Hundreds of golfers teed off for the first time yesterday in glorious sunshine on a new course in Inverness – described as the “best inland course in the Highlands”.
The King’s Golf Club replaces the former Torvean course which moved to allow the construction of the new West Link bypass.
As the work went on, golfers were able to play on a hybrid course until yesterday, when all 18 holes opened for the first time.
Club secretary Graham Ramsay said: “It is a fantastic day for the club, and such a glorious day to celebrate the new course.
“It provides a lovely challenge to golfers of all ability, with every hole different.
“It is perfectly designed, with water hazards and bunkers suitably placed. I would say it is the best inland course in the Highlands.
“There is no reason why we can’t be sitting behind Dornoch, Castle Stuart and Nairn.”
It has a yardage of 6,612 (5,584 for ladies) with the shortest hole being the 10th at 159 yards and the longest being the 15th at 570 yards.
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The course has been designed by Scottish golf architect Stuart Rennie, his first new-build course project.
The Torvean course opened as a nine-holer in 1962 and was extended to eighteen in 1988.
Originally a council-run facility, the golf club took it over some twenty years ago, but the land remained in council ownership, leased to the club.
When the proposed West Link, which has been termed ‘the gateway to the Highlands’ aimed to reduce city centre congestion and ease travel between the A9, A96 and A82 trunk roads, was routed straight through the golf course, Highland Council was obligated to provide a like-for-like golf facility.
In 2012, Mr Rennie was appointed to design the new course, which occupies land to the north-west of the old one.
He said: “I was only 32 when I was appointed, very young to win such a job, and, let us be honest, there are not that many new golf course projects around at the moment.
“So obviously this has been a hugely important project for me, and I have put my heart and soul into it.”
Members & Visitors, we hope you are as excited about the soft opening of our new course tomorrow as we are ! It has…
A new clubhouse has also been built.
Mr Rennie said: “During construction we had to ensure that there were always eighteen holes available for members to play, but we also had to have the new course open by 2019, so that phase two of the road construction can start.”
Course manager Stevie McIntosh said: “There has been talk in Inverness for many years about the potential relocation of the Torvean course, so we are thrilled finally to see it come to fruition.
“Stuart Rennie has created an inland gem in Inverness, which will rival most of the north of Scotland’s classic links.”