Castle Stuart, which runs along the banks of the Moray Firth in the Scottish Highlands, was recently voted the best new overseas destination by Golf Digest. The course, which was co-designed by Mark Parsinen (Kingsbarns) and American architect Gil Hanse (Craighead Links at Crail), opened in 2009 and it has already taken its place amongst Scotland’s greats. Not only has it made the Highlands a much more appealing destination, but Scotland as a whole. With Royal Dornoch (Scotland’s #3 course) and Nairn (#14) its best and closest neighbours, 3 or 4 nights in the Inverness area make for a great addition to any Scotland tour.
I recently had the opportunity to play it for the first time and loved every minute of it. Other than the fact that the rough needs some time to mature – to make it more of a challenge – you wouldn’t know it was only a new course. With reasonably wide fairways, you might be forgiven for standing on the tee and thinking it looks relatively straight forward, but with the impetus put on getting the right angles from where to approach very tricky greens, it’s definitely a thinker’s course. If you’ve been to Scotland before and you’ve played the more famous British Open rota courses, but you’ve never made it up to the Highlands, now is the time…and Castle Stuart should definitely be on your list as one of the ‘must plays’.
By Keith Baird. Keith has been with PerryGolf for over 10 years and is one of our Golf Travel Specialists.