Lorne Smith of Fine Golf on CS
Castle Stuart Golf Links has been conceived in homage to the aspects of links golf that make it a game about “shot-making, creativity and imagination… where you can still loft a high ball, but you can also make use of contours to play more inventive shots that roll up to the target… it’s all about the running game… the core of FineGolf” (Lorne Smith). We at Castle Stuart embrace the game on the ground and agree with Lorne Smith of finegolf.co.uk about the endearing playing characteristics of fast-and-firm fescue-based playing surfaces on the sandy-soil structures that define the perfect links land. In Castle Stuart’s course design, we have emphasised the following:
“On the whole, let the player see the result of a good play; let him see his shot carry a hazard, his drive take a favorable contour, or his approach nestle close to a pin… Green contours and especially those at the edges should reflect the topography of surrounding landforms and be readable or at least intuited from considerable distance. Intuitive perception from distance is important; green contours and those at the edges have meaning to the links-style forward release of the ball and therefore to angles of approach which result from lines of play chosen at the tee. Some driving lines should be rewarded with angles into green contours that are favourable (e.g., that can gather a releasing ball toward a desirable position or deflect a release from an undesirable one) or easy to gauge (e.g., that allow a straight-and-true release rather than a deflecting one); conversely, other driving lines should result in angles which turn green contours from supportive or manageable to troublesome or confounding. Let the player come to realize that some contours within the green and near its edges are to be used while others are to be avoided; contours are always to be considered; greenside bunkers and abrupt falloffs (a severe form of contour) should be coordinated with the concept of contours and approach angles. Greens and their immediate surrounds should be generous enough to constitute manageable targets under windy conditions, and should provide for running shots under the wind, especially from the preferred angle of approach” (excerpted from Castle Stuart Course Design Goals 2004 by Mark Parsinen).
And as Lorne Smith has noted, Castle Stuart is “a unique, fast-running course in a stunningly picturesque location. The philosophical heart of the design of this course is in the right place.” If links-style opportunities for playing an inventive ground game versus an aerial-approach-only game seem of interest, please visit and enjoy Lorne Smith’s website finegolf.co.uk and read the article “The Finer Things in Life” about Lorne Smith in Golf Monthly UK after downloading the PDF attached here.