Planners have given their unanimous support for a second championship golf course to be built at the renowned Castle Stuart Golf Links in partnership with the Arnold Palmer Group.
Detailed plans to develop the Palmer Tribute course adjacent to the existing links, which hosts next week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, were lodged with Highland Council in October.
The council’s South Planning Applications Committee approved the proposal, with committee chairman Jimmy Gray saying it was an extremely welcome development.
Stuart McColm, general manager at Castle Stuart Golf Links, said: “We are extremely pleased that the committee has approved plans for a second world class course at Castle Stuart Golf Links.
“This decision will allow preparations to continue towards construction getting under way later this year.
“The new course will provide a huge economic boost for Inverness, the Highlands and Scotland. It will strengthen the Highlands’ position as a leading golfing destination and, along with new transport links, help visitors regard it as a gateway for visitors to the Home of Golf.”
“Together with the Arnold Palmer Group, we are acutely aware it has to be developed in the correct way, with community backing and with the support of local and national statutory bodies to protect a sensitive environment.
“As a report to the committee pointed out, our work on the existing course has demonstrated we can create something with worldwide appeal to bring benefit to the area while working within the regulatory framework.”
In 2014 Castle Stuart was awarded the GEO Certified ecolabel, an international symbol of ‘great golf environments’, which recognises golf clubs that have met high standards for performance in nature conservation, water and energy efficiency, ethical and environmental supply chain, pollution control and community engagement, one of only a handful to be awarded in the UK.
The Palmer Tribute course will be golf legend Arnold Palmer’s first course in Scotland.
The Arnold Palmer Group (APG) is investing in the current partnership at Castle Stuart and senior architects from the Arnold Palmer Design Company (APDC) are lined up to join the on-site team to design and build the new course.
Arnold Palmer, 86, who visited Castle Stuart last year, said the team’s aim is to “create something truly special”.
It is predicted that about 30 jobs will be created during the initial 14-month construction period, with ten posts retained for a further year. An additional 20 jobs will be created on site, including greenkeepers, clubhouse staff and a marketing, sales and admin team.
Routing of the new course will ensure that at least seven holes will have the iconic 17th century Castle Stuart in sight, with ten holes having sea views and five having a local burn featured as both a strategic and an aesthetic element
Castle Stuart Golf Links opened in 2009 and has achieved global acclaim in its first seven years. 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.
The championship, sponsored by Aberdeen Asset Management and the Scottish Government, returns to Castle Stuart from 7-10 July 2016.
Castle Stuart Golf Links www.castlestuartgolf.com