This stunning championship course opened in 2009 but already has a remarkable history, hosting some of the world’s leading golfers in the European Tour’s Scottish Open on four occasions. The spectacular setting overlooking the Moray Firth presents a memorable seascape punctuated with local landmarks such as the Kessock Bridge, Chanonry Lighthouse, Fort George and Ben Wyvis. Designed by Mark Parsinen and Gil Hanse, it is regarded as a model for modern golf architecture, being fun, engaging and playable for every-day players of all abilities, but also a challenge for the very best.
At Castle Stuart, nature bequeathed an opportunity for a links golf course to enjoy a rich landscape texture of whins, gorse and broom, heather, and marram – a landscape mosaic of rugged beauty. It is a true links experience with rumpled fairways, offering changes in lie and stance; partially revetted, natural bunkers and infinity edge greens that allow the scenery and key landmarks to be put on display. The course has won plaudits from some of golf’s leading players and writers, including Phil Mickelson, winner of the 2013 Scottish Open at Castle Stuart and The Open championship one week later, who said: “It should almost be a prerequisite to play Castle Stuart before you are allowed to design golf courses”.
Mickelson went further at the 2016 Scottish Open, describing Castle Stuart as a great course, with a wonderful design and one that is fun to play. He said: “It’s got a great mixture of holes – birdie holes, tough pars, (and holes that need) great shotmaking skills.” The 2016 Scottish Open winner Alex Norén said Castle Stuart was “a really fun course to play, with a few very tricky holes, but also somewhere you can go for the green in two shots on par 5s and some par 4s where you can aim for the green in one”.