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How the Genesis Scottish Open has made its home at the Renaissance Club 

How the Genesis Scottish Open has made its home at the Renaissance Club 

As the Genesis Scottish Open marks its third edition as a co-sanctioned event by the DP World Tour and PGA TOUR, the Renaissance Club continues its association as host venue for a sixth consecutive occasion.

Since it first moved to the Renaissance Club in 2019, the event – which has formed part of the Rolex Series since its launch in 2017 – has continued to retain its place in golf’s global calendar the week ahead of The Open.

Three of the past four winners of golf’s oldest Major have finetuned their preparations by taking part at the Scottish Open, which has long been regarded as one of Europe’s most prestigious tournaments, including last year's Champion Golfer of the Year Brian Harman.

It's also tournament which has produced an impressive list of worthy of champions in its own right, no more so exemplified than through Rory McIlroy's history-making triumph last year.

One behind with two to play, McIlroy birdied both of his final two holes in incredible fashion to become the first man to win back-to-back Rolex Series titles, as well as the first player in history to win the Scottish Open, The Open, and the Irish Open.

The Renaissance Club itself, which was founded in 2008, is nestled on 300 picturesque acres along the Firth of Forth and is one of the newest additions to the world-famous stretch known as Scotland’s Golf Coast.

It's a course that has not been afraid of improving itself to elevate itself to the standard of test expected from the best players in the world while also being fair for amateurs, and it's that which has truly helped it to find itself as the home of the Genesis Scottish Open.

To realise that vision, The Renaissance Club engaged three-time Major Championship winner Pádraig Harrington as a ‘player consultant’ ahead of the 2022 tournament, discussing matters related to course design with renowned American course architect Tom Doak.

The previous three editions in 2019, 2020 and 2021 had all seen low winning scores, ranging from when Bernd Wiesberger posted the tournament record-low score of 22-under, to Aaron Rai’s 11-under total in a Covid-hit field in 2020 and Min Woo Lee’s 18-under score in 2021.

That led to some players questioning its difficulty and whether good shots were being rewarded and bad shots being penalised sufficiently. But for all those three editions soft and calm conditions were a key contributing factor.

Among the changes made were new pot bunkers built on the right-hand side of the first and seventh fairways, creating a new dilemma for players off the tee, with both holes going on to play over par across the four rounds.

In another of the more notable changes, trees were cleared on both sides of the par-five 10th fairway, and a new dune complex built on the right, ensuring a wayward drive would mean it is more challenging to reach the green.

Other subtle changes included a band of semi-rough being introduced to cut off across the run-off areas around some of the greens – something Harrington was instrumental behind from a players’ perspective.

But one thing the 2021 Ryder Cup Captain thought important to do was to ensure that any changes would also positively impact the amateur experience.

Speaking in 2021 as he begun his role as a player consultant, Harrington said: "I see [value] on golf courses where there are simple things that can make it a little bit more challenging for the pros but not take away from the amateurs.

"You never want to take away from the amateurs. Pros are only here one week a year, so the first and foremost has to be the amateur experience and how they are enjoying it.”

The result has been a positive one, and over the past two years the course has provided plenty of drama with victories from Xander Schauffele and McIlroy.

Both men feature in the field this week and are joined by fellow Major Champions Wyndham Clark, Matt Fitzpatrick, Collin Morikawa, Justin Rose, Brian Harman and Justin Thomas, while a plethora of Ryder Cup stars including home hero Robert MacIntyre, Ludvig Åberg, Tommy Fleetwood, Nicolai Højgaard and Viktor Hovland also feature alongside victorious 2023 Ryder Cup Captain Donald – the winner of Scotland’s national open in 2011.

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