It may have taken Arnold Palmer, ASGCA Fellow, and his Arnold Palmer Design Company some time to find the right piece of land in Scotland for his first design in golf’s home country, but now he is closley involved in work at Stuart Castle in the United Kingdom.
“Golf Course Architect” reports on a recent visit by “The King” to the ongoing project:
Architects Thad Layton, ASGA Associate, and Brandon Johnson of (APDC) will be working to create the new course, which will become the first course in the country to be developed by the Palmer firm.
“When it comes to locations we’d like to work, Scotland has always been at the top of our list,” Palmer said. “We appreciate Scotland as home not only to the game of golf but arguably the best collection of courses anywhere in the world. Needless to say the bar is set pretty high. Accordingly, we’ve been careful not to jump at the first opportunity to come along, deciding instead to wait on the right project.”
Following initial discussions and site visits, the APDC design team were impressed with the potential of the property, as well as the enthusiasm of the Castle Stuart team. And when looking for a new site for development, Palmer said that there is one crucial facet: sand.
“While there are a few exceptions to this rule, most of the best courses in the world have sandy, well-drained soil,” Palmer explained. “It’s no coincidence that this type of geology can be found along the coast, creating a stunning backdrop for golf. These great golf courses all have a distinct environment that makes each one a special place.”
“When searching for the next great place to build a course, the architect must look outside the boundaries of the course to key in on what will make it special. In the case of Castle Stuart, the property has a number of characteristics that are not only beautiful, but distinctly Scottish.”
The site of the new course at Castle Stuart offers a good amount of elevation change, which Palmer described as ‘not too much as to create problems building golf holes that lie naturally on the land, but not too little as to create issues with drainage’.
“We’ve tried to route the golf course in a way that takes advantage of the natural contour on the site to eliminate the need to move unnecessary earth to make a great course,” said Palmer.
The complete “GCA” article can be found here.