The first golfers of the year have teed off at Castle Stuart Golf Links this morning as the new season opens amid worldwide interest in the venue.
The opening drives come just a few days after it was announced that golfing legend Arnold Palmer is to invest in the partnership at Castle Stuart and will collaborate with managing partner Mark Parsinen and his team to build a second course at the iconic venue. It will be Palmer’s first course in Scotland.
The news has prompted enquiries from around the world about the Moray Firth links and it is hoped it will cause a surge in visitor numbers in 2015.
Castle Stuart was already expecting a numbers boost this year ahead of hosting the Scottish Open for the fourth time in six years in 2016.
Stuart McColm, Castle Stuart Golf Links’ general manager, said: “News of our collaboration with the Arnold Palmer Group on a second course at Castle Stuart has gone global and brought this venue and the Highlands of Scotland to the attention of an international audience again.
“These are all potential visitors and could provide a real economic boost to the area. I expect interest to grow even further as the plans develop.
“The course is in exceptional condition for the new season and we look forward to an exciting year with our new partners on board and with the Scottish Open on the horizon.”
Stewart Nicol, chief executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, said the Palmer link-up is a significant development for Castle Stuart and one that will pay dividends for Inverness and the Highlands. “What Castle Stuart Golf Links has achieved in such a short number of years since it opened is remarkable. The world-wide attention this partnership with the Arnold Palmer Group is getting, and will continue to get, cannot be overestimated and will bring real benefits for Castle Stuart and the Highland economy.”
The Arnold Palmer Group confirmed last week it will collaborate on a second 18-hole course at Castle Stuart to complement the existing links, built by Parsinen and Gil Hanse and which has achieved world-wide acclaim since opening in 2009.
Plans for the venue’s second iconic course will be submitted within two months and it is envisaged work will get underway early next year. It is planned to have the new links open for use by 2019.
The Palmer Tribute course will be the seven-time Major Champion’s homage to the Home of Golf and will celebrate his love of links golf.
Castle Stuart Golf Links has achieved global acclaim in its first six years and was placed at No. 56 on Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Courses in the World in 2013.
It staged the Scottish Open for three successive years from 2011-2013, with the 2013 championship, won by Phil Mickelson, reaching a worldwide television audience of more than 500 million, including weekend live coverage on NBC USA.
The championship, sponsored by Aberdeen Asset Management and the Scottish Government, will return to Castle Stuart in July, 2016.
Castle Stuart Golf Links www.castlestuartgolf.com
View more Golf Course News and latest list of Most-read stories