A Canadian development company has bought Castle Stuart and plans to build a second golf course at the site near Inverness Airport.

Castle Stuart’s art deco clubhouse.

Castle Stuart was voted the world’s best new course by Golf magazine when it opened in 2009, and has since hosted the Scottish Open four times.

New owners, Cabot, hopes to begin constructing a second course next year, with an estimated completion date in 2024.

Cabot states it also has plans to build accommodation, shops and restaurants on the site overlooking the Moray Firth.

Ben Cowan-Dewar, the Canadian company’s CEO, said: “Castle Stuart has been synonymous with the region since it first opened 13 years ago.

“We are honoured to be a steward of the land and carry the original vision for the property forward. 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.”

Lee Westwood during the 2012 Scottish Open at Castle Stuart.

Mark Parsinen, the man responsible for the original Castle Stuart development, died in June 2019.

His business partner Grant Sword, who is now retiring, said: “I wouldn’t have missed the journey for all the tea in China.

“Working with my friend and our founder, Mark, was a privilege. He was an artist at what he did and he was never happier at work than when he was in the field.

“He empowered the team at Castle Stuart and they responded by always finding creative solutions and establishing a superb culture of excellent customer service.

“Myself, the partners, and more importantly Mark’s wife Dede and the family, are all unanimous that this is a really exciting way forward.”

Mr Sword also spoke in glowing terms about the new Canadian owners.

He said: “What Ben has done at Cabot is amazing. He and his team have been a joy to work with in finalising this deal and the process has been enormously respectful on all sides.

“Cabot is a perfect fit for Castle Stuart and I’m certain the future is rosy. I will be able to enjoy my retirement and playing golf at Cabot Highlands, knowing that Mark’s vision will be taken forward and enhanced by a wonderful team.”

The second course will be designed by the golf course architect Tom Doak.

Like the existing course it will have significant water frontage but will sit lower with less wind exposure

Mr Doak said: “We have been searching for the perfect destination for years. Our goal is to create a distinctly Scottish golf experience that appeals to players at all levels with an authentic links-style course that puts the golf holes front and centre.”

Cabot operates several golf resorts in Canada, including the award-winning Cabot Cape Breton in Nova Scotia.

The Cabot Saint Lucia resort is set to open on the Caribbean island next year, while the Cabot Revelstoke is also currently in development in British Columbia.

In addition, the developer recently announced the acquisition of its first US property in Central West Florida, which will be known as Cabot Citrus Farms.

Colin Montgomerie on the green with the 17th century castle in the background.Colin Montgomerie on the green with the 17th century castle in the background.

Castle Stuart’s current general manager, Stuart McColm, will continue to play a leading role following the purchase.

He said: “I can’t think of a better partner than Cabot to lead our next chapter.

“The work they’ve done at Cabot Cape Breton on the courses and within the community speaks for itself.

“The cultures of Cabot and Castle Stuart are a perfect fit.

“Together we are committed to providing golfers with fun and enjoyable courses in stunning locations as well as providing top class customer service.

“The future is hugely exciting and we can’t wait to deliver on the many great plans for Cabot Highlands that will bring a significant boost to the region’s economy while at the same time delivering a very special, world class golfing experience.”

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