The King’s Course in Inverness, located at the renamed King’s GC (formerly Torvean GC), has opened today.
The course, which replaces an existing eighteen holes that will be lost to the construction of the new Inverness West Link road, 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. As such, when the proposed West Link – the so-called ‘Gateway to the Highlands’ which aims to reduce city centre congestion and ease travel between the A9, A96 and A82 trunk roads – was routed straight through the course, the Highland Council was obligated to provide a like-for-like golf facility.
After a competitive master-planning exercise back in 2012, Rennie was appointed to design the new course, which occupies land to the north-west of the old one.
“I was only 32 when I was appointed to design the course, 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,” said Rennie. “So, obviously, this has been a hugely important project for me, and I have put my heart and soul into it.”
Sixteen holes of the course occupy the new land, while the first and eighteenth are on land that was previously home to three holes of the old course. A new clubhouse has also been built.
“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,” said Rennie.
He added that the move to new land will see members and guests face a very different sort of course.
“The old course was pretty flat but now we have a nice, undulating site,” he explained. “There are 65 metres of elevation change between the top and bottom of the site. The soil is quite nice – sandy and gravelly, although it had been arable farmland. We were able to build a very lay-of-the-land course. All in, we moved less than 100,000 cubmic metres of earth.”
Course manager Stevie McIntosh added: “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.
“We are only moving across the road but we’re going to a self-contained high quality new facility with clubhouse, maintenance facility and golf course. Stuart Rennie has created an inland gem, which will rival most of the north of Scotland’s classic links.”