Work has begun at the K Club on the North Course in ensuring that the course will be at its most challenging when it plays host to Ryder Cup 2006. Whilst the European team has still to face the US on American soil this year, serious work has been going on at the K Club in preparation for the event’s first-ever visit to Ireland in September 2006.
The first phase of the enhancement programme for Ryder Cup 2006 has focused on the par 3 third hole and the par 5 seventh hole, one of the signature holes on the course. As has been the case during the Smurfit European Open in recent years the third and the seventh holes will actually be the twelfth and the sixteenth holes when the Ryder Cup is played at the K Club.
The programme of change has the imprimatur of the course architect, Arnold Palmer, who first suggested the changes to the third during one of his visits for the construction of the South Course and the main contractor is Fanning Golf of Dublin. Water is central to both changes not least on the third where the “beach” bunker to the left of the green is no more. In its place the lake has been extended to cut into the green, the green itself being reduced to offer even more difficult pin positions. Part of the putting surface juts out into the water – a definite Ryder Cup pin position.
For good measure a new bunker has been built to the rear of the green. 10,000 cubic metres of earth are moved in the excavation of the lake and this earth was used to create mounding around the green. Just beyond the third green a new championship tee has been constructed on the fourth hole with the lake on the left now visible off the tee. The trees on the right will force players to think a great deal more about the shape of their tee shots.
The green on the seventh hole, which sits on the other side of the Liffey, has been more than doubled in size from 400 square yards to 1,000 square yards. The long and narrow green measures 53 yards from front to back. A number of trees have also been relocated from this area to the South Course, which allows more natural light onto the green’s surface. The changes in the hole will encourage players to go for the green in two. The restructured green now offers a number of new pin positions.
Speaking about the changes the director of golf, Paul Crowe, said that it was important to get the work done well in advance for the Ryder Cup. “With the Smurfit European Open being changed over to the South Course it will give the new holes every chance to settle down. Work which was recently completed has been so successful that the new greens are already in play.”
K Club www.kclub.ie
Palmer Course Design www.palmerdesign.com
Fanning Golf www.fanninggolf.com