One of Scotland’s top golf hotels has unveiled a series of key on and off-course improvements ahead of hosting a senior tournament. The latest phase of projects at Meldrum House Country Hotel in Aberdeenshire has been completed ahead of the 54-hole strokeplay Aberdeen Masters and a planned multi-million pound expansion that will add a further 28 bedrooms and an impressive ballroom at the resort.
The latest round of upgrades includes significant changes to a series of holes on the championship course, which previously hosted the Northern Open. Inside the clubhouse, a new-look proshop has also been revealed signalling a continued commitment to the resort’s development plans.
“The transformation of Meldrum House is ongoing, but we have already created one of Scotland’s top golf resorts which is a great achievement,” said Andy Burgess, the hotel’s chief executive. “To stay at this level, we must maintain the momentum we have established and that means making investments both on and off the course.”
He continued: “The course changes unveiled today are designed to improve playability while retaining the top-level golfing experience our championship course presents. It’s a balancing act, but the improvements have been warmly received by members and visitors alike. Equally, the changes to the proshop may be more apparent but they also follow the same objectives of continuing the upward trajectory and maintaining the momentum at the resort.”
Named AA Hotel of the Year for Scotland in 2014, Meldrum has already gone through an extensive four-year renovation programme which has received widespread praise and industry plaudits. Golf guests and visitors to the four-star resort will see these latest changes as soon as they enter the revamped proshop with its reconfigured layout and new display areas.
Paul Sanders, design director at retail designers and store fitters Millerbrown Golf, says the new look has been designed to complement the standard of service and accommodation at the hotel. “The proshop now reflects the quality of what goes on at Meldrum House,” he explained. “It’s a stunning hotel in a stunning location and now it has a proshop to match. The ambience of the new shop is very much in keeping with the hotel and its position in the market. People have expectations when they arrive and now the proshop meets them.”
On the course, changes to holes six, seven and eight have removed lost ball areas where scrub and thick rough limited players’ options. While this element of the on-course redesign is subtle, the changes to the penultimate hole are anything but. With Meldrum’s picturesque pond seeing a significant change as well as a new fairway that is 35 yards wider, the short par 4 17th has become a true risk-and-reward hole. It is also in keeping with the general ethos of continual improvement adopted by the resort as a whole.
“To keep things moving in the right direction, the directors were keen to show that it’s not just the hotel that is looked at every year but also the golf course,” said Kenneth Harper, Meldrum’s golf course and estate grounds manager. “The work on 17 makes a big difference and not just from a playability point of view. It looks like a better hole now with the pond shaped in and the fairway right in front of you to have a pop at. Six, seven and eight are also good changes that suit the holes. The shapes have been looked at carefully so they look as if they’ve been there forever. It’s all part of a much bigger plan that is being received very positively.”
The £50,000 investment in on-course improvements was implemented during the winter months ahead of the start of the season. It included diverting waterways, installing new drains, building a new ladies’ tee and laying 7,000 metres of turf. As Burgess explains, the new proshop and course design are essential to the development of the resort. “We have a very clear plan for Meldrum which involves taking it from being a very special Scottish country house into a prestigious venue and world-class resort,” he said. “These latest changes mark an important stage in the road towards that goal and yet another milestone in the development of this resort.”
Meldrum House Country Hotel and Golf Course www.meldrumhouse.com
Aberdeen Masters www.senior-golf-circuit.com/events/aberdeen-masters