A crowd-funding campaign has been launched to help realise long-standing plans for a new, world-class golf develop in the Highlands.
Communities for Coul (C4C), a not-for-profit company set up by locals in the Dornoch Firth, is encouraging golf fans from near and far to contribute to the drive.
At its heart is the new Mike Keiser golf course, which will fund a comprehensive environmental management plan that will restore and protect the entire Coul Links Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), on the east coast of Sutherland.
As well as perpetually protecting the wonderful wild coastal environment, the development would create much-needed employment for local people and further enhance the reputation of the area as a globally important destination for golfers.
Working with internationally renowned course developer and environmentalist Mike Keiser and the acclaimed golf architects Coore & Crenshaw, C4C submitted a scoping application for the project to The Highland Council earlier this month.
C4C aims to apply for full planning permission this summer and, if the project is approved, work on both the golf course and the environmental management plan will commence next year.
C4C hopes fans of Scottish links golf from the UK and around the world will contribute to their crowdfunding campaign, launched to help them meet the costs of detailed environmental and economic studies and expertise they need to ensure they have the best chance of success.
Andy Stewart, of C4C, said: “Currently, the course at Royal Dornoch, which is known and loved by golfers around the world, attracts more than 15,000 visitors-a-year, but the majority of them leave the area after their round.
“Coul Links, combined with Royal Dornoch and the excellent golf courses at Brora, Golspie and Tain, is the key to creating the best new golfing destination in the UK.
“Importantly, Mike Keiser and Coore & Crenshaw have made several material alterations in the design and build process which will improve the environmental sensitivity of the Coul Links project, compared to a previous application.
“These changes have not altered their enthusiasm and confidence to build one of the finest links courses in the world here.”
As a result of the environmental plan at Coul Links, eco-tourists are expected to increasingly visit and stay in the area.
An eco-friendly shuttle system will link the neighbouring communities of Brora, Golspie, Embo, Dornoch and Tain, helping to spread tourism across East Sutherland, create year-round employment opportunities and invigorate the village of Embo and the towns and golf clubs of Brora, Golspie and Tain.
Mr Stewart added: “This is an exciting and important project that has the potential to bring lasting benefits to our area, as well as providing a unique experience for golfers.
“We cannot achieve it alone, though, which is why we have launched this fund-raising effort. We know there are many lovers of links golf and the Scottish Highlands around the world and we hope that they will consider lending us their support to help us realise our vision.”
Anyone interested in making a donation to the project can do so easily and securely here.
Full details of C4C’s plans are available on the website, along with information on the range of rewards for people who contribute.