Castle Stuart Newest Link in Cabot Chain

Aerial view of Castle Stuart Golf Links in Scotland with the yellow gorse in bloom. (Image: Castle Stuart Golf Links)

Host of four Scottish Opens, Castle Stuart Golf Links is an acclaimed Gil Hanse-Mark Parsinen design on the Moray Firth. (Image: Castle Stuart Golf Links)

Castle Stuart Golf Links in Scotland is the latest addition to the Canadian-owned Cabot chain of master-planned golf communities. And to think it all started in a hardscrabble former mining town in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Canadians are known to be benevolent overlords.

So no need for anyone in the Scottish Highlands to fret about the recent purchase of Castle Stuart Golf Links by Ben Cowan-Dewar of Cabot Cape Breton fame. Indeed, the world-renowned property, set on the Moray Firth about 10 kilometres northeast of Inverness, will inevitably get bigger and almost certainly better. Cowan-Dewar simultaneously announced plans to build a sister course to Castle Stuart designed by Tom Doak.

“Castle Stuart has been synonymous with the region since it first opened thirteen years ago,” says Cowan-Dewar, a Toronto-based developer of master-planned golf resorts in Canada, Florida, the Caribbean and now Scotland. “Our goal is to create unforgettable memories in magical places, and there are few places in the world more awe-inspiring than the Scottish Highlands.”

Though the entire property was rebranded Cabot Highlands upon completion of the sale on June 27, the Castle Stuart course will retain its original name—the logical call considering the Gil Hanse-Mark Parsinen design has hosted four Scottish Opens and ranks among the country’s top courses.

The new course by Doak will play around Castle Stuart’s 400-year-old castle, a restored tower house on the banks of the firth. Several holes will sit alongside the water, with others winding through hillsides and open land. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2023, with completion expected sometime in 2024.

“I’m thrilled to partner with Ben Cowan-Dewar and the Cabot team,” says Doak, who last year launched his St. Patrick’s Links course in Ireland to rave reviews. “Our goal is to create a distinctly Scottish golf experience with an authentic links-style course that puts the golf holes front and centre.”

As at other Cabot sites, luxury housing will be a key component of the expanded property. The sale of houses and cottages with upscale, modern touches is expected to begin next year. When owners are not in residence, their homes will be available as luxury accommodations for visiting guests. Retail outlets, restaurants and community gathering spots are also part of the master plan.

The growth of the Cabot brand dates from the 2012 launch of the Cabot Links course in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Cabot Links and its even more famous sister course, Cabot Cliffs, a Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw collaboration opened in 2016, sparked the growth of a chain that now includes Cabot Saint Lucia (set to open in early 2023), Cabot Revelstoke (in development in the mountains of British Columbia), and Cabot Citrus Farms in Central West Florida.

Cowan-Dewar has built his success on hiring top architects who embrace the holistic design philosophy that the character of the land at each course site must dictate how fairways flow and where greens are built.

“I can’t think of a better partner than Cabot to lead our next chapter,” says Castle Stuart’s general manager, Stuart McColm, who will stay on. “The cultures of Cabot and Castle Stuart are a perfect fit. We can’t wait to deliver on the many great plans for Cabot Highlands.”