Cabot buys Castle Stuart Golf Links in Scotland with plans for a new name and a new course by Tom Doak

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Cabot, the developer that leaped into the world of golf with Cabot Cape Breton in Nova Scotia and has expanded beyond the Canadian border with projects in Florida and St. Lucia, has added to its portfolio, this time in the Scottish Highlands.

Cabot will announce this week that it has acquired Castle Stuart Golf Links and its accompanying resort amenities near Inverness, Scotland. The property will be rebranded Cabot Highlands.

Opened in 2009 with a design by Gil Hanse and the late Mark Parsinen, with holes that feature Moray Firth on one side of several fairways and bluffs to the other side, Castle Stuart Golf Links ranks No. 4 on Golfweek’s Best list of modern courses in Great Britain and Ireland.

In 2024 that course will be joined by a second 18, Cabot said, this one to be built by Tom Doak. The property also is home to a new short course that is open now for preview play and officially will open in 2023.

Castle Stuart Cabot Highlands

Castle Stuart Golf Links in Scotland will be renamed Cabot Highlands. (Courtesy of Cabot)

“Castle Stuart has been considered a benchmark of exceptional Scottish golf since it first opened thirteen years ago,” Ben Cowan-Dewar, CEO and co-founder of Cabot, said in a media release set for Tuesday that will announce the acquisition.  “We are honored 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.”

The property will feature boutique accommodations, and Cabot said real estate will be a major part of the expansion with sales expected to begin in 2023. The property will feature upscale cabins that homeowners can rent to resort guests when the owners are not in residence. Featured activities for guests and property owners will include hiking, cycling, fishing, falconry, horseback riding and more. The property’s features include views of Kessock Bridge and Chanonry Lighthouse

“I couldn’t think of a better partner than Cabot to lead our next chapter,” said Stuart McColm, general manager of Castle Stuart and the forthcoming Cabot Highlands. “The work that’s been done at Cabot Cape Breton on the courses and within the community speaks for itself, and I know our beloved founder, Mark Parsinen, would be proud of the plans ahead to fulfill his original vision for the destination. Not only is this significant golf news, it is also a major boost for the regional economy of the Highlands.”

Cabot has been busy announcing expansions in the past couple years. The company took off in 2012 in Nova Scotia with Cabot Links, a Rod Whitman design that ranks No. 2 on Golfweek’s Best list of modern Canadian courses. That course was joined in 2015 by Cabot Cliffs, a Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw design that ranks No. 1 on that modern Canadian list.

In the Caribbean, the Coore and Crenshaw design at Cabot St. Lucia is slated to open in early 2023. In Canada, the company announced last year the development of Cabot Revelstoke in British Columbia, which will feature a course designed by Whitman that is scheduled to open in 2024. And in Florida, Cabot has purchased the former World Woods, rebranded it Citrus Farms and is having its two courses renovated by Kyle Franz and the team of Keith Rhebb and Riley Johns with a planned reopening in 2023.

Castle Stuart Cabot Highlands

The namesake castle at Castle Stuart, around which Tom Doak will build a new course slated to open in 2024 as past of the property’s rebranding as Cabot Highlands (Courtesy of Cabot)

The new layout at Cabot Highlands will be the first by Doak for the company. That course will play around the property’s namesake 400-year-old castle and across expansive land with several holes along the water, Cabot said. Doak plans to start construction in 2023.

“I’m thrilled to partner with Ben Cowan-Dewar and the Cabot team,” said Doak, who has built courses around the world, including The Renaissance Club in Scotland. “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 center.”