Castle Stuart Golf Links Review

18 holes, par 72, 6,553 yards. Links.

Castle Stuart has hosted the Scottish Open on several occasions. Sadly, they were blighted by heavy rain. But the course stood up to everything that the elements could throw at it and provided a rare test to some of the best golfers in the world.

Many of the holes run alongside the Moray Firth, with several others sitting on a sea cliff. It is 7,009 yards long and is a testing par 72.

The opening hole is 434 yards long and is terrifying. You stand on the tee and look out at a hole that stretches out in front of you; you’ll see the Moray Firth on the right and gorse bushes on the left, not to mention a host of bunkers. In truth, the fairway is a lot wider than you think, so don't let the hole intimidate you.

The sixth is a stunning 560-yard par five, featuring two well-placed fairway bunkers designed to catch your drive and second shot. The real feature however is the green which is long and narrow, very testing and appears to be perched in the water. You’ll actually find that there is plenty of room… but beware of the two deep bunkers!

The 15th is a beautiful par four, measuring 421 yards. With the wind behind it is fairly straightforward, although an approach struck too firmly may well end up on the beach. The drive is struck to a plateau, with bunkers left and right. The approach is really tricky - apart from the perils awaiting at the back; pull the ball left and you will be reaching into your bag to dig out another one.

The 18th is a magnificent par five, measuring 595 yards from the championship tees. The drive is blind, with the ideal line being the Saltire flying from the clubhouse roof in the distance - get the line right and the chances are that your drive will get a good kick forward and you may be able to consider having a go at the green in two shots. But go too far right and you can forget it. The green is the biggest on the course but slopes from left to right, so therefore calls for an accurate approach that takes that into account.

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Derek Clements

Author, Derek Clements

Derek Clements is a golf journalist - he has covered many Open Championships and European Tour events, as well as The Masters. Born in Glasgow, he writes for The Sunday Times and Golfshake, and has also written for Today's Golfer, the Daily Mail, Swing by Swing and many other golf websites, magazines and newspapers. He has played golf all over the world and numbers Gleneagles, Kingsbarns and Aldeburgh as his three favourite golf courses in the United Kingdom. He lives in Suffolk, is a member of Waldringfield Golf Club and has a handicap of nine. He had lessons from the late Bob Torrance and has worked with Jean-Jacques Rivet, one of the world's leading golf biomechanists.