Traveling back down to Inverness we went to visit the relatively young Castle Stuart Golf Club home of the Scottish Open Championship. Gil Hanse and Mark Parsinen orchestrated the creation of a wonderful four act golf experience on the hillside shores of Northern Scotland overlooking the Moray Firth. This is the full golf destination experience-great practice facility, fine links course, and stylish modern clubhouse with full amenities.
This art deco clubhouse looks like the upper decks of an Alaskan cruise ship standing sentinel on the hill top overlooking the entire property.
The view clinging to the mast on the captain’s perch gives you the breathtaking view of the Moray Firth, a scene repeated endlessly through the day.
Locker room is comfy for changin’ or loungin’.
Interior architecture of the ‘medical clinic’ is stunning….use of these support services documented later.
From the top balcony you can appreciate the broad landscape of the course and beyond.
The first act opens by the sea orchestrating all the elements-unfurling fairways, towering dunes, thick gorse, wispy heather, and gnarly sea grasses.
Seaside green complex is accessible but requires proper forethought on how to negotiate an approach. In layman’s terms, pick your poison.
Ground level view gives a sense of the human scale of the humps n’ bumps and other obstacles.
Act II climbs up to the first balcony with the signature fourth pays tribute to Castle Stuart built in 1625.
Green side bunker on the par five sixth has Alister MacKenzie influence written all over it.
A proper links would not be proper without a couple of dell green settings. If they put the flag in that back corner and you will need to be wearing a red cape to take it on.
The approach to the ninth composes all of the visual elements. A frozen snickers and a fizzy sports drink are just around the bend.
Unique bunkering that blends selective landscaping, sleepers, hand revetting, and just a pinch of sand.
The 2011 Scottish Open was racked by a monsoon and damaging flooding. It has taken a good deal of time to heal the damage from nature’s wrath.
Down to the sea for Act III. The eleventh would feel right at home at Bandon Dunes….just marvel at the balance of danger and respite against a glorious backdrop.
Tee shots can be both visually and physically challenging.
Act IV takes you back to the top balcony for the rest of the performance. The climb and the views will take your breath away.
Nothing simple about these green complexes. Recovery shots require imagination, creativity, and flawless execution.
Just one last treat to behold as you look down the final approach.
The Merry Band-Phillip, Billy B, Tripmeister Jim, Flash, Innes the Seer, Puba Moe, and Ross.
Return to the clinic for triage……sorting out aches, pains, and strokes…. and a few fish stories rendered as well.
As this surreal mural relates, it is all about the traditions of golf at Castle Stuart…
(Click here to follow our trail to Day 5 at Trump International Golf Links)
For more detail click to see the Castle Stuart Golf Links Review