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Tracey Milton, sales manager, Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness, a Highland Golf Links partner

As a very successful golfing year in the Highlands draws to a close, we are looking forward to the area hosting another international event early in 2017.


Design Masters: The Scottish International Golf Course Architects Conference is the first of its kind to be hosted in the region.

Based at the Kingsmills Hotel from 28 February to 3 March, it will celebrate Scotland’s world famous golf designers, discuss the Home of Golf’s role in helping to shape course architecture and provide a forum to debate the future direction of the industry based on a fun but sustainable approach to design and maintenance.

This prestigious event will be attended by course designers, managers, developers, potential investors, tourism businesses, industry consultants, historians, academics, students and representatives of the game’s governing bodies, economic development agencies and tourism organisations.

It promises to be the industry’s most inspirational and visionary business networking event of the year. An impressive list of renowned speakers is teed up and excursions are being arranged to world famous courses in the Highlands, including HGL members Castle Stuart, Royal Dornoch and Nairn.

Adam Lawrence, editor of Golf Course Architecture magazine, will chair the conference which will be addressed by design and maintenance expert Dr Bradley S. Klein; course architects Tom Mackenzie and Martin Ebert; Dr Paul Miller, a course management consultant and greenkeeper Gordon Irvine.

They will be joined by Thad Layton, senior golf course architect at the Arnold Palmer Design Company, which is involved in plans to build a second championship course at Castle Stuart: agronomist Richard Windows; Sam Thomas, manager of golf development at Golf Environment Organization; and historian and clubhouse architect Mungo Park.

Adding to the international credentials of the event is acclaimed Australian course architect Bob Harrison, who is building a world-class course on the Ardfin Estate in the Hebridean island of Jura, and is due to open next summer.

The Design Masters conference is a global gathering and hosting such a distinguished list of experts adds to the reputation of the Highlands as an important golfing destination, and also provides an early season boost to tourism, taking advantage of our improved accessibility with new air links to Inverness this year.

It is another opportunity to showcase this area and our great links courses and luxury hotels following Castle Stuart’s staging of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, Nairn hosting the Fairstone Men’s Home Internationals and Royal Dornoch being the venue for the Northern Open as part of the celebrations to mark 400 years of golf being played in the town.

The Kingsmills is very proud to be involved in this conference and promoting the Highlands to the world. For more information see