Castle Stuart Golf Links - Cabot Highlands

One of Scotland's best links is also one of its newest.

Castle Stuart Golf Links - Cabot Highlands

Highland, IV2 7JL, Scotland


Castle Stuart Golf Links is one of the finest links in the world. The modern golf links is located near Inverness, Scotland overlooking the Moray Firth.

Many of the motivators which inspired the design were based on Alister MacKenzie's design ideals.

The Art Deco-designed clubhouse is reminiscent of the 1920s and '30s. It contrasts perfectly with the course and is in keeping with the vintage style of golf on offer.

Jasper’s Lessons Learnt

The golf course is a modern marvel with the attention to detail being second to none.

The 3rd and 6th greens are proof that in many cases bunkers make scrambling easier for better players. The front pin on the 5th is both diabolical and sublime.

The width allows for egregious misses and a chance for recovery - the 5th fairway being a great example.

This is clever golf - almost too clever. If you made a wish list of design attributes and features you'd like to see on a golf course, you'd see most of them here. Of the optional extras checklist, it feels like 'All of the Above' seems to have been ticked.

If a chess match with the architect is what you want, Cabot Highlands Castle Stuart is the best example I've ever seen.

The walk from 12 to 13 is arduous but necessary to access the golf perched on the upper shelf. The trek is rewarded by the view at the 13th green rather than on the tee. The 8th to 9th at Cruden Bay is similar. Both courses dont suffer for it - proof golfers are a forgiven bunch if rewarded with quality golf.

Course Review
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Golf Course Review

Mark Parsinen likened Castle Stuart Golf Links to a theatre with the stage being the Black Isle and landmarks which dot the landscape. The first three holes are situated beside the firth in the ‘Orchestra Section’, with the latter half of the back nine on the ‘Mezzanine.’ Holes 10 through 12 are back in the Orchestral Section. From the 13th onwards you work your way back up to the highest seat in the ‘Balcony.’

Castle Stuart Golf Links Distinctive Features

  • Multiple routes are given on each hole from tee to green on fine, firm turf.
  • Landmarks in the shotmaking perspective. For example, Kessock Bridge, Alturlie Point, Chanonry Lighthouse, Fort George, and Black Isle all provide framing and backdrops which create a sense of place.
  • Fun golf with wild contours called ‘rumples’ and wide fairways up to 90 yards!
  • 3rd shot recoveries were designed to be fascinating with bold greenside contours.
  • Bunkers are manicured in the playing area.
  • Partially reverted bunkers were used to feel old and have become a hallmark of the course.
  • A landscape mosaic was created. In essence, the course was woven into the existing landscape.
  • The design is such to keep you engaged… even after a bad shot the focus is on the next rather than searching for it
  • Six sets of tees provide golf to every level from 5179 yards to over 7400 yards.

Gil Hanse, Mark Parsinen, Jim Wagner, Chris Haspell all played an integral role in the development of the golf course. Some of the team which produced Kingsbarns was brought in and accented by additional skilled design-build shapers.

Cabot Highlands

A Scottish links golf destination with a word-class Gil Hanse design and soon to be released Tom Doak design. Work is underway on the second 18 with Renaissance Golf Design associate Clyde Johnson running the job. Mr Doak has an innate ability to create greatness given the proper canvas. The second course on the property will give Cabot a knock-out, 1-2 punch. With Bill Coore’s new build on the horizon just a wee bit north, it would appear Inverness is primed to become a premier bucket list golf destination. With Royal Dornoch anchoring new builds from Gil Hanse, Tom Doak and Bill Coore, the future is looking very bright.

Independant Castle Stuart Course Review

Take Sean Arble’s tour of Castle Stuart Golf Links.

Castle Stuart Golf Links Photography

Purchase Kevin Murray’s Castle Stuart Golf Links photography

Read More World Ranking
in the world World Ranking
in GB&I

Castle Stuart Golf Links - Cabot Highlands - Videos

Castle Stuart Golf Links Documentary

Watch No Laying Up's Visit

Watch Cookie Jar Golf's Epic

Castle Stuart Golf Links Drone Flyover

Featured Architect: MacKenzie, Alister

As taken from his book, Golf Architecture, Alister MacKenzie felt the following were essential: The course, where possible, should be arranged in two loops of nine holes. There should be a large proportion of good two-shot holes and at least four one-shot holes. There should be little walking between...

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At A Glance


  • Hanse, Gil
  • Parsinen, Mark


Driving Range
Short Game


Three Star Collection
Best Scottish Golf Collection
Doak Scale Collection
Golf Club Atlas Collection
GOLF Top 100 Golf Courses in the World

Contact Details

Highland, IV2 7JL, Scotland
Visit Club Website


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