Tom Doak, David McLay Kidd at the center of recent new resort golf course announcements

Golf course news & notes: July, 2022
Castle Stuart Golf Links recently became part of the Cabot portfolio of courses and resorts. Tom Doak will be building a second course on the property in 2024.

At this rate, the 2020s might go down as the greatest decade in the history of new golf course construction.

The number of exciting new builds either in progress or recently announced may not be as large in volume as it would have been in the 1990s or early 2000s, but the average quality of course being built is off-the-charts good.

And in recent weeks, it's gotten even better thanks to two big announcements from beloved one-course facilities that will soon have two stunning big layouts with which to attract adventurous golfers.

The first bit of news comes from Scotland, by way of Canada. Cabot, the golf resort company that developed Cabot Cape Breton in remote northern Nova Scotia a decade ago, recently purchased Castle Stuart Golf Links in - stop me if you've heard this before - remote northern Scotland. Castle Stuart's Gil Hanse-designed golf course opened in 2009 to immediate acclaim, landing four Scottish Opens, including the 2013 edition, won by Phil Mickelson the week before he captured the 2013 Open Championship. Castle Stuart developer Mark Parsinen had planned to expand the footprint of his resort beyond 18 holes, but he passed away in 2019 with plans for a second course in existence but more or less shelved.

Now, Cabot, owned by developer Ben Cowan-Dewar, seeks to carry on Parsinen's legacy and fulfill his dream of turning what will now be called Cabot Highlands into a focal point for golfers visiting the rugged Scottish Highlands.

In keeping with Bandon Dunes developer and Cabot supporter Mike Keiser's "1+1=3" equation when it comes to turning a curiosity into a destination, Cabot has hired Tom Doak to build a new 18-hole course beside Castle Stuart, which is set to open in 2024 and will wind around a 400-year-old castle on the property. Cabot Highlands also just finished building a par-3 course, which will open next year.

Cabot now has exciting golf courses in various stages of construction at four different sites worldwide. In January, they purchased the former World Woods Golf Club in Brooksville, Fla., renaming it Cabot Citrus Farms with the promise of overhauling the existing 45-hole footprint. Kyle Franz and Mike Nuzzo are among the architects currently attached to that project. Down in the Caribbean, Cabot St. Lucia's Point Hardy Golf Club is expected to open this fall. Finally, 3,000 miles west of the company's original property, Cabot Revelstoke in British Columbia, with a golf course designed by Cabot Links architect Rod Whitman, is beginning to take shape in the Canadian Rockies.

The grounds around a 400-year-old castle will be a defining feature of Tom Doak's new golf course at Cabot Highlands.

Kidd adds two U.S. projects

David McLay Kidd, who burst onto the scene when he laid out the original Bandon Dunes course at just 26 years of age, continues to be rewarded for his unique design style with exciting new projects. In central Washington, he will return to Gamble Sands, whose original course in 2014 overlooks the Columbia River and is lauded for its scenery and player-friendly design. Kidd followed up with the adventurous 14-hole QuickSands short course in 2021, and has been hired to build a second big course on the rolling high-desert property. That 18-hole layout, as yet unnamed, will break ground later this year with an eye on a full opening in 2025. The on-site Inn at Gamble Sands is also set for a major expansion.

In the meantime, Kidd is hard at work on GrayBull, which will be the first built-from-scratch club in the popular Dormie Network, a collection of destination private clubs whose members have the run of half a dozen courses the company has bought up over several years, including its namesake Dormie Club in Pinehurst, N.C. Located in the sand hills of Nebraska close to the town of North Platte, GrayBull is expected to open in 2024.

More golf course news and notes

Congaree, a South Carolina club that hosted a PGA Tour event in 2021, returns to the schedule in October with the CJ Cup.

CONGAREE LANDS SECOND PGA TOUR EVENT - With COVID restrictions making it difficult to hold big-time golf events in Asia, the originally Korea-based CJ Cup has been contested the last two years in Las Vegas, at Shadow Creek (2020) and the Summit Club (2021). But this fall, it comes east, and will be held at Congaree, a private club in South Carolina with a philanthropic mission. In 2021, Congaree hosted an ad hoc PGA Tour event, the Palmetto Championship won by Garrick Higgo and received rave reviews from players. [LINK: The State]

NEW GREEN AT PEBBLE BEACH - The idea of changing one of golf's dozen or so most famous holes is daunting, but Pebble Beach Resorts managed to fly under the radar with a project to adjust the severity of the slope of its iconic 8th green. The hole had played to a temporary one for the last two months, but the real thing recently reopened.

FOUR-COURSE SOUTH FLORIDA COMMUNITY RENOVATION - Boca West, one of Florida's largest clubs, will see all 72 of its holes altered by the firm of Fry/Straka in the coming years. The project is billed as a "redevelopment," which makes one wonder if a reduction in the golf complement is in the plan. Boca West has courses designed by Pete Dye, Jim Fazio and Arnold Palmer. Firm principal Jason Straka is the current president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA). [LINK: Boca Raton Tribune]

THE SWEETENS COVE OF LONG ISLAND? - Heritage Spy Ring Golf Club, a Tyler Rae design currently taking shape on the North Shore of Long Island, hopes to attract golf pilgrims with its unique and adventurous design in much the same way as Sweetens Cove, the Tennessee nine that has parlayed a cult following into sustained success and acclaim for its own architects, Rob Collins and Tad King. [LINK: Golf on Long Island]

GOLF-ADJACENT - Stephen Curry got punched by a Muppet, a mini-golf course owner won $250,000 and a TV writer nearly lost his mind with excitement. Only Holey Moley could make all this happen. [LINK: UPROXX]

July 27, 2018
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Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
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Tom Doak, David McLay Kidd at the center of recent new resort golf course announcements