A historic Perthshire golf course that has seen scores of celebrities including the late Bing Crosby, Sir Sean Connery and Sir Jackie Stewart grace its fairways, is to undergo a programme of improvements.
The James Braid-designed King’s Course at Gleneagles, which is due to celebrate its 100th birthday in 2019, will see a range of work undertaken through the winter.
The golf course, which opened to the public in 1919, is widely regarded as a masterpiece in golf course design and one of James Braid’s finest in-land projects.
Part of the work will include the reinstatement of some original design features.
They include re-aligning selected fairways to return them to Braid’s design, bringing several bunkers back into play, and reinstating heather stands around the course.
The installation of the latest bunker drainage and lining technology, as well as an extensive aeration and sanding programme, will be undertaken.
Scott Fenwick, Gleneagles golf courses and estate manager, said the aim was to return the King’s Course “closer” to Braid’s original vision.
He said: “We’ll widen the approaches to some of the green complexes to enable traditional pitch and run shots to be played, reintroduce tighter mown turf on green surrounds and reshape the bunkers and raise the sand lines.
“All of this should make for a more authentic playing experience.”
He continued: “Back when Braid was building the course, he had to rely on hand mowers and earth scrapers pulled by horses.
“Thankfully technology has moved on a lot since then and we have a team of 52 green-keepers to call on, as well as contractors with the latest equipment, to help us make these changes quickly before the season gets under way.”
Gary Silcock, director of golf at Gleneagles, added: “These developments form another strand of our ongoing multimillion-pound investment programme in Gleneagles’ golf courses, and will complement the investment we’ve made in recent years on the King’s Course’s fairway and green drainage systems.”
“As the improvements are beginning to take shape, we’ve found the greens have firmed up.
“We’re particularly proud that even the exceptional weather last summer, which was the wettest on record for the area, made little dent on play with the King’s Course remaining open for all but two hours.
“Now we’re working on the approaches to the greens and utilising the latest technology installing new drains and a capillary concrete liner in all of the bunkers to help us present the course in the best possible condition throughout the year in all weather conditions. “
The King’s Course has seen many legends of golf play on its fairways.
In 1921, the King’s Course was the venue for the first official match between a team of US and British professionals, regarded by many as the precursor to the Ryder Cup.
Over the decades, the course has played host to countless notable events, from the BBC Celebrity Pro-Am series of the 1970s to the Bells Scottish Open and the McDonalds WPGA Championship of Europe.