Scottish Golf Courses

Inverness gearing up to host first ever 'Design Masters' conference

City’s Kingsmills Hotel will stage unique four-day architecture event

By Michael McEwan

Golf course architecture enthusiasts are being invited to attend the ‘Design Masters’ Conference, taking place from February 28 to March 3, 2017, at The Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness.

A one-off event, designed to not only showcase Scotland’s role in helping to shape golf course architecture from a global perspective but also to provide an opportunity to debate the future direction of the industry, the three-day conference promises to be the industry’s ‘most inspirational, visionary and important business networking event of the year’.

The event, organised by the Golf Tourism Development Group, will feature talks from a whole host of keynote speakers, including Martin Ebert, whose Mackenzie & Ebert firm has advised on work on seven of the nine courses on the Open Championship rota since it was formed in 2005. Notably, this includes the comprehensive redesign of the Ailsa Course at Trump Turnberry, which reopened to widespread acclaim last summer.

Other speakers will include Thad Layton, a senior golf course architect at the Arnold Palmer Design Company, which is involved in plans to build a second championship course at Castle Stuart, as well as international golf course consultant and former ‘British Greenkeeper of the Year’ Gordon Irvine, who was behind the celebrated restoration of Askernish on South Uist in 2006.


The event will also include site visits to iconic, architecturally acclaimed golf courses with the opportunity for a complimentary round of golf either pre- or post-conference, as well as business lunches and more.

Explaining the reason for the event, its chair, Adam Lawrence, explained: “Scotland gave the world the game of golf itself, but it also produced some of the most influential designers of golf courses the game has known. More than that, though, Scottish golf continues to be a model for the rest of the world to look to, for its close connection to the population as a whole and its sustainability.”

Tickets for the event are priced at £349 for the four days or £175 per day. UHI students can attend for the knock-down rate of just £50, although this does not include evening events.

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