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).
It has added yet another dimension to a region of Scotland that was historically famous for Royal Dornoch, the course where Donald Ross served his apprenticeship as a greens keeper. Ross subsequently emigrated to the USA and built an untold number of courses using the same style he had seen at Dornoch with pushed up greens. Beyond these two fine links courses you will enjoy Nairn (venue for the 1999 Walker Cup Matches) and a myriad of classic, small town links golf that includes Tain, Brora, Nairn Dunbar & Lossiemouth. This is a region of Scotland that is rich and understated, yet thoroughly enjoyable links golf in it’s purest form.
This Google Earth Video Tour below gives some sense of the logistics of the area, with a range of accommodations options including the recently completed Quarryfield House which serves as an ideal base for groups in which to remain in one location and enjoy an exclusive-use facility.
In the last year or two, Trump International, about a 2 hour 15 min drive to the east, has enjoyed much deserved attention. It is a fine, modern style links course and with another course having been announced, it will add yet another arrow in a full quiver of exceptional golf experiences. Aberdeen serves as the host city to the oil & gas industry which works in the deep and challenging waters of the North Sea. It has also been home for many years to three great links courses: Royal Aberdeen (venue for the 2014 Scottish Open), Cruden Bay & Marcar. Each of these courses is a treat to play and another reason to extend your stay in the Highlands of Scotland.
Quality accommodations and restaurants abound in both Inverness & Aberdeen, which despite their northerly location in the British Isles, have become quite chic and sophisticated for visitors to enjoy.
While all of the “name” golf courses in Scotland that are associated with hosting the Open Championship are in the Lowlands, there are plenty of reasons to find the time to enjoy the Highlands. One visit and glimpse of the scenery and you will clearly understand why each region has it’s respective moniker.