Review for Castle Stuart

Reviewer Score:


I played Castle Stuart back in early June with Jim McCann, alongside Brian and Simon from the Top 100 team. I’ve been deliberating whether to post a review, as more than enough people have extolled the virtues of this modern links since it first opened in 2009 and I was unsure whether I could add anything fresh to the mix. More than four months on, I’m still not certain there’s anything original to be said but was nevertheless compelled to put pen to paper.

First off I love links golf but some links golf I love more than others. There’s links golf that’s flat, stark and cheerless where you simply have to grind it out and there’s links golf that has elevation changes, is inspirational and makes you glad to be a golfer. For me, Castle Stuart falls into the latter category (it plays across two distinct levels) and the reason why I like it so much is that it’s incredibly beautiful (I prefer to play golf in lovely surroundings), it has topographical interest (I’m not a lover of flat courses) and it’s engaging from start to finish.

Mark Parsinen (who also developed Kingsbarns) has somehow found the recipe and reputation for creating masterpieces where others have come up short. Mountains of earth were moved here at Castle Stuart but you wouldn’t know due to the artistry of the shapers. These are wide fairways but they’re not runways and you still need to find the right angle for the best approach to the greens which undulate to perfection. The green surrounds are even more admirable. The par threes are all from the top drawer and the infinity 11th is one of the best one-shotters I’ve ever played.

I’m sure Gil Hanse must be proud of his creation at Castle Stuart and rightly so. Let’s hope the Arnold Palmer Signature course (due to open in 2019) is equally good. With Nairn around the corner, Skibo, Dornoch and Brora further up the road, the Highlands of Scotland is perhaps the best golfing destination in Britain & Ireland.

Date: October 07, 2015

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