The internationally-renowned Castle Stuart Golf Links says the new daily Inverness-Heathrow flights announced today can make the Highland capital the Number One venue in Scotland for golfing visitors.
British Airways said it will start a new year-round daily service connecting Inverness with Heathrow Airport from 3 May 2016 with a flight leaving Heathrow at 09.55 a.m. and an early afternoon service from Inverness at 12.10.
The famous Castle Stuart links course on the Moray Firth is just five minutes’ drive from Inverness Airport, providing it with a unique selling point to domestic and international visitors.
The new flights will start two months ahead of Castle Stuart hosting the Scottish Open for the fourth time in six years. Work is also starting in the spring on a planned new course with the Arnold Palmer Design Company, which will be the legendary golfer’s first course in Scotland.
Stuart McColm, Castle Stuart Golf Links’ general manager, said: “Today’s announcement is one of the most exciting developments in our short history. The benefits it could bring for Castle Stuart, Inverness and the Highlands are massive.
“It gives us an advantage over other destinations and a unique selling point in that golfers can be on our course within five minutes of touching down at Inverness.”
With the European Tour – organisers of the Scottish Open – based in Wentworth in Surrey, the new flights will enable easier connections to Inverness for officials, partners, sponsors and tournament players. Direct services will also benefit players, tour operators and spectators from home and abroad coming to the Scottish Open and for other visits to Castle Stuart.
“The future implications of this new service cannot be overstated”, said Stuart McColm. “It connects Inverness more widely to the world and adds to Castle Stuart’s global status. It will undoubtedly help inward investment and business in general.”
Castle Stuart Golf Links opened in 2009 and has achieved global acclaim in its first six years. It staged the Scottish Open for three successive years from 2011-2013, with the 2013 championship, won by Phil Mickelson, reaching a worldwide television audience of more than 500 million.
More than 65,000 people attended the event in 2013 and it is hoped attendances will top 70,000 next year.
In 2011 a Highlands and Islands Enterprise economic impact study showed the event and pre-tournament Pro-Am helped contribute more than £5 million to the Scottish economy, including £4 million to the Highlands and Islands.