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Architect Willy Findlater at Coodham

A Victorian mansion once owned by the man who founded one of the greatest golfing tournaments in the world has been rescued from ruin and turned into the ultimate ‘des res’ for dedicated golfers.

Coodham House, near Symington in Ayrshire was the family home of James Ogilvy Fairlie, the creator of Prestwick Golf Course and the man who started the Open Championship 149 years ago.

The once ruined four-storey Victorian mansion has been resurrected from a derelict burnt-out shell and turned into six exclusive apartments and three additional luxury homes just minutes from Turnberry, Royal Troon and Prestwick golf courses.

”Fairlie is credited as being the man who persuaded golf course architect Old Tom Morris to design Prestwick Golf Club in 1851 and of setting up the first ever British Open Championship at the same venue nine years later,” said Malcolm Campbell, Chief Executive of The Links Golf Association.

“He was a leading character in the Royal & Ancient back in the early days and was a mentor to Old Tom.

”Old Tom held him in such high regard he acted as his caddy and it was Fairlie who took him down from St Andrews to Prestwick to build the golf course which led to the first Open Championship.

“He is recognised as a leading historical figure among those who delve into the roots of the game”.

Coodham House was built in memory of James’s father, William Fairlie, by his widow Margaret who bought the estate in 1825 and commissioned a large and opulent country house as the new family home. It was here that James, who inherited the estate in 1845, began planning the Prestwick course and the Open Championship - now considered one of the greatest golf tournaments in the world.
The first Championship was held on the 17th October 1860 at Prestwick and attracted eight leading Scottish golfers of the day who played three rounds of the 12 hole course in a single day.

Tournament favorite Old Tom, who had the added advantage of having designed the course, lost by two strokes to Willie Park Senior who won with a score of 174.

However, Old Tom Morris had his revenge by winning the competition a total of four times between 1861 and 1867, achieving the distinction of receiving the first Champion’s cash prize of £6 in 1864 - a figure dwarfed by the £750,000 won by Padraig Harrington at the 2008 Open Championship.

“We were aware that in renovating Coodham House we were acting as custodians of history and culture as well simply redesigning a magnificent property,” said Willy Findlater of CDP Architects.

““Being a listed building meant it all had to be restored using traditional skills and to satisfy the requirements of South Ayrshire Council and Historic Scotland we had to ensure the integrity of the historic fabric was maintained,”

Lime mortars and putties were used and they had samples of the remaining stone taken away for analysis so that an exact geographical match could be found for the new stone work.

The result of five-years of painstaking work by developers Goldrealm Properties is a historic pink sand-stone country house, set in 90 acres of magnificent grounds, with all the luxury, style and comforts of the 21st century.

The apartments and three individually designed homes, ranging price from £330,000 to £750,000, have been finished to the highest of standards using sustainable African oak, ornate Georgian-style plasterwork inspired by Robert Adams and Turkish marble to create a lasting impression of opulence.

The house, which was just four walls when the developers started work, has been completely reconstructed inside using a mixture of modern and traditional materials.

“Coodham is an extraordinary and unique development unmatched in the West of Scotland,” said Bob Cherry, of selling agents CKD Galbraith.

”It combines the character of a 19th century mansion with contemporary quality and style.

”The resulting apartments and houses are highly individual homes in a stunning setting, with all bar one enjoying views over the estate’s private lake.”

The same attention to detail has also been lavished on the grounds surrounding the house, providing residents with almost three miles of picturesque walks, woodlands and a lake teaming with fish.

"It is important to remember that not so long ago Coodham House was little more than the shell of a once-impressive building. It takes commitment and a lot of hard work to revitalise a building like this,” said a spokeswoman for Historic Scotland.

”It has been a really magnificent example of creating something for the future from the ruins of history.”


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