Golf Course Architecture - Issue 74, October 2023

34 TEE BOX COURSE BLUEPRINT Cabot Highlands in Inverness, Scotland, is expected to open for preview play in 2024. Development group Cabot unveiled the routing plan earlier this year, with the Tom Doak course designed around the 400-year-old castle that is located on the Castle Stuart property. “For nearly three decades I have worked with Tom,” said Don Placek, lead associate for Doak’s Renaissance Golf Design, and the graphic artist responsible for the Cabot Highlands’ routing map. “From the beginning he aimed to build interesting, compelling and varied golf holes using whatever the site inherently offered. But perhaps one of the loveliest residuals, throughout his resume, is a conscious effort to present the golf as simply ‘discovered’, rather than constructed. He would tie in even the softest new contours with their naturally existing counterparts… appearing as if they had always been there.” Placek’s responsibilities include drawing plans for Renaissance’s new designs and keeping track of Doak and his associates: Eric Iverson, Brian Slawnik, Brian Schneider and Angela Moser. “Area historical records are often the best way to engage graphic styles demonstrating course features and contours finding their way into compelling fairways and greens,” said Placek. “Clever fonts often emerge from studying the oldest drawings geographically associated with a new project. Old documents and historic records frequently disclose ideas and ways to help convey and present the third dimension in a twodimensional format. “Over the years I’ve considered the methods and media that course cartographers in the early 1900s used to display hand-drawn concepts. An aged parchment or sepia-based paper for example, or what several years ago became a personal favourite, cyanotype. A blueprint method first introduced by Sir John Herschel in the early 1840s, cyanotype was the precursor to Leonardo da Vinci’s Camera Obscura, circa 1502.” Of the Cabot Highlands routing map, Joe McDonnell, a golf artist and now head of imagery at Clayton, DeVries & Pont, said: “It’s just like a treasure map, your eye travels around the entire thing looking for the ‘X’ that marks the spot, but the real treasure is the plan itself.” Placek adds: “Consciously keeping that sense of finding something hidden or even lost for a good while, much the way a century-old golf course might also look and feel, is certainly the goal. Hopefully people enjoy ‘finding’ the old farm bothy, a permanently moored fishing trawler, St Columba’s Old Petty Church and especially – standing sentry over the site since 1625 – Castle Stuart, in this plan… as much as the pathway of the new Cabot Highlands golf holes!” Cabot Highlands The first and eighteenth holes share a fairway, while the second and seventeenth share an expansive bunker complex