First look at new Doak course at Cabot Highlands

  • Cabot Highlands

    Don Placek’s illustration of the new Tom Doak course at Cabot Highlands in Inverness, Scotland

  • Cabot Highlands

    The first and eighteenth holes share a fairway, while the second and seventeenth share an expansive bunker complex

  • Cabot Highlands

    Moray Firth’s tidal estuary comes into play at the par-five fifteenth

  • Cabot Highlands

    Green to tee connections will be a feature at Cabot Highlands

  • Cabot Highlands
    Cookie Jar

    The new course will join Castle Stuart, the 2009 design by Gil Hanse and the late Mark Parsinen, at Cabot Highlands

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Development group Cabot has unveiled the routing plan for the new Tom Doak course at Cabot Highlands in Inverness, Scotland, which is expected to open for preview play in 2024.

Cabot acquired Castle Stuart, a four-time Scottish Open venue, in summer 2022, and renamed the resort Cabot Highlands. The course designed by Gil Hanse and the late Mark Parsinen in 2009 continues as Castle Stuart.

The venue, which runs along the shores of Moray Firth, is near to Inverness Airport and some of Scotland’s famous courses, including Royal Dornoch, Nairn, Brora and Skibo Castle. Having taken ownership in 2022, Cabot is aiming to creating a resort that will join Scotland’s must-play lists.

The new Doak course will be designed around the property’s 400-year-old castle and incorporate the site’s natural contours, hillsides, expansive open land and water.

“As architects, our greatest joy is to try and sort out the best way to have fun over a raw piece of ground, but the ultimate success would be to leave the golfer the same sort of puzzle,” said Doak.

Shared fairways and hazards feature at both the start and end of the round, with the first and eighteenth – a pair of par fours – crossing over one another, the second and seventeenth sharing an expansive bunker complex, and the third and sixteenth sharing a fairway.

A stream is in play on the fifth, eighth and ninth, while Moray Firth’s tidal estuary impacts strategy on two holes. The par-five fifteenth runs alongside the estuary, which must then be carried from the tee on the par-four sixteenth.

“In the historic home of golf, we looked to Tom to create something special, and perhaps unconventional by modern standards,” said Ben Cowan-Dewar, CEO and co-founder of Cabot. “His vision of resurrecting an old true-links style course will serve as a great complement to the beloved Castle Stuart Golf Links. We hope to create an awe-inspiring destination anchored by incredible golf that will stand the test of time for generations to come.”

A grand opening for the new course is expected in 2025.

“Since opening our 2023 golf season at Cabot Highlands, we have been met with incredible excitement from our community and visitors alike,” said general manager Stuart McColm. “Ben and the Cabot team are the perfect stewards for our historic property, and working alongside a visionary such as Tom Doak sets the stage for a remarkable resort and golf experience that would make our beloved founder, Mark Parsinen, very proud.”

Work at the resort will also include an expanded 11,000-square-foot clubhouse and up to 25 accommodations, with sales for real estate to begin in early 2024.