Nick Faldo has opened the Old Links course he has renovated at Ballyliffin Golf Club in Donegal, Ireland, through his design company.
The six-time major winner also took the opportunity to invite his elite group of young protégés for some intensive links golf training ahead of their forthcoming major amateur fixtures – they included Rory McIlroy, the current Irish Amateur champion and Kiran Matharu, who won the English Ladies Amateur title last week and is preparing for the women’s British Amateur.
Said Faldo: "I first came Ballyliffin in the early 1990s and I’d only intended to play the front nine but I enjoyed it so much, that I just had to stay for the full 18. We have worked hard to help the Old Links realise its full potential and have completely revised the course’s bunkering and added a variety of strategic challenges.
"I also believe that we have succeeded in emphasising the natural beauty that this course has always had in abundance."
The renovation forms part of a growing portfolio of global creation by Faldo Design with current projects on six continents in countries including China, Dubai, Portugal, Iceland and The Dominican Republic.
His other two courses will be integrated with developments already under construction in Murdeira, on the dramatic island of Sal.
Says Els: "We’re very excited. The Cape Verde Islands are a gem and I think it will be the next great destination for holidaymakers especially from Europe. Each course will present a different challenge and adventure and we will keep in mind that the amateur player must have a great golfing experience.
"There’s a lot of natural, rocky landscape to work with and we’ll work with that.
Els’s senior designer, Greg Letsche, says he was overwhelmed by the scale and scenic beauty of the locations, south of the Canaries and which have a year-round temperature between 22 and 29 degree Centigrade.
Els skipped this week Barclays event at Westchester on the PGA Tour, after finishing with 81 in the Memorial, to concentrate on his preparation for next week’s US Open at Winged Foot, New Jersey.
Faldo re-opens renovated Ballyliffin links