By Neville Leck Last updated: 8th July 2012
The Castle Stuart Golf Links in the Highlands of Scotland, will for only the second time, host the Barclay's Scottish Open this week.
It will be the seventh course to host this prestigious Scottish event since it was established in 1972.
Castle Stuart will follow in the footsteps of Downfield, St Andrews, Haggs Castle, Gleneagles, Carnoustie and the Loch Lomond Golf Club which has hosted the championship for the past 15 years.
The championship links course, located between Inverness and Nairn and overlooking the Moray Firth, was co-designed by Gil Hanse and Mark Parsinen, who was also responsible for the design of the famous Kingsbarns course in Fife.
Having only opened in July 2009, Castle Stuart Links has already received worldwide praise and was voted 'Best New Course in 2009' by Golf Magazine USA.
This week's event there is to be followed next week by the 141st Open Championship, the third major of the golf season, at Royal Lytham and St Anne's in Lancashire, England.
Sponsored by Barclays, thios week's event at Castle Stuart Links is sure to attract the vast majority of the world's best players and interest is so high that all four days will be broadcast live by Sky Sports and BBC Television.
The resort includes a small luxury Hotel and Spa, 'resort-ownership' Lodges and Apartments, plus a second Seaside Course.
In addition there are many fine, well-established hotels and other forms of accommodation in the area and it is Castle Stuart's goal to add to the rich fabric of golf in the Scottish Highlands - a fabric already enrich by Royal Dornoch, Nairn, Brora and the many of the other fine golf clubs in the region.
The 'art deco' design emphasises a desire to present, what many consider, stunning views over the Moray Firth from each of the three floors of the clubhouse.
The ground floor is organised around views from the golf shop, restaurant and bar and provides easy access to a patio overlooking the practice putting green and the Moray Firth. The second floor locker rooms and 'wrap around balcony' are also conceived with the panoramic views in mind. The third floor comprises a lounge and dining area with a balcony available for private use.
The new home of the Barclays Scottish Open Championship, which overlooks the Moray Firth and well-known landmarks like the Kessock Bridge and Chanonry Lighthouse that are synonymous with Inverness and the Black Isle, offers some breathtaking views.
The Club's official website says: "As Scotland is regarded as the home of golf; as Turnberry is to Ayrshire and Gleneagles is to Perthshire, Castle Stuart has been conceived to be for the Highlands - a beacon reaching out to golfers throughout the world."
This stunning new two-year-old Championship links course that provides what the owners describe as "a visual experience like no other in golf" has been selected partly to heed the growing call from players of all nations to stage the curtain raiser to the third Major of the year, The Open Championship, on a classic British links course so as to ready them for their big battle to come.
Castle Stuart will certainly do that and more
TOUR OF THE COURSE:
To get a good idea of what Castle Stuart Golf Links is all about, you can take a tour of this unusual and exciting course, make a flyover or see a scorecard courtesy of Castle Stuart's official website by clicking here
BOOKING AND GREEN FEES:
Telephone: +44 (0)1463 796111
Times of Play - the course is closed this week, but is otherwise open for play from April 1, 2011 through to November 20, 2011 inclusive.
Green Fees - Fully payable on booking
May - Oct £160 per round (£133.33 + 20% VAT)
Apr & Nov £130 (£108.33 + 20% VAT)
36 Hole Ticket May - Oct £200 (£166.66 + 20% VAT - playable by the same golfer over any consecutive 4 day period)
36 Hole Ticket Apr & Nov £170 (£141.67 + 20% VAT - playable by the same golfer over any consecutive 4 day period)
PGA & BIGGA £50 (£41.66 + 20% VAT - cards required)
Note: There are special fees for local residents and for Scottish residents
Caddy fees - £35 plus discretionary gratuity
Club hire fees - £35 per round inclusive of free golf balls
SOME NEARBY ATTRACTIONS
Loch Ness Exhibition
The exhibition gives an insight into the loch's wider significance. Designed and narrated by Loch Ness Project leader, the naturalist Adrian Shine.
Whilst keeping the mystery centre stage, it is placed firmly into the context of a loch with rare & unusual properties: some still motivate expeditions while others can "create" monsters. Here are the results of that exploration, using the very latest multi-media system, original research equipment and authentic underwater films (www.lochness.com)
Urquhart Castle & Fort George
The magnificently situated Urquhart Castle, on the banks of Loch Ness, remains an impressive stronghold despite its ruinous state. Stunning views of the Loch can be obtained from the visitor centre veranda.
Following the 1746 defeat at Culloden of Bonnie Prince Charlie, George11 created the ultimate defence against further Jacobite unrest. The result, Fort George, is the mightiest artillery fortification in Britain, if not Europe. (www.historic-scotland.gov.uk)
For the finest way to see Loch Ness, nothing compares to Jacobite cruises. Whichever season you choose to visit, a cruise on Loch Ness is a superb way to experience the magnificence of the loch and its stunning attractions, such as the ancient ruins of Urquhart Castle. Our boats sail close to the imposing battlements of the ruins of Urquhart Castle. Jacobite offers not just cruises, but a wide selection of tours from Inverness, and combined tour/cruises sailing on Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal throughout the year.(www.jacobite.co.uk)
No visit to Scotland is complete without a visit to a working Scotch Malt Distillery. From mountain to glen and island to lowland, you will find beautifully sited distilleries still dispensing individual charm, history and the local 'water of life'. (www.maltwhiskytrail.com)
Culloden Visitor Centre:
The exciting new Culloden Battlefield visitor centre and exhibition opened in December 2007. Through recent archaeological and historical research the National Trust for Scotland discovered that the previous centre was sited on the third Government line of the battlefield. With the Trust's resolve to return the battlefield to as close as we know it on 16 April 1746, the centre was moved. The previous facilities had struggled to cope with visitor numbers at peak times and its site will be returned to being part of the battlefield. The new centre and exhibition allows the whole Culloden story to be told in an innovative and interactive way.(www.www.nts.org.uk/Culloden/PPF/VisitorCentre/)
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