The 2013 Scottish Open at Castle Stuart shall enjoy one enviable footnote; it is the first regular European Tour event to be broadcasted on network television in the USA (on NBC). Doubtless this shall introduce many more golf fans to the wonderfully designed Castle Stuart which was opened in 2009. Castle Stuart is the creation of Mark Parsinen (who created Kingsbarns) and Gil Hanse (of Olympic Golf Course notoriety).
The highlands of Scotland offer some stunning scenery as well as golf course options; a great base from which to explore this area is Inverness. The city has seen a host of exciting new restaurant openings in recent years. For accommodation, Kingsmills Hotel is a great 4 star option and there is now an additional choice available from July 2012 in the shape of farmhouse and cottage accommodations at Castle Stuart Golf Links.
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Day 81 Play Camargo Drive Cincinnati/Columbus
Pat Kelly (1988) arranged Day 81’s play at the very private, low-key Carmago Club (rated 43, designed by Raynor 1921)(first played June 1990 and last played June 1994/total 5 rounds). At 8:30 am I was on the first tee with assistant pro Gary Thullen and member Jerry Dirvin (also member of Pine Valley and Pablo Creek). The weather was gorgeous on this peaceful course — 75 degrees ( eventually rising to 90), blue sky, no clouds, no wind. Even though this was Ladies Day we cruised around with caddies in 3 hours and 15 minutes.
This is fantastic news for Castle Stuart Golf Links and, more importantly, Scottish Golf. The Scottish Open is one of the biggest events on the European Tour and it currently occupies one of the most sought after slots on the European Tour calendar. There was widespread speculation that if a sponsor wasn’t found, the French Open would replace the Scottish the week prior to the Open Championship. However, it looks like the European Tour will hold out for a sponsor on the back of the success of this year’s event. Having attended the event myself, I fully agree with the decision.
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.