Changes made to formidable bunker on sixth hole at Castle Stuart

Changes made to formidable bunker on sixth hole at Castle Stuart
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

The front part of a fearsome bunker to the right of the sixth green at Castle Stuart Golf Links near Inverness, Scotland, has been filled in and turfed over.

The move comes ahead of the course’s opening for the 2017 season, which is set to take place later this week.

Co-designed by managing partner Mark Parsinen and architect Gil Hanse, the Castle Stuart course first opened back in 2009.

Golfers visiting in 2017 however will find the ominous bunker on the sixth hole filled with nearly 300 tons of sand and covered with 400 square feet of turf.

Before the work took place, the bunker featured high banks of around 3-4 ft, with any player unfortunate enough to find themselves tackling it more often than not dropping shots.

The 560-yard par five hole remains a tricky prospect however, and two new bunkers were created at 320 yards ahead of the 2016 season.

“The change makes the hole more playable for our higher handicap players, but it still presents a real challenge to the lower handicappers who now have a number of recovery options: flop shot, bump and run or even a long putt,” explained Chris Haspell, Castle Stuart’s course manager.

35 yards have also been added to the course’s opening tee shot ahead of the 2017 season. This has been achieved by moving green boxes back to white tee boxes, and white boxes to the black tee-off locations.

“The idea behind this is that it makes the opening tee shot slightly more challenging without it being too intimidating,” Haspell said. “We hope these small but significant alterations will give our players a new type of test and make the whole experience more enjoyable.”

Construction of a second course at Castle Stuart is expected to commence this summer. Parsinen is working with architects Brandon Johnson and Thad Layton of Arnold Palmer Design on the design for this course.