New Tom Doak design coming to acclaimed Top 100 property in Scotland

At Castle Stuart, Mark Parsinen collaborated with Gil Hanse on a links that rollicks over bluffs and along the Moray Firth.

getty images

Castle Stuart Golf Links, in Scotland, one of GOLF’s World Top 100 Courses, has a new owner, a new name and big plans in the works.

On Monday, Cabot, the company co-founded by Canadian businessman Ben Cowan-Dewar and Bandon Dunes developer Mike Keiser, announced its acquisition of the Scottish property, which it has renamed Cabot Highlands. Operations at the course will continue uninterrupted, but upgrades to the destination are in store, as Cabot plans to add accommodations, for-sale real estate and, most notably for golfers, a second 18-hole course, designed by the acclaimed architect Tom Doak.

“Our goal has always been to create unforgettable memories in magical places, and this certainly fits the bill,” Cowan-Dewar said. “It’s such a marvelous destination in such a wonderful part of the world, the opportunity was almost too good to be true.”

Five minutes from the Inverness airport and within striking distance of such marquee Highlands courses as Royal Dornoch, Nairn and Brora, Castle Stuart has been a design-world darling since its opening in 2009. It was the brainchild of Mark Parsinen, who also built Kingbarns, in St. Andrews. At Castle Stuart, Parsinen collaborated with Gil Hanse on a links that rollicks over bluffs and along the Moray Firth, with infinity-edged greens, backed by the water, and long views of the Highlands. The course ranks 77th on GOLF’s current World Top 100 roster and four times has played host to the Scottish Open.

Castle Stuart has played host to four Scottish Opens. getty images

The purchase of Castle Stuart is the latest headline-making move by the Cabot team, whose growing portfolio of destination includes Cape Breton, in Nova Scotia (home of two of GOLF’s World Top 100 Courses, Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs) and a pair of highly anticipated projects: Cabot Saint Lucia, set for late 2022 on the island of the same name; and Cabot Revelstoke, now in progress in British Columbia. Earlier this year, Cabot also acquired its first U.S. property, 45-hole World Woods, in Florida, which is now undergoing renovations and has been renamed Cabot Citrus Farms.

At their Highlands destination, Cowan-Dewar said that he and the Cabot team were proud to carry on the legacy of Parsinen, who died in 2019, at age 70. Along with the original course at Castle Stuart, Parsinen had long envisioned a par-3 course and a second 18-hole course. That short course was recently completed will have its grand opening next year (it is currently open to limited preview play). Construction on the new Doak-designed 18, which will be routed around a 400-year-old castle, will begin next year with an opening scheduled for 2024.

Real estate sales will begin at Cabot Highlands in 2023.

josh sens

Josh Sens Contributor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.