently opened Montgomerie Links in Vietnam.
+The above article appears in The Scotsman newspaper today.



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