I played Castle Stuart for a second time last weekend. It was very nice conditions for an October day in Scotland and I was very surprised by the firm links conditions at this time of year. The course played beautifully and I was very impressed with the smooth roll and speed of the greens.
I was having a debate about the merits of the course in comparison to Royal Dornoch, which we had played the day before. It mainly centred on the wide fairways and the ease of which you could play off the tee. For me this was part of the fun of the place. It is not very tight and demanding, but lets you be aggressive and get your driver out a lot. The course for me is exciting in it's approach play and green complexes which can be very tight with devilish run offs. The question from the tee then becomes, should I hit a driver, or where can I hit that would leave a good position to attack the pin. Distance was not always the answer. As I found to my peril at the beautiful short par 4 3rd that has to be mentioned. The 10th and 11th were a great par 4 and 3 with beauty and demanding green complexes. I thoroughly enjoyed the long par 3 17 too.
I think the course could be completely different depending on the wind obviously, but also depending on pin positions. With such undulating greens and large complexes, the holes and tactics would have to be changed dramatically on many holes where precision was rewarded with a straight forwards putt, but being a little off could lead to a world of trouble.
Overall I think this is a very playable course with a lot of options on how to play it. That in my book makes it thoroughly enjoyable and with some incredible views and conditions, I think most people will appreciate it.
Date: October 20, 2021