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Jul 11, 2013 | 10:34 AM

Carne Expands

In a sure sign the Celtic Tiger may be purring again, the long-awaited third nine at Carne Golf Links in Co. Mayo, Ireland, debuts this month, marking the nation’s first significant new-build since the 2008 financial meltdown. The Kilmore nine, as it’s called, will circulate players through the largest dunes on the remote 280-acre property. The new holes, first suggested by original designer Eddie Hackett shortly before his death in 1996, were mapped out by American designer and devoted Carne fan Jim Engh in 2004. His plan was adopted in part by Irish architect Ally McIntosh, who was hired by the club to produce the final design. Like the core 18 (that's the 8th hole, above), the new holes were built on a shoestring budget, with a small local workforce overseeing the low impact construction. With its mountainous sand hills and wild, woolly challenges, Carne could host a future Irish Open if the organizers were ever stuck for a genuine links course with great Atlantic views and loads of charm and character.

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Jul 10, 2013 | 11:35 AM

Narrow Minded?

Last week’s European Tour winner, Graeme McDowell, has ruffled some featheries with his comments about this week’s Scottish Open host, Castle Stuart, widely regarded as one of the best new links courses and No. 69 on the LINKS100 World list. “The Scottish Open has lost its identity and its prestige,” he said. “Castle Stuart probably has not been a strong enough golf course. Let’s see them get the Scottish Open on a phenomenal links golf course with a great purse and get a world-class field back. We need to be capitalizing a little harder on the week before and after the Open. I feel bad singling out the Scottish Open, because I used to love it at Loch Lomond. It was a phenomenal tournament. Taking it to Castle Stuart was designed to get it on a links course the week before the Open and it’s a beautiful venue—but it is probably a little too wide open off the tee and a little one-dimensional. But Royal Aberdeen next year is a venue which attracts me. I’ve heard great things about it and it could re-light the event.” Translation: GMac likes tight courses that favor shorter, more accurate drivers like him, but in actuality narrow fairways are one-dimensional, not wider ones with options off the tee for different playing angles. Normally, GMac is a class act so we’ll give him a pass on this one. By the way, you can judge for yourself this weekend on NBC as the Peacock will provide network coverage—a first for a European Tour event.

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Jul 09, 2013 | 08:50 AM

Highlands Fling

Now here’s a kid who knows how to work the system. Not since Tom Doak conned Cornell University into sending him to St. Andrews for a year has a student/golf nut parlayed his passion as effectively as Cormack Wade, a 25-year-old PhD student who just landed an $80,000 grant to study the history of golf in Dornoch, Scotland. It seems 2016 will mark 400 years since the game was first recorded in the Highlands town, and the locals want to celebrate by delving a bit more deeply into their golf heritage. So they’ve invited young Cormack to come and live in Dornoch for three years, sift through the local archives, and report his findings. The project—announced today in conjunction with the Scottish Open at nearby Castle Stuart—has the hearty endorsement of the Scottish government and the tab is being picked up by the Royal Dornoch Golf Club (which is soliciting donations to help defray the cost of Cormack’s library visits and green fees). All in all, quite a coup for the kid, especially since he’s not exactly local: He’s a Canadian!

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Jul 08, 2013 | 06:00 AM

The Black Knight Sheds His Armor

We don't ordinarily suggest that you pick up another magazine—everything you could ever want is already in LINKS—but golf fans might want to check out ESPN the Magazine, which releases its fifth annual “body issue” in a few days. Appearing nude, but no doubt artfully covered, will be 77-year-old Gary Player, who tweeted that he’s baring all “to hopefully inspire others to workout & live well.” Player is well known for his fitness routine, including as many as 1,000 sit-ups a day. Now we’ll be able to see how toned he really is under his trademark black attire. (There’s no truth to the rumor that the mag’s second choice was Tim “Lumpy” Herron.)

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