COURSES & TRAVEL | Machrihanish Dunes Course Spotlight

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

On the opposite coast to the hype, controversy and awe-inspiring holes of Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire sits a very different model in modern golf course development. These contemporary Scottish links are both owned and were developed by Americans, but the manner in which the courses at Machrihanish Dunes and Trump International were created was markedly different. While the latter has generated enormous publicity – both positive and negative – before, during and since it was built, Machrihanish Dunes has followed a quieter path. Its owner not being a high-profile media figure who now happens to be President of the United States of America helps in this regard of course, but there are also differences outside the ownership’s profile. Mach Dunes, located on the mystical Mull of Kintyre made famous by Paul McCartney’s 1977 ballad, was also created in a highly sensitive environmental area. Here, the bywords during ‘construction’ – used here in the loosest sense of the word – were sensitivity and preservation.

“Mach Dunes was the most minimal build ever,” designer David McLay Kidd tells NCG. “Even Old Tom would have been impressed! “It took a mere six months to ‘build’ but I’d say it was more of an amendment to the existing land than a true build. The land is so sensitive that even driving heavy equipment over the ground in some places would damage the precious orchid bulbs just under the surface. What I did was start the golf course; time will slowly move it forward, as it does on all great links – the Old Course is still being tweaked after 600 years.”

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