European Golf Vacations

One of the World’s Best New Courses Suffers Landslides

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Castle Stuart, the new "must play" on Scotland golf vacations, suffered landslides during its hosting of the Scottish Open. (Photo courtesty of Castle Stuart.)

I normally don’t follow the European Tour too closely, but this past weekend’s Scottish Open was played at Castle Stuart, which Golf Odyssey called in 2009, “the most important course opening in Great Britain and Ireland-and arguably the world.”

Unfortunately, if you tuned in like me, you saw a landslide, and I’m not talking about Luke Donald shooting a nine under par 63 in the final round to rocket him past the rest of the field.

No, there were actual landslides.

The area of Inverness, Scotland got so much rain, some ridges on the course gave way, spilling mud and debris across its fairways and marring what was to be the course’s internationally televised coming out party.

It really was a shame, because if the rain-soaked event was your first look at Castle Stuart (castlestuartgolf.com), located between Inverness and Nairn, you might not realize that it’s a “must play” on Scotland golf vacations.

“We expect the links will be spoken of in the same breath as such iconic Scottish layouts as North Berwick, Royal Dornoch, Ailsa, Kingsbarns, Prestwick, Cruden Bay, and Machrihanish,” said the notoriously hard-to-please editors of Golf Odyssey.

The good news: I just called Castle Stuart (looking forward to seeing my next phone bill) and was told that visiting golfers will not experience any disruptions or unplayable holes.

Apparently, the grounds crew worked through the night (several of them) to put humpty dumpty back together again.

They should be commended, because here’s what the first and 12th fairways looked like. More photos here.

Have you played Castle Stuart on a recent Scotland golf vacation or is it on your itinerary for an upcoming trip? Please share your comments or questions below.

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3 Comments

  1. Dwayne Brown

    July 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Played Castle Stuart last Aug. Spectacular. My 4-some played St Andrews old and new), Kingsbarn, Turnberry, Royal Troon, Carnoustie, and Royal Dornach. The group concensus: Castle Stuart was our favorite despite lack of history. Truly a shame about mud slides. disappointed the wind didn’t blow for the pros, 30-40 mph with spitting rain when we were there. Scores prob wouldve been a little different. Definitely a must play- pair up with Royal Dornach which is north of Stuart–fantastic.

  2. Christopher DeBlois

    July 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    We played Castle Stuart twice on June 16th, just less than a month ago, and were much luckier with the weather than the pros. It is not in my opinion quite as strong a course as Royal Dornoch or Royal Aberdeen (or any of the top Open courses – Old, Turnberry, Carnoustie, or Muirfield), but it is every bit as fun as any of these (and more so than Carnoustie and MUCH more than Royal Troon). Although in many ways totally different, Mark Parsinen and Gil Hanse have found a bit of the old Augusta National flavor which the National sadly no longer offers. Driving areas are VERY generous, but on many holes position in the fairway can make a huge difference. One thing this means is that there’s plenty of challenge for the skilled player but not too much penalty for the novice. In short, a fine operation on a very good course in a beautiful setting and well worth your time (and $ – not cheap). Go, go around again, and enjoy!!

  3. jim trainor

    July 14, 2011 at 10:21 am

    what a wonderful golf course for all handicap levels….very fair off the tees but very subtle around and on the greens.The Highlands now has one more spectacular reason for every golfer to visit:Dornoch,Brora,Nairn and the Castle make for a great trip.Oh yes,last June we played all our golf in shorts and didnt need our rain gear atall

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