The worst-kept secret in Scottish golf is out: the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Scottish Open will be held at Gullane and Castle Stuart respectively.
The news, which had been heavily rumoured for several months, was confirmed at Royal Aberdeen today by First Minister Alex Salmond and European Tour chief executive George O’Grady.
A combination of holes from two Gullane’s three courses – No.1 and No.2 – will be combined to make a ‘composite’ course which will stage the championship for the first time next year, whilst Castle Stuart, near Inverness, will play host for the fourth time in 2016. It was previously used for the event between 2011 and 2013.
“These two courses are wonderful advertisements for the links game and I have every confidence that they will enhance Scotland’s reputation both as the home and future of golf,” said Salmond.
"We are delighted to have been chosen as the venue for the 2015 Scottish Open." Gullane past captain, Bruce Dunlap
O’Grady added: “At Gullane, we will be treated to one of the game’s most historical venues, while Castle Stuart will once again showcase a truly modern links test.”
Gullane past captain Bruce Dunlap confirmed that the ‘championship course’ for next year’s Scottish Open will, most likely, combine three holes from the No.2 course and 15 from the No.1, to make a par-71 course measuring 7,257 yards.
The fourth, fifth and 16th holes from the No.2 course, will be used as the 15th, 16th and 17th holes of the championship course. The second of the No.1 will be used as the first. The first of the No.1 course will not be used, with a new tee going in on the 18th.
“Gullane Golf Club, pictured above, has been working closely with the European Tour for a number of months and we are, therefore, delighted that they chose the club as the venue for the 2015 Scottish Open,” noted Dunlap.
“We have a long proud record of hosting championship golf over our historical courses. With some of golf’s finest scenery and magnificent links turf, and 350 years of golfing history on Gullane Hill, the club very much looks forward to welcoming some of the world’s finest golfers to next year’s Scottish Open.”
Mark Parsinen, the managing partner of Castle Stuart Golf Links, pictured above, added: “We are naturally delighted to be selected to host the 2016 Scottish Open to once again be working with the European Tour to attract some of the world’s finest golfers back to the links here at Castle Stuart.
“Not only is this a great announcement for the team at Castle Stuart, it is also wonderful news for the whole of the Highlands community, who I am sure will turn out in great numbers once again to support this flagship European Tour event and help to make it a most successful week.”
Today’s widely-anticipated news means that the Scottish Open now has ‘homes’ in the Highlands, North East and South East of Scotland – all that remains, presumably, is to find a suitable venue in the West.
Dundonald Links, in Ayrshire, has been touted to fill that void and it has been strongly hinted that it will get the nod for 2017.
In a further announcement, it was confirmed today that, from next year, a new 54-hole qualifying event for the Scottish Open will be held for Scottish golfers the weekend preceding the tournament, with six spots in the field up for grabs. Full details on this event will be revealed at a future date.
Scottish Open :: Future Venues :: Your Thoughts
What do you think about news of the Scottish Open moving to Gullane in 2015 and returning to Castle Stuart in 2016? Leave your thoughts in our 'Comments' section below.