The 100th staging of the Scottish PGA Championship, which this week is being sponsored for the first time by leading logistics operator M&H Logistics, is being fittingly played on a course that has been restored to how it was 100 years ago.
The King’s Course at Gleneagles has been restored to its former glory following an extensive programme carried out on one of Scotland’s most iconic golf courses.
The work, which was overseen by Scott Fenwick, Gleneagles’ Golf Courses and Estate Manager, has reversed most of the changes that were made in the late 1980s.
“One of the things that has been really nice this year is that the members have been saying the King’s Course is as they remembered it from the 1980s and 1990s,” said Gary Silcock, Gleneagles’ Director of Golf.
“The biggest thing is that our fairways, cutting-wise, last year were 10 hectares and now they are 14 hectares. So you could say the fairways are 40 per cent wider. What that’s also done, and the first hole is a prime example, is move the bunkers on the left from the rough to the fairway.
“There’s a nice picture of Rory McIlroy from the Ryder Cup, when the first hole on the King’s Course was used for the driving range that shows what I am talking about very well. We’ve moved the fairway bunkers back into the fairway without actually moving the bunkers.”
The look of those bunkers is also back to how it was when the King’s Course famously hosted the very first match between British and American professionals in 1921 – an event that was the precursor to what became The Ryder Cup.
“When you look at the holes now, you get an eye line of sand from the strategic placing of the bunkers,” added Silcock. “It makes it more picturesque, improves definition and therefore makes the course more enticing.
“The journey with the greens probably started in 2010 but we’ve now got a good maintenance structure.
“This is the second year we’ve not hollow tined. We put on more sand probably than any other course in the country but what we do is use a solid tine to push it in then have smaller tines and within two days you don’t know we’ve worked on it.
“It doesn’t build up the layers so it helps drainage and if drainage works the grass is healthier and the greens become faster.”
Gleneagles has been the home of the Scottish PGA Championship since 1999, the event having been played on the King’s Course for the past seven years.
“How poignant that the 100th playing of the event will be on a course set up how it was 100 years ago by James Braid. The two go hand in hand,” said Silcock.
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