Courtesy of the Press and Journal
Sept 17, 2007 – Sporting legend Jack Nicklaus was back in the north-east at the weekend to finalise plans for his multimillion-pound Aberdeenshire golf resort.
He was joined by members of his design team on Friday and Saturday for a tour of Ury Estate, near Stonehaven, where his 18-hole championship course will lie.
The Ury course will mark only the second time the 67-year-old, nicknamed the Golden Bear, has designed a golf course in Scotland.
It will form the centrepiece of €40million plans by FM Developments to transform the 1,500-acre estate into a top-class hotel and golf resort.
The golfer, who in his career as a professional won 18 majors, told how his visit to the area was intended to take the course to the “next step”.
Speaking at the estate on Saturday, he said: “I came here yesterday and spent the day going over the front nine and making a few adjustments, then today we did the back nine.
“From this step, the plans will go through permissions and the next time I come back will be in time for them to open up the property for clearing.”
Mr Nicklaus did, however, say that his vision for the course is never set in stone.
He added: “I don’t ever commit beyond one part of the golf course at a time and right now I envision golf holes how I think they will fit in where we’ve got them.
“It’s a general flow. I like to let a golf course evolve rather than putting something on a piece of paper and saying ‘build this’. It’s always changing in my head and I give my people freedom to be able to put their own input in certain areas, as long as the golf course turns out how I want it to from a playability standpoint.”
Speaking about the actual development of the land, Mr Nicklaus said his course was “not a construction job”.
“We’ll move very little dirt and we want to make sure we utilise what’s here already. The project is something that will be complementary to the area, not controversial to the area,” he added.
“The golf course will be very favourable when we’re finished with it, that’s certainly our objective.”
Mr Nicklaus also said the Ury resort would be one of the stops for the thousands of American golfers who visit Scotland every year.
He said: “Ury Estate is also one hour north of Carnoustie. If you’re going to go to Carnoustie, you’re going to go to St Andrews and you’re going to come here. I know three of my boys come every year to Scotland and Ireland. Thousands of American golfers do exactly that. This will be one of the stops – that’s for sure.”
It is hoped that work on the course could start by early next year with the aim of having it grassed by autumn 2009. Mr Nicklaus’s vision includes plans to restore the derelict Ury House on the estate back to its former glory and convert it into a hotel complete with clubhouse, function and conference facilities.
Jennifer Craw, senior director of operations at Scottish Enterprise Grampian, said the area is “on the brink of the most exciting times ever in our region’s development”.
She added: “Internationally-renowned backers like Jack Nicklaus with their household names and reputations have the kudos to draw visitors from all over the world to our region.”
Mr Nicklaus’s course is the second major golfing project in the region, with US tycoon Donald Trump planning a €1billion development near Balmedie just north of Aberdeen.