The panoramic view from Castle Stuart’s championship course across the Moray Firth is punctuated by some eye-catching landmarks.
The snow-capped mountain Ben Wyvis dominates the view to the north. To the east is Chanonry Lighthouse which sits on a finger of land pointing into the firth and is a regular gathering point for the resident population of bottlenose dolphins.
Across the water is the 18th century army garrison of Fort George, built in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden. The site of the 1746 battle is just a few miles away and is one of Scotland’s most popular tourist attractions.
Near the battlefield is the imposing Culloden House hotel, a Pro Am partner, which is more than 200 years old but with parts dating to its origins as a 16th century castle. It was here that Charles Edward Stuart - Bonnie Prince Charlie - set up his headquarters ahead of the infamous battle.
Castle Stuart Golf Links takes its name from another famous local landmark, a structure that was started in 1561 on land granted to James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, by his half-sister, Mary, Queen of Scots, reputedly the ‘Mother of Golf’.
Looking west, the Kessock Bridge links the city of Inverness to the Black Isle and carries the main trunk road to the far north of Scotland.
Inverness is the capital of the Highlands, the area’s largest centre of population and its only city. The River Ness, which passes through the centre, flows from the northern end of Loch Ness and past Inverness Castle which dates from the 19th century and stands on the site of the original mediaeval fortification. The castle viewpoint allows 360-degree views of the city and its hinterland.
Below the castle is Inverness Town House, a Victorian structure which in 1921 held the first ever cabinet meeting of the British Government held outside London, when the then Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, other ministers and King George V were in the Highlands at the time.
Across the river is Inverness Cathedral, built in the 19th century on the instructions of Bishop Robert Eden. His residence, the Bishop’s Palace, known as Eden Court, now forms part of the neighbouring theatre and cinema complex.
The Caledonian Canal connects Scotland’s east coast at Inverness with the west coast near Fort William. The 60-mile route, which includes 28 locks, was completed in the 1800s to designs produced by the famous engineer Thomas Telford. It includes Loch Ness, one of the most famous waterways in the world and home to the elusive monster, Nessie.
Cruise companies offer trips on the canal and Loch Ness, where visitors can explore other famous landmarks, including the ruined Urquhart Castle, once one of Scotland’s largest castles. It witnessed great conflict during its 500 years as a medieval fortress before it was blown up by the last of the government troops garrisoned there during the 18th century Jacobite Risings.
No visit to the Highlands is complete without sampling some of its famous whiskies. Just 16 miles south of Inverness is Tomatin distillery, home of the Pro Am’s headline sponsor.
Daily tours allow visitors to explore how Tomatin’s award-winning whiskies are produced, learn about the distillery’s history from its origins in 1897 and, of course, taste some of its single malts.
Golf, scenery, history and whisky – all within easy reach – the area is a small taste of Scotland.