This world-class layout is located along the coastline of Scotland. Developed by American developer Mark Parsinen -the same man that oversaw the opening of Kingsbarns – this layout may upstage its predecessor.
Sited on the southern shores of the Moray Firth between Inverness and Nairn at Castle Stuart, this course has made a massive impact on the golfing scene since its opening in the summer of 2009.
Along with the edge of a raised beach by the side of the Moray Firth, the opening holes on each line run away from the clubhouse. This offers spectacular views across the water to the Black Isle. The drive from tees cut into the Cliffside down to the fairways below on holes 1 and 10 offers such a thrill! After which I enjoyed a breath-taking walk down to the first.
Most of the courses sure got my heart pumping faster before my first inward half on the course. This is just one of the many reasons Castle Stuart is one of the best golf clubs in Scotland.
My first source of utter amazement at Castle Stuart was the modern design, I particularly love playing isolated holes, and here, I felt at ease. The allure of the course was in the sequential arrangement whereby I could only see the next hole after the after playing the current hole.
The more inland holes, 4 to 9, 13 and 19 loops either side of clubhouses that sit on the cliffs. My personal favourite hole is the 552-yard located on a sensational front nine. I played this par five to a long narrow green while appreciating the beauty of the two waste bunkers on either side of the narrow.
Both nines have a wonderful routing that takes you close to the edge of the water and then an uphill journey to the top of the ridge overlooking the firth. A mix of shorter holes playing into the wind and longer holes playing downwind offers you a certain complement while playing. Even the blind shots are interesting to navigate, contributing to an overall memorable journey around the course.
The variety of holes, spectacular scenery, and favorable wind conditions would be a treat to golfers of all levels that have the pleasure of playing there.
Castle Stuart competes well with many of the best golf courses in the world like Royal Dornoch and Nairn in attracting golfers, both regulars and visitors. Castle Stuart had the honor of hosting the 2011Barcalays Scottish Open, ending Loch Lomond’s 15-year consecutive hosting of the prestigious event.
While the more strategic golfer will appreciate the variety, a more naïve player will still thoroughly enjoy this masterpiece. The clever design challenges the elite while golfers of lesser ability are still able to play.
The publicity and prestige of Castle Stuart may require more effort to play there, and it is certainly worth every inconvenience. After a blissfully fulfilling day playing on such a serene and prestigious course, the only word that came to my mind was “wow”!!!