The Takeaway: Castle Stuart is absolutely fantastic and a must play in Scotland. The width of the fairways and size of the greens make the course enjoyable to play no matter what the weather conditions are. There isn't a weak hole on the course with each one boasting an engaging design full of strategy without relying on tricked up features. With a masterful routing along the dunes above the Moray Firth, Castle Stuart delivers captivating views, strong playability, and a ton of fun. Grade A+
Designer: Gil Hanse and Mark Parsinen in 2009
Cost: £140.00 - £195.00 (Caddies available for £45 plus gratuity) Click for current rates
Phone Number: +44 (0) 1463 796111
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Castle Stuart Golf Links's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - Castle Stuart Golf Links, Inverness, UK
Accolades: Ranked 5th in Scotland by Golf Course Gurus. Host of the Scottish Open 2011 (Luke Donald), 2012 (Jeev Milkha Singh), 2013 (Phil Mickelson), and 2016 (Alexander Noran)
What to Expect: It is common in the golf world to applaud old courses and anoint them far superior to any new kid on the block. The likes of St Andrews, Cypress Point, and Royal County Down at times seem above reproach, but Castle Stuart did a phenomenal job of coming to golf's homeland and delivering a stellar golfing experience that blends time tested traits with modern philosophies. The result is simply one of Scotland's finest golf courses. Gil Hanse crafted a masterpiece on varied terrain above the Moray Firth with wide fairway and large greens framed by a combination of thin fescue, patches of gorse, sea marram, and heather. The course design provides a ton of enjoyment and playability where it is likely you'll be able to golf your same ball all round long. The verbiage in the yardage book perhaps best spells out the design philosophy at Castle Stuart this way, "Castle Stuart itself reflects an appreciation that the game of golf is more about error and recovery than it is about perfection. Its ethos is more about redemption than punishment." Frankly, I couldn't agree more. This philosophy combined with beautiful settings is precisely what has made Castle Stuart and Kingsbarns such wildly successful new kids on the block on golf's hallowed Scottish grounds. Design variety is the call of the day with Hanse offering everything from wedge length and 200+ par 3s, driveable and demanding par 4s, reachable and three-shot par 5s. Incorporating natural terrain features on a varied course with stunning views is a sure fire recipe for success. While both nines are exceptional, I give the nod to the back nine as the superior offering with a closing stretch of holes that are perfect for match or stroke play competition. The walking only course is more expensive than others in Scotland for sure, but it is worth the price of admission to experience this modern day marvel.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 4th Hole – 191 Yard Par 3