The Home of the Scottish Open.
What a remarkable links course and it’s only the second year of play!
Visiting Castle Stuart Golf Links is an experience you’ll not forget. It’s a world-class experience all the way from when you arrive at the clubhouse until you have enjoyed a hot shower and a pint of ale after the game. The welcoming friendly staff is outstanding, the clubhouse is totally brilliant overlooking the landmarks of Moray Firth, and the golf course is a challenge and joy for any golfer.
It’s a visitor only golf club and Mark Parsinen has designed a masterpiece that will be remembered. It’s a stunning scenic view on each single hole. It’s also amazing how good the conditions of the course is after such a short time. It’s very natural design and the holes are separated from each other in a very nice way. The fairways are reasonably wide, but you need to put your ball in position for the approach shot. The challenge of the course is the approach shot on to the large greens. Yes, the other challenge is to focus on the game and take you eye of the stunning views.
Be careful and precise around the greens. This is where you’ll make or break your score.
What I like about the course is that the ball is always in play and it’s a very fair links course – yes, difficult but fair. The natural elements have also been considered and in particular the way the bunkers has naturally been created.
There are so many great holes and it’s difficult to pick a few, but my favorites are:
Hole 2 – 530 yards par 5
Tee box right by the ocean and you’ll have the ocean on the entire right hand side. Depending on the wind, the long hitter can dare to go for the green in two, but be aware of the elevated and undulated green that’s hanging on the edge of the sea. Beautiful golf hole. I made a bogey six and my playing partners a seven – the amazing scenery must have disturbed us.
Hole 3 – 290 yards par 4
A short par 4 playing right for the ocean. Be precise off the tee and on the approach shot, or you’ll have a recovery shoot. It’s a very tricky elevated tee, which will take a very good shot to stick on the green. A hole that will test your skills. Bill made an impressive par, Samo and myself a less impressive double bogey 6.
Hole 9 – 350 yards par 4
Driving the green in down wind is doable, but the more sensible way is to make a 250 yards tee shot. The approach shot is horrifying, you need to carry an elevated green and don’t be short or left or right… if not on green you’ll be in a valley testing your nerves to get up on green - Great golf hole. A fairway wood off the tee and an 8 iron to the green with a two put for a solid par. Different story for my friends.
Hole 11 – 130 yards par 3
Fantastic par 3! Hitting for the ocean; long or left is no good, nor is long and right! Just nail it on the green and you’ll be fine. Bill had a meltdown, Samo made a bogey four and I made a par.
Hole 16 – 325 yards par 4
A drivable par 4. Aim your drive for the right hand side of the green and the slope will take the ball on to the green. We all went for it. Bill had a brilliant drive, but to long and ended up behind the green in a bunker. A good second shot out of the bunker on the green – safe. No, no, the wind took the ball off the green and back in the bunker. The wind also took the golf bag right in to the bunker grounding all the clubs and most likely a 10 penalty shot situation – amazing!! Samo found some difficulties and forgot about he hole rather quickly. My drive found the green and a two put for a nice birdie!
Yes, my good friends Samo and Bill also joined me at Castle Stuart Golf Links. Fantastic playing partners and together with Sid, our caddie, a hard to bet team on the course. Sun, wind, challenging links course and playing it with good friends – what else can you ask for. Another memorable day for all of us.
Castle Stuart Golf Links is a young course, but in very good condition. It’s a stunning scenery and such an enjoyable course to play. This is a course to enjoy already now and it’ll be just better and better over the years.
The scorecard is not lost this time. It’s impossible to explain the rules of the competition we played, but it’s a variant of match play stable ford. Tight game with me on 39 points, Bill on 38 and Samo on 33. Guess I was right on first tee when I said I’ll win…
The million dollar question is “Who will be King of the castle?” – Phil?, Padraig?, Graeme?, Bill?, Samo? Jan?
No, it's none of these guys. It's the world no 1, Luke Donald.
GREAT THINGS ABOUT GOLF
Out driving your playing partners
“What, that’s your ball? So that must be mine up there? Goodness I didn’t think I’d struck it that well!”
Castle Stuart Golf Links