Golf News for Friday, February 24, 2012 | Resorts

Bushmills Dunes Golf Resort to establish Northern Ireland's north coast as world-acknowledged golf standard

The first golf links course to be built in Northern Ireland for almost one hundred years has been given the green light by Minister Alex Attwood.

Plans for the £100m Bushmills Dunes Golf Resort & Spa which will create approximately 360 direct jobs and an estimated further 300 ancillary jobs through suppliers and construction were approved today. It will be located just outside the village of Bushmills.

An 18-hole championship golf course designed by Scotsman David McLay Kidd will be supported by environmentally sensitive accommodation provision including a 120 bedroom world-class hotel and 75 garden residences. A golf academy and a unique eco sensitive club house with full restaurant and bar will also be provided, together with conference facilities catering for up to 400 delegates.

David McLay Kidd is famed for his designs which include The Castle Course at St Andrew’s, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon, the TPC in San Francisco Bay and Macrihanish Dunes across the Irish Sea in Scotland.

The world-renowned designer says this part of the coast is ideal for an international standard and eco-sensitive golf development .

“Golf was born on the rugged coast of the British Isles,” he says. “That’s where it will always be most at home.

“Bushmills Dunes Resort & Spa offers the opportunity for golf to fit so beautifully, so naturally, so comfortably in the landscape that it will obviously be ‘at home’.

“The very best golf courses in the world rarely owe their acclaim to the architect but instead to the landscape, this will never be more true than at Bushmills Dunes.”

The Bushmills Dunes Resort & Spa investment and advisory team which is led by US-based Northern Ireland man Dr Alistair Hanna includes architect Richard Hunter and Sir Desmond Rea.

Dr Hanna, who owns the award-winning Ardtara Country House Hotel in Upperlands, Co Derry, says: “Bushmills Dunes is exactly the kind of destination resort needed to complete the island of Ireland’s internationally acknowledged portfolio of links golf courses.

“We aim to match the quality of Royal Portrush and Royal County Down, both of which are acknowledged to be among the top ten golf courses in the world. We have excellent relationships with our colleagues at Royal Portrush, and Portstewart, and hope to have the same with Castlerock, Bushfoot and Ballycastle so that we can take part in establishing Northern Ireland as the gold standard in links golf. There are very few places in the world where someone will be able to play four world class links golf courses, all within half an hour of each other. St. Andrews is about the only other one.”

Dr Hanna says the Bushmills Dunes Golf Resort & Spa will be of significant benefit to the area in general as well as to the World Heritage Site. In addition the resort will provide global standard accommodation as well as all the golf support infrastructure expected by a discerning international golfing public and events and conference organisers.

“If we are to attract large numbers of international visitors we have to provide the highest quality offering and that’s what Bushmills Dunes pledges to do through top class design, facilities and golfing challenge,” he says.

Maebeth Fenton Martin, tel: 44 (0) 7970 996475


Joris Minne, JPR, tel: 44 28 90760066