Castle Stuart Golf Links in Inverness was last week named Golf Course of the Year at the Golf Tourism Scotland Gold Standard Awards held at the Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa in North Berwick, Scotland.
Still in just its first full year of operation, Castle Stuart, designed by Gil Hanse and Mark Parsinen, beat off opposition from the Old Course at St Andrews and Kingsbarns Golf Links by winning the most votes from the members of Golf Tourism Scotland. Accepting the award, general manager Stuart McColm thanked head greenkeeper Chris Haspell and his team and highlighted the resort’s commitment to providing the very best overall experience, exclaiming that “the Highlands is alive and well.”
Castle Stuart managing partner Parsinen also received the Special Achievement Award, recognising his contribution to the industry through the development of both Castle Stuart and Kingsbarns near St Andrews. Accepting the award on Parsinen’s behalf, Castle Stuart partner Grant Sword described Parsinen as “a devotee of links golf in Scotland for more than 40 years.”
The Gold Standard Awards Dinner, which celebrates the best of Scottish golf tourism, was attended by over 170 people including Sandy Lyle, who presented the awards: “Playing golf in Scotland is very special indeed,” he said. “And often what makes it special, apart from the terrific courses, are the people who arrange your trip, transport you between venues or meet you at the hotels.”
“It’s been a fantastic year for golf throughout Scotland,” said chairman of Golf Tourism Scotland Nick Hunter. “We’ve hosted a number of high-profile tour events which have showcased exactly why playing golf here is so special. And despite tough times, our members have upped their game so that once again our facilities have improved and our standards of service have been fine-tuned. The Gold Standard Awards recognise the very best exponents of this process, but I think the golf industry generally should be congratulated for a job well done.”