The Highland Council is gearing up to play its part in the latest big event to take place in the area – the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open – to be played at the Castle Stuart Golf Links, near Inverness, from Thursday 12 July until Sunday 15 July. The Council has been working closely with the European Tour, the owners of the golf links, the police, Stagecoach, HIE and Event Scotland to ensure that the organisation of the event runs smoothly.
This includes supporting, promoting and licensing the event, assisting in putting in place a traffic management scheme and ensuring that more than 400 young golfers from throughout the Highlands can take part in fun events supported by ClubGolf. The Council and the Inverness Common Good Fund have contributed £56,000 towards the event in recognition of the significant benefits that flow from such a major event. Last year, in the first year of the event at Castle Stuart, it is estimated that the local economy benefited to the tune of more than £4 million.
Leader Drew Hendry said: “I am sure the organisers will build on last year's success and stage another great event. Let's keep our fingers crossed for good weather! The event is providing golf fans in the region with an exciting opportunity to witness a wonderful display of golfing talent on their doorstep. Businesses and public agencies are pulling out the stops to provide a warm Highland welcome and I sincerely hope visitors enjoy the golf and their stay in our very special area.”
Councillor Jimmy Gray, Convener of The Highland Council, said: “This is a great occasion for sports fans in the North of Scotland, who will get the chance to see some of the best players on the European Tour playing on this superb links course. What a chance to showcase what the Highlands has to offer to a world wide television audience of an estimated 400 million viewers. We are very much looking forward to playing our part in making this another big success. The area is gaining a really strong reputation for organising large scale events.”
The big day for young golfers is Wednesday when 110 will take part in a ClubGolf at the Castle event, featuring a number of activities from lessons from the Paul Lawrie Foundation to a bunker challenge and crazy golf. Others will attend during the four competition days.
Golf fans travelling bus will be able to travel to the venue from Nairn Bus Station as well as Inverness Bus Station.
Spectators can catch the No 11 service bus from Nairn Bus Station to Inverness Airport at Dalcross and then transfer to a shuttle bus at the Airport to the course. The service will run every 30 minutes and the cost for an adult will be £5 return. Children under 16 travelling with a fare-paying adult will travel free. Concessionary passes will apply to the service.
The service will begin at 6.30 am on Wednesday 11 July when two pro-ams are being held as well as for the four days of competition between Thursday 12 July and Sunday 15 July.
At Inverness, a special service No 910 from Farraline Park will begin on Wednesday at 6.30 with a shuttle service every 15 minutes until the end of play.
On Thursday and Friday, the service will be every 10 minutes between 6.30 am – 7.30 pm.
On Saturday and Sunday, the service will be every 15 minutes between 6.30 am and the end of play.
Adults will pay £5 return. Children under 16 travelling with a fare-paying adult will travel free. Concessionary passes will apply to the service.
Steve Walker, Stagecoach, said: “We are pleased to be able to provide an extended service this year, assisting golf fans from Nairn, who want to leave their cars at home. Last year, we estimate we transported 18,000 spectators to the course so it is very clearly a very worthwhile and appreciated service.”
Fans travelling by car will be asked again to observe 30 mph restrictions on the approaches to the course.
Those travelling from Inverness will turn off the A 96 at the Castle Stuart junction and park in fields to the right after they enter the course access road. On leaving, they will turn left on to the airport road and rejoin the A 96 at the airport roundabout.
Those travelling to Nairn, will turn off for the course at the A 96 airport roundabout and return the same way.