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Castle Stuart Golf Links which overlooks the Moray Firth near Inverness is to get second course in acquisition announced today

By Rachel Smart

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Castle Stuart Golf Links. Photos: John Paul Photography
Castle Stuart Golf Links. Photos: John Paul Photography

CASTLE STUART is to come under new ownership as Cabot, the developer and operator of master-planned golf resort communities announced the acquisition for an undisclosed fee today.

The centrepiece of the iconic property, soon to be known as Cabot Highlands, is Castle Stuart Golf Links, named among Golf Digest’s World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses and host to four Scottish Opens.

Cabot now plans to build a second course designed by acclaimed golf course architect Tom Doak.

Located on a pristine piece of land, the course will play around Castle Stuart’s 400-year-old castle.

Castle Stuart.
Castle Stuart.

The course will have significant water frontage but will sit lower than the first course, with less wind exposure, wide fairways and dramatic-yet-practical bunkers.

Ben Cowan-Dewar, chief executive and co-founder of Cabot said: “Castle Stuart has been synonymous with the region since it first opened thirteen years ago.

“We are honoured to be a steward of the land and carry the original vision for the property forward. Our goal is to create unforgettable memories in magical places, and there are few places in the world more awe-inspiring than the Scottish Highlands.”

The course will incorporate natural contours, meandering through hillsides and expansive open land with several holes along the water.

Planning for the course will begin in the Autumn of 2022 and construction will begin in 2023 with an estimated completion date in 2024.

Castle Stuart Golf Links.
Castle Stuart Golf Links.

Architect Tom Doak said: “I’m thrilled to partner with Ben Cowan-Dewar and the Cabot team. We have been searching for the perfect destination for years.

“Our goal is to create a distinctly Scottish golf experience that appeals to players at all levels with an authentic links-style course that puts the golf holes front and center.”

Real estate will be a key component of the community with sales expected to begin in 2023.

The legacy property will feature houses and cottages with upscale, modern touches inspired by the alluring landscape of the Scottish countryside.

When owners are not in residence, their homes will be available as luxury accommodations for visiting guests.

Castle Stuart Golf Links.
Castle Stuart Golf Links.

The Cabot Highlands property will be completed with retail, restaurants and communal gathering points.

For retiring managing partner Grant Sword, working at the course has been a privilege and he is glad that Castle Stuart’s founder, the late Mark Parsinen’s legacy will continue on.

He said: “I wouldn’t have missed the journey for all the tea in China.

“Working with my friend and our founder, Mark Parsinen, was a privilege. He was an artist at what he did and he was never happier at work than when he was in the field.

“He empowered the team at Castle Stuart and they responded by always finding creative solutions and establishing a superb culture of excellent customer service.

“Myself, the partners, and more importantly Mark’s wife Dede and the family, are all unanimous that this is a really exciting way forward. What Ben has done at Cabot is amazing.

“He and his team have been a joy to work with in finalising this deal and the process has been enormously respectful on all sides.

“Cabot is a perfect fit for Castle Stuart and I’m certain the future is rosy. I will be able to enjoy my retirement and playing golf at Cabot Highlands, knowing that Mark Parsinen’s vision will be taken forward and enhanced by a wonderful team.”

Castle Stuart Golf Links. Photos: John Paul Photography
Castle Stuart Golf Links. Photos: John Paul Photography

General manager Stuart McColm and the existing team at Castle Stuart now become part of the Cabot family and will continue to play a leading role in the story going forward.

Stuart McColm said: “I’ve been involved with this special property since 2006 and I too can’t think of a better partner than Cabot to lead our next chapter.

“The work they’ve done at Cabot Cape Breton on the courses and within the community speaks for itself.

“The cultures of Cabot and Castle Stuart are a perfect fit.

“Together we are committed to providing golfers with fun and enjoyable courses in stunning locations as well as providing top class customer service.

“The future is hugely exciting and we can’t wait to deliver on the many great plans for Cabot Highlands that will bring a significant boost to the region’s economy while at the same time delivering a very special, world class golfing experience.”

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