Our next stop was the home of the Barclay’s Scottish Open. Castle Stuart is just outside of Inverness by the airport. It took us about 30 minutes from Nairn to get there. Castle Stuart premiered in Golf Magazine’s 2011 rankings as the 56 best course in the world, and since it was the home of the Scottish Open, we were all incredibly excited to play this venue. In addition, the course was built by the creator of Kingbarns, a course we were going to play later in the trip, so our interest level in this golf course was extremely high. I wish I could say that this is a can’t miss place to play on your trip to Scotland, but I would say just the opposite. Castle Stuart just is about the most contrived and manufactured golf course I have ever played. It is almost like the course was designed by committee. There is really nothing to speak of here, I’m sad to say. Sure, it has some nice views, and a couple of the holes are great (11: a 144 yard par three into the teeth of the wind, with water left and behind is awesome), but that is not enough to bring me back. At 170 GBP, or approximately $250.00 US, this course is definitely worth skipping. Also, there is nothing all that Scottish about it. Even the clubhouse looks like a class B office building in the suburbs. It could be any course anywhere in the world, and actually feels more like a boring American course. Now, it could have been the particular day, or the fact that we had just played some incredible golf at Turnberry, Prestwick, Royal Dornoch. Castle Stuart may have just suffered by comparison. Had we played the course early on we may have loved it. It could have also been the fact that we played in the opposite of the prevailing winds so the golf course did not play the way it was intended. Whatever the case, at the price charged per round, I would give Castle Stuart a relatively low value for the dollar. If you want to play it so you can say you played the course where the Scottish Open is held, then by all means, go play. But be aware that the course looks nothing like it looks on TV, or the video on their website (which they did a magnificent job on, by the way). In my opinion, if the Barclay’s were not held there, Castle Stuart would command a much lower price per round, and then it might be a worthwhile venture. But at the price they charge it really was a disappointment for us. Next Stop: Royal Aberdeen home golf course of the Royal Family of Great Britian.