The Carrick on Loch Lomond is the first UK project for the Canadian architect : Doug Carrick and he sees it as a huge honour.
“This is tremendously exciting, being able to carry out a project in a country which is known as the home of golf,” says Doug. Who was recommended by Ken Siems the golf course superintendent at Loch Lomond Golf Course – a fellow Canadian. Although Doug had not met him through mutual friends and acquaintances he knew of his work.
“De Vere asked me to come over for an interview and they retained me for the project so I started the plans in 2002,” says Doug. Planning took two years to get through as the site has many sensitive features.
“A year into the process the whole area was designated as a national park, so a new agency was formed to deal with the application,” says Doug. “Needless to say, some of the planning requirements changed during that period of time.
“I prepared a design statement based on my early discussions with Craig Mitchell of De Vere. They wanted something different with more of a Scottish style and theme – rather than North American style. That set the tone for the course. It was vital the design reflected the heritage and character of Scottish golf.”
Traditional revetted bunkers are a main feature. Taking full advantage of the character of the site the course weaves through the various landscapes from lowlands by the Loch up to the highlands with panoramic views.
“Incorporating the gorse and heather you would typically find in the area was another key,” says Doug. “Some gorse was already on the site and we did further plantings. “While there is no heather on the site there is some on surrounding hillsides so we planted indigenous species on the course.”
Grasses selected for the course are a traditional blend of brown top bent and fine fescues on the fairways. Newer varieties of chewing fescues and slender creeping are also being used, together with a small percentage of velvet grass in the greens and tees. Special features of note are closely mown chipping areas around the green.
Some lagoons on the site had been created by former gravel and sand extraction, so to create the fourth hole a portion had to be filled in to run along the edge. With the golf course covering 180 acres a large proportion, nearly 100 acres, is designated a nature reserve for birds and otters.
“I guess you always take a few design traits with you from project to project but each plan is an opportunity to do something a little bit different,” says Doug. “Revetted bunkers are a different form of construction and the turf is slightly thicker. Doing rectangular tees is very traditional but I have certainly not used the grass species before.”
Doug has designed the Fontana Golf Course in Austria, just south of Vienna, and also a project just outside of Budapest – the Pannon Golf Course in Hungary – both of which were design collaborations with Hans Erhardt. In Canada Doug has created courses in Ontario, Newfoundland, and British Colombia. Scottish scenery, golf and nature have been combined to ensure The Carrick on Loch Lomond really sparkles.
The contractor MJ Abbott will complete the course in September 2005.