Highlands farmer hopes to build new 'world class' Scottish course

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A Scottish farmer has outlined ambitious plans to build a brand new, "world class" golf development in the Scottish Highlands.

Robert Mackenzie has commissioned an unnamed but leading course designer to draw up plans for an 18-hole layout on the 300-acre site of the Pitcalzean Mains farm he owns in Nigg, just south of Tain.

According to the Press & Journal, the development is also expected to include two nine-hole courses, a driving range and practice area, and a clubhouse with a restaurant, bar and accommodation.

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It is thought that the finished development - incorporating part of the former Nigg Golf Course - could create 25 full-time jobs. Assuming everything goes to plan, ground could be broken this winter with the course opening in April 2023.

“People I’ve spoken to suggest there is a need for one or more top-end courses in the area to help develop it more as a golfing destination," said Mackenzie. “I love history and the fact that I could potentially build a golf course that already has 130 years of history is exciting."

Pitcalzean Mains

“I was born and bred in Nigg and the Nigg yard has been an important part of the economy. But over the years we’ve lost a hotel, school, shop and church and I think this is a way of regenerating the area while still allowing the yard to expand.

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“There is definitely room to realise other aspirations alongside industry. Anything I do is going to improve the site, while improving biodiversity, the core path network and beach access and will have a positive impact for the whole community.”

Another proposed Highlands development, Coul Links, was rejected at the planning stage last year and, despite suggestions that it could be resurrected, its future remains very much uncertain. 

Unlike Coul, however, Mackenzie's site is not designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is unlikely to be entangled in similar red tape. 

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It is understood that Mackenzie plans to submit a request for an Environmental Impact Assessment Screening & Scoping Opinion from Highland Council in the next stage of the project's development.

The original Nigg Golf Course was built in 1890 and was widely regarded to be one of the finest 'natural' courses in the world. However, it was mostly lost during the Second World War and finally closed in the 1960s.

Main pic: Press & Journal / DC Thomson Media

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