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E-I-E-I O and the name game in Scotland

So the worst kept secret in golf is out: Tom Doak will get the opportunity to design the fourth course at Bandon Dunes, Mike Keiser’s remarkable golf resort in Oregon. Doak created the second course at the facility, Pacific Dunes, which has gone on to become considered one of the best modern golf courses in the world.

Interesting notes on the course in a story from ESPN. Apparently the course will be an homage to CB Macdonald, the legendary pioneer course designer in the U.S. who created National Golf Links in Long Island.

Like Pacific Dunes, ranked No. 22 among Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses, the newcomer will be designed by Tom Doak. He will get an assist from frequent partner Jim Urbina and an as-yet-unspecified group of “trusted golf architecture aficionados,” according to the resort.

Not sure what “golf architecture aficionados” means. Does that mean the GCA crew are working as consultants?

Writer’s note: Apparently it does. I found this quote in an article by the aptly named “The World” newspaper in Coos Bay, Oregon:

A panel of other noted architects, including George Bahto, an expert on MacDonald, will work with Doak and Urbina on the project. Bahto is the author of “The Evangelist of Golf,” a book about MacDonald’s life.

The article also has a great quote from Bandon owner Mike Keiser:

“I think I’m not employing Doak and Urbina as architects,” Keiser said. “I’m employing them to design as C.B. MacDonald and Seth Raynor, his apprentice and successor, would build it if they were alive today.”

Now back to our program…

Though the designers won’t aim to replicate famous holes, guests who have played Macdonald courses such as National, Yale GC and Chicago GC may experience some déjà vu. “You might expect to see as many of Macdonald’s famous design elements [Alps, Redan, Biarritz, etc.] as the site will allow,” says Matt Allen, Bandon’s operations manager.

Doak and Co. will have about 400 acres to work with, some of it overlooking the Pacific coast. The new course’s routing is unfinished, says Josh Lesnick, president of Kemper Sports Management, which oversees Bandon. The resort also intends to build 50 to 75 new guest rooms, bringing its total number of rooms to about 300.

Not so sure about the name of the new course: Old Macdonald. I’m sorry, but the song is already in my head…. The story can be found here.

As for names, there’s an interesting story in the Scotsman about the name for the seventh course that will open in 2008, this one designed by David McLay Kidd. According to one story:

The St Andrews Links Trust is inviting golf fans to email in their suggestions for the title of the seventh course to be built in the east of Scotland seaside town.

Oh good, a contest. I love a healthy competition. Please continue…

The competition winners will be invited to play one of the first rounds on the new course when it opens in 2008 and attend the official opening ceremony alongside golfing dignitaries.

The development, currently known as “Course Number Seven”, is under construction on a 220-acre cliff-top site overlooking the North Sea.

I actually think “No. 7” is as good a name as any…

“The anticipation for what will be one of the finest courses not only in Scotland but in world golf has been building steadily and the mystery over its name seems to have captured the minds of golf fans everywhere,” said Alan McGregor, the Trust’s general manager.

“It is not very often that a new course opens at the Home of Golf and we have been acutely aware of the interest that Course Number Seven has been attracting.

“We know that many golfers feel an emotional attachment to the birthplace of the game and we really wanted them to have the opportunity to become a part of the process of naming this new course.

“We have already received dozens of enquiries regarding the name from all corners of the globe and this competition promises to be fascinating.

“I would urge anyone who would like to be part of golf history to send in their suggestion.”

So get your pen and paper ready, ladies and gents, and start writing.

Interestingly, I think Oviinbyrd is my favourite name for a Canadian course in recent times, though Cabot Links is good too. The strangest name? Frog’s Breath, the name of lumber baron Peter Grant’s northern Ontario retreat designed by Doug Carrick.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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