Three-time Tour winner Russell Knox has praised the course improvements at Nairn Dunbar as the Scottish club celebrates the arrival of 80 new members since golf’s return.
The renowned championship venue has recently undergone a series of renovations to promote a true links experience at the Highland layout. As the club looks forward to co-hosting The Amateur Championship in June next year, it has worked hard to improve and upgrade the course to keep pace with the expectations of members and visitors at great value for money.
After receiving consistent feedback that holes 9, 10 and 11 had a more parkland feel, the club put a restoration plan in place to unveil as much of the natural dune systems and undulations as possible.
Through sustainable management under the leadership of course manager Richard Johnstone, the club’s greenstaff have worked hard on producing more firm and fast greens for links golf and undertaken a rough, gorse and tree management programme.
With the club promoting its assets and offering new membership offers, such as a Lifestyle category, it has welcomed 80 new members since May as golf continues to enjoy a post-lockdown boom during the COVID-19 pandemic.
US-based Knox has watched on with pride, given the Scot is an honorary member at the cub and developed his game on the links as a junior. He said: “I’ve actually bumped into Richard [Johnstone] a few times over the last few years, as he has come over to the US to volunteer at some of the Majors. So I’ve got to chat to him a little bit and I follow him on Facebook.
“I see the pictures posted and updates on the new holes – it looks amazing. I guess holes 9, 10 and 11 probably did stick out a little bit, they weren’t really anything like the rest of the course, so if they are now a little more ‘linksy’ and more natural to the land there, that is only going to make the course better. Good on him for getting on with that. I would love to go back and play the course again.”
Knox, a former junior captain at Nairn Dunbar and three-time club champion from 2002, last played the course in 2018 when he travelled over to compete in the Scottish Open at Gullane.
The 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open winner, who also has a junior open at Inverness and Nairn Dunbar named in his honour, added: “It’s been a long time since I’ve been back and obviously the changes to those holes weren’t in place. By following and talking to Richard, he has done a lot to the golf course. It has totally changed since I played it all the time, with different bunkers and just the condition of the course looks phenomenal in pictures I’ve seen online. It’s just a great course.
“Playing there in so many different conditions and tournaments was fantastic. I’ve played hundreds of rounds there. My upbringing, getting to play Nairn Dunbar, winning the junior tournaments, winning the club championship, the 5-Day Open; I mean those were the reasons why I’m here where I am now.”
New members are now enjoying the experiences Knox previously enjoyed. With golf one of the first sports to emerge from lockdown and Nairn Dunbar offering excellent offers, the club has been delighted to welcome new faces – including 30 new Introductory members.