Golf Club Atlas

GolfClubAtlas.com => Golf Course Architecture => Topic started by: David_Tepper on March 28, 2016, 03:46:48 PM

Title: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on March 28, 2016, 03:46:48 PM
Just noticed there is now a website for Mike Keiser's Coul Links golf project just north of Dornoch. It includes a nice photo gallery of stunning property.

http://www.coullinksgolf.com/ 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on March 28, 2016, 05:23:32 PM
Just noticed there is now a website for Mike Keiser's Coul Links golf project just north of Dornoch. It includes a nice photo gallery of stunning property.

http://www.coullinksgolf.com/ (http://www.coullinksgolf.com/)


David -


This web site has NOTHING to do with the course itself. The author, Ian Hosrfield, has put it up on his own and he is completely unaffiliated with the project's principals.


It is, however, a good source should one want to see a collection of the press clippings from various publications as well as photos some of which I sent to Mr. Horsfield. That is as far as it goes.


Environmental and feasibility studies remain in progress with an update due around mid-summer.
Cheers,
Ian

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on March 28, 2016, 05:26:03 PM
Ian -

Thanks for the clarification. I see some of the pics in the gallery are yours. Good shooting!

DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: MClutterbuck on March 29, 2016, 09:47:53 AM
Ian -

Thanks for the clarification. I see some of the pics in the gallery are yours. Good shooting!

DT


Is the small lake permanent? Will it be part of the course? That will be unusual for a links, right?



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on March 29, 2016, 09:58:33 AM
"Is the small lake permanent? Will it be part of the course? That will be unusual for a links, right?"

MClutterbuck -

It is likely too early in the routing process to answer that question.

Yes, ponds/lakes on a links are unusual.

DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ken Moum on March 29, 2016, 10:38:01 AM
You know, it's selfish as hell of me but I really hope this never gets built. Or at least not until I am done traveling to Scotland.


The folks at Golspie and Brora already lust after the kind of money that Dornoch visitors pay, and a Keiser course between Golspie and Dornoch will likely bring them enough traffic to spoil one of my favorite places anywhere.


It's bed enough that Royal Dornoch is wall-to-wall with guys like us paying $200 to play.


Sigh.


K
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: James Brown on March 29, 2016, 10:51:49 AM
You know, it's selfish as hell of me but I really hope this never gets built. Or at least not until I am done traveling to Scotland.


The folks at Golspie and Brora already lust after the kind of money that Dornoch visitors pay, and a Keiser course between Golspie and Dornoch will likely bring them enough traffic to spoil one of my favorite places anywhere.


It's bed enough that Royal Dornoch is wall-to-wall with guys like us paying $200 to play.


Sigh.


K


I reluctantly have to agree with this sentiment.  As much as a respect the Keiser team, I think this will lead to Dornoch losing its out of the way charm.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on March 29, 2016, 10:56:46 AM
Is Bandon any worse off because of its influx of courses?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ken Moum on March 29, 2016, 11:15:00 AM
Is Bandon any worse off because of its influx of courses?


If you're a golfer who loves quality golf at a reasonable cost.... yes.


There's ZERO chance I am going to Bandon, simply because it's been turned into a place that can get $300 for a round of golf.


I am retired, and as Stan Dodd has said, my wife and I need to be conscious of our "golf per diem."


We've played a few high dollar courses that are too expensive, but inevitable--The Old Course, Prestwick, Royal Dornoch.


I played yesterday with a Canadian who's a member at Red Mountain Ranch and he said, "I lover golf, but I'm not paying two or three hundred dollar for a round. There's no golf worth that."


He's probably wrong, but we have enough $300 courses, especially in Scotland.


FWIW, when members of Brora and Fraserburgh expressed their jealousy of the course down the coast I warned them to be careful what they wish for. A tee sheet full of visitors EVERY day, glacial pace of play except for those few hours set aside for members, etc., etc.


So yes, in my world places like Bandon have helped make the game more expensive and more exclusive.. to it's detriment.


K
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on March 29, 2016, 11:42:24 AM
Is Bandon any worse off because of its influx of courses?


Out of interest was there much golf of note near Bandon before Mr Keiser's development?


Even if Royal Dornoch, Castle Stuart and Skibo/Carnigie were suddenly removed from the face of the planet they'd be plenty of quality golf courses worth travelling to play along the Moray Firth coastline.


Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on March 29, 2016, 11:49:03 AM
Is Bandon any worse off because of its influx of courses?


Exactly. Plus, ask the people in Nova Scotia and Tasmania, too.


Progress will always have detractors and that is understood. Shit, there are people in Dornoch TODAY who resent RDGC and how it messes up their town, impedes access to the beach, etc. But, ask the shopkeepers, restaurant owners, waiters, merchants, etc...


One of the goals of the project is to attract more visitors to the area to benefit the local economy. As in benefitting the people who live in the town year round. There are second courses going in at Aberdeen and Castle Stuart and perhaps a Nicklaus course in Inverness...? Dornoch is being smart.


Perhaps traffic at Coul Links will ease congestion at RDGC (at least after 10:30 am). Perhaps more people will play Brora and Golspie instead of driving up to Dornoch for one day then returning to Inverness in their van. Maybe they will stay in Dornoch and visit the other courses. Perhaps new golfers will go to the Highlands instead of to Ayrshire or Edinburgh. Only 10% of all golfing visitors to Scotland go to the Highlands and, last I heard, golf tourism is one of the most vibrant parts of the Scottish economy.


Sure, it is understandable that there is concern about turning a bucolic hamlet like Dornoch into a tourist mecca, but the region does need a sustainable revenue base for it to be a viable economy for future generations. It's not Team Keiser who is promoting this, it's the Highlands and Islands Enterprises (http://www.hie.co.uk/ (http://www.hie.co.uk/)). HIE, from what I have heard, is very suppportive of the project as is the town of Dornoch. Why are there so many hotels and homes for sale in Dornoch today?


Regarding the "Lakes" at Coul....that is seasonal flooding from a tidal pool and stream that are on property. There are no lakes and ponds.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on March 29, 2016, 11:53:08 AM
"Is the small lake permanent? Will it be part of the course? That will be unusual for a links, right?"

MClutterbuck -

It is likely too early in the routing process to answer that question.

Yes, ponds/lakes on a links are unusual.

DT

I didn't look at the photos but assume these aren't lakes but Dune Slacks which often get flooded on a seasonal basis. Most dune systems will have some dune slacks which were usually created in the low lying areas as new ridges were formed due to accretion.

Often the routing process stays away from them, sometimes they are utilised. In the summer they are often characterised by different flora and fauna rather than lying water.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on March 29, 2016, 12:03:41 PM
Is Bandon any worse off because of its influx of courses?


Out of interest was there much golf of note near Bandon before Mr Keiser's development?


Even if Royal Dornoch, Castle Stuart and Skibo/Carnigie were suddenly removed from the face of the planet they'd be plenty of quality golf courses worth travelling to play along the Moray Firth coastline.


Atb


Before 1999, there was ZERO golf of note around Bandon, OR. Mike Keiser is revered in Bandon at a level that is incomprehensible to most.


Yes, Thomas, you are certainly correct that there would be plenty of quality golf.
And, if there was viable industrial growth in the local economy, your hypothesis would have some serious merit.


And, if only I could make more putts, I would have won that qualifier last year...;-)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Mark Pearce on March 29, 2016, 12:43:38 PM
Ian,


What has viable industrial growth got to do with the number of existing golf courses in the Moray area?  I'm not sure what point you are making or think Thomas is making.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Joel_Stewart on March 29, 2016, 01:27:07 PM
I probably shouldn't comment but I'm told by a reliable source that this course is now 50-50 on being built.

There's an ongoing winter bird study and in the summer another bird study based on nesting.

Furthermore this winter the property in question was heavily flooded. Bill Coore is on site this week to see if this will be an ongoing problem.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on March 29, 2016, 02:30:33 PM
Ian,


What has viable industrial growth got to do with the number of existing golf courses in the Moray area?  I'm not sure what point you are making or think Thomas is making.


SSSorry, Mark, my answer to Thomas was woefully incomplete as my phone was ringing at work.
My point was that, prior to the 1970's and early 80's following Ben Crenshaw's and Tom Watson's visit to Dornoch, the area was still quite unknown to the "outside world".




And, it's WAY too early to speculate on the viability of the project.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on March 29, 2016, 02:41:30 PM
The potential dangers of this project are twofold in my opinion. Firstly, it could make more courses in the area prohibitively expensive for the local player which would be detrimental to all concerned and I would hope that MK would chose to follow the example set by Castle Stuart in this respect rather than the no peasants attitude of Mr. Trump. Secondly, the fact is that top end Gfs are sustainable largely due to the US golfer and should this market collapse for any reason then some clubs and other businesses based around them may suffer greatly. I hope that HIE (Highland & Islands Enterprises and others so in favour of this project ensure the financial eggs are placed in many baskets not just the one.

However, I am certainly very much in favour of this project and hopes it will get off the ground. As for the winter drainage, if they are sensible and close down in the winter season this will be much less of a problem.

Jon

ps. Ian, Skibo plays no significant part in the golf scene up here. As for what to tell local 16 or 17 year olds well maybe about the many non golfing opportunities there are for employment in the Highlands. I am afraid what you understand is well wide of the mark as the Inverness, Moray and Cromarty Firth areas are very vibrant both economically and culturally. Very few youngsters are flocking to Edinburgh and of those who do many return after a few years.

Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on March 29, 2016, 03:05:08 PM
The potential dangers of this project are twofold in my opinion. Firstly, it could make more courses in the area prohibitively expensive for the local player which would be detrimental to all concerned and I would hope that MK would chose to follow the example set by Castle Stuart in this respect rather than the no peasants attitude of Mr. Trump. Secondly, the fact is that top end Gfs are sustainable largely due to the US golfer and should this market collapse for any reason then some clubs and other businesses based around them may suffer greatly. I hope that HIE (Highland & Islands Enterprises and others so in favour of this project ensure the financial eggs are placed in many baskets not just the one.


Ian,


If my earlier comments were confusing then apologies. Jon has however now summed up what I was trying to get at rather nicely.


Lovely part of the world.


Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on March 29, 2016, 03:17:02 PM
The potential dangers of this project are twofold in my opinion. Firstly, it could make more courses in the area prohibitively expensive for the local player which would be detrimental to all concerned and I would hope that MK would chose to follow the example set by Castle Stuart in this respect rather than the no peasants attitude of Mr. Trump. Secondly, the fact is that top end Gfs are sustainable largely due to the US golfer and should this market collapse for any reason then some clubs and other businesses based around them may suffer greatly. I hope that HIE (Highland & Islands Enterprises and others so in favour of this project ensure the financial eggs are placed in many baskets not just the one.

However, I am certainly very much in favour of this project and hopes it will get off the ground. As for the winter drainage, if they are sensible and close down in the winter season this will be much less of a problem.

Jon

ps. Ian, Skibo plays no significant part in the golf scene up here. As for what to tell local 16 or 17 year olds well maybe about the many non golfing opportunities there are for employment in the Highlands. I am afraid what you understand is well wide of the mark as the Inverness, Moray and Cromarty Firth areas are very vibrant both economically and culturally. Very few youngsters are flocking to Edinburgh and of those who do many return after a few years.

Jon


Thanks, Jon - apologies for the generalizations.
Was speaking only of Dornoch where I have spent time in the past three years.


I believe that Mr. Keiser made a very interesting proposal to RDGC, but it did not gain traction.


Have heard that Trump now offers local memberships.


I would bet that there will be accommodations made to local golfers at Coul Links.


Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on March 29, 2016, 04:48:45 PM
Ian,

no problems about the generalisation but to suggest that the youth of Dornoch is leaving for Edinburgh is far fetched indeed. That they have to look outside Dornoch is not really a surprise as Dornoch is really quite small. You are indeed correct that Trump does now offer a locals rate and at just £135 I am sure the doric speakers are flocking in to play the world's greatest course as will the incredible bargain rate of £165 for all other Scottish residence.

Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tim_Weiman on March 29, 2016, 05:41:48 PM
Is Bandon any worse off because of its influx of courses?


If you're a golfer who loves quality golf at a reasonable cost.... yes.


There's ZERO chance I am going to Bandon, simply because it's been turned into a place that can get $300 for a round of golf.


I am retired, and as Stan Dodd has said, my wife and I need to be conscious of our "golf per diem."


We've played a few high dollar courses that are too expensive, but inevitable--The Old Course, Prestwick, Royal Dornoch.


I played yesterday with a Canadian who's a member at Red Mountain Ranch and he said, "I lover golf, but I'm not paying two or three hundred dollar for a round. There's no golf worth that."


He's probably wrong, but we have enough $300 courses, especially in Scotland.


FWIW, when members of Brora and Fraserburgh expressed their jealousy of the course down the coast I warned them to be careful what they wish for. A tee sheet full of visitors EVERY day, glacial pace of play except for those few hours set aside for members, etc., etc.


So yes, in my world places like Bandon have helped make the game more expensive and more exclusive.. to it's detriment.


K


Ken,


Part of me is sympathetic to your perspective, but for the sake of discussion, I must ask:


As far as making the game in Scotland more "expensive and exclusive", is it really "places like Bandon" or is it the ease and relatively low cost of international travel?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ken Moum on March 29, 2016, 06:26:43 PM
Ken,


Part of me is sympathetic to your perspective, but for the sake of discussion, I must ask:


As far as making the game in Scotland more "expensive and exclusive", is it really "places like Bandon" or is it the ease and relatively low cost of international travel?


Well, that "expensive and exclusive" comment referred to golf in general, not to Scotland.


I admit that there are a lot of factors that have conspired to make it so costly to play golf.  In most of the US I am pretty convinced that "tournament conditions" on a daily basis along with the CCFAD problem are most likely more of a problem.


The yahoos I play with here are SO concerned about conditioning that it supersedes almost any other considerations.


That and the fact that there still seems to be a market for CCFAD golf, at least here in AZ where I am currently, is a big contributor.


I did work for GCSAA for nine years and I think in some regards superintendents have been their own worst enemy. They have killed themselves trying to produce perfect turf, now American golfers think it should be the norm.


In Scotland, cheap travel might be a factor, I'm more inclined to think that it's due to economic stratification.  Folks like my wife and I, are not the folks running up the price of golf.


I've seen, and had a drink with, the "check list" golfers who make it possible for RDC, Cruden Bay, Nairn GC, et. al, to get the price they do. Cheap travel might be a factor, but I doubt it.


Let's be clear. I realize that my whining isn't going to change things one bit, any more than the griping by the Brora and Fraserburgh folks I've talked to will change their situation.


i was told that RDC's ferilizer budget would fund Golspie's entire greenkeeping operation for a year. Now, that's not the way it should be IMHO, but it gives you an idea of why they're a little jealous.


OTOH, we stayed in Golspie last year for about a week and we could walk out and play almost any time we liked. Much as I appreciate the big-name courses, I like the other ones even better.


Here's the deal... virtually everything about American golf either makes me sad or pisses me off.


I wish that weren't the case, but it is.


And exporting American golf to Scotland makes me sad... and it pisses me off.


K
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on March 29, 2016, 06:56:09 PM
Perhaps American golfers go to Scotland to escape other whinny, fanny pack toting, loud talking American golfers!!

Sincerely,

John K
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: James Brown on March 29, 2016, 09:42:24 PM
Perhaps American golfers go to Scotland to escape other whinny, fanny pack toting, loud talking American golfers!!

Sincerely,

John K


I do.


And I don't want more development around Dornoch, which will only bring more Americans! 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: James Brown on March 29, 2016, 09:45:36 PM
Is Bandon any worse off because of its influx of courses?


I'm not sure Bandon is the right comparison here. 


Perhaps a good comparison might be mid-20th Century St. Andrews.  Once St. Andrews became a real global destination, it changed in irreversible ways.  Did the dozen new courses built around St. Andrews improve that place really? 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Eoin Riddell on March 30, 2016, 07:38:13 AM
Ken,

i was told that RDC's ferilizer budget would fund Golspie's entire greenkeeping operation for a year. Now, that's not the way it should be IMHO, but it gives you an idea of why they're a little jealous.

Interesting statement! if Golspie have managed to run their Whole greenkeeping operation for less than 13k I would be shocked!!! 


Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Peter Pallotta on March 30, 2016, 10:05:57 AM
Ken - some excellent posts there. It used to be (or at least seems to have been) the case that the bloated and over-priced and over-hyped courses were precisely the ones that I didn't want to play, i.e. the CCFAD from the 80s and 90s with their cart-driven routings and endless downhill tee shots and elaborate driving ranges peopled by vaguely smug corporate types and vaguely pretentious would-be "players" who not only didn't mind paying too much for a round of golf but actually saw it as a personal point of pride that they could. The problem you seem to be highlighting is that, today, the over-priced and over-hyped courses peopled by aficionados who not only don't mind paying too much but actually see it as the cost of quality golf "the way it was meant to be played" are precisely the courses that I would want to play.

Peter
Btw, check out Ed's thread on Cardigan Golf Club.

       
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on April 15, 2016, 05:01:45 PM
Article on the project in today's Northern Times (the local newspaper):

http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Target-date-of-2017-for-Embo-golf-course-planning-application-14042016.htm
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 18, 2016, 09:23:52 AM
I have restrained from commenting on this project for a while until more information became available. I now feel feel there is enough known to share my take.
Having: been a member in the past for 10 years, , married a gal from the town, been fortunate to have as a father-in-law,  the late Dr.John Macleod,  club Captain, member for 50 years, and town Doc working with, and after, his father's passing, I feel I have a balanced  perspective on what RDGC and the town has been historically.
Dr. Macleod wrote the book on the club's history, which he completed shortly before his very sad passing in 2001.
He was a thoughtful, kind and wise man who listened a lot, and chose his words VERY carefully before rendering a opinion.
I will never forget his astute words about making changes to the club OR town of Dornoch.

 He said," Kris, it's not what you do, it's what you DON'T do ...that retains the specialness of a place!"

That succinct and BRILLIANT statement will serve as the underpinning for what follows.

First, make NO mistake, Americans are driving this project full stop. The H&I folks will support ANYTHING that brings MONEY to the area. But without Mr. Warnock and  Mr.Keiser leading on this....ZERO happens.
Mr. Keiser is a class act. So are C&C,, his designated design team.
He has a proven record of world class golf property creation, as do C&C, that is generally VERY sympathetic to the environment.

All that said....THIS property needs to left as it is!!!!!!

The property is in EMBO, NOT Dornoch. I'm SURE that those public meetings will reveal MANY locals AGAINST this PARTICULAR site being MUTILATED!!!!
Dr. Macleod ,and countless others in the Dornoch area have known of that estuary dunes land site FOREVER! But they KNEW.... it was too precious and special as an ecosystem to be tampered with!!!! He felt it should be LEFT ALONE to function as the AWESOME entity it is.
He is not alone in that rationale.

ANYONE ....
with a brain, that can appreciate the unique nature of that place, while checking their greed and ego at the edge of the path to that ground... can come ONLY to that conlusion!!!

If Mr. Keiser, a man I rate highly, had a shred of the respect for nature,  and the humility to do the right thing he claims....he would reflect on that reality and decide NOT to move forward on changing that ground.
I do not know much about Mr. Warnock, other than he has a VESTED interest in filling his B&B,  ,and while helping restore that historic building in the town is noble... it DOES NOT give him the right to destroy that ground in EMBO for PROFIT!!!!

There are certain places on this planet that simply need to be left alone.
THIS GROUND is one of them!!!!
PERIOD. END OF STORY.

Looking deeper at why? This ENTIRE coastline is ravaged... FREQUENTLY.... by fierce storms.The second course at RD, the Struie, known as the "lower course" by the locals, was and is often BLASTED by gales and heavy flooding. In fact, the new holes Donald Steel put in had to be REDONE, at considerable cost ( 300k plus if memory serves me rigjt) after one such event in the 2000's!
 That land is VERY close to the edge of the Dornoch Firth,
as is the estuary area of Coul Links!
Wind driven storm surges... remember we're talking the North Atlantic Sea here, push seawater WELL inland regularly.
No way you are going to prevent that impacting the golf at Coul Links, if you are anywhere close to the shore(VIEWS) without SIGNIFICANT altering of that ground.
The bird life that inhabitats that sensitive estuary dunes land is among the most special in Scotland.
Keiser's other projects have NEVER disturbed that type of special ground!!!! Even Trump's property doesn' t come CLOSE to matching what exists there at Embo.
I was fortunate enough to walk Machrihanish Dunes, on the west coast of Scotland, during the early days of it's creation. It REMAINS the most environmentally  responsible golf course built ANYWHERE in Scotland, or tbe world for that matter, in the last 50 years given all that DMK and Evan Grant, who oversaw creation and grow-in as Head Superintendent, had to contend with.
The site had quite a few SSI areas with rare plants. That site also doesn't even compare to the diversity of wildlife, or development complexity of the Coul Links site.

Another somber point to ponder...Dr. Macleod told me that RD was VERY VERY quiet, regarding visitor play, for SEVERAL years, after the Lockerbie downing. I don't think I need to illuminate anybody what would transpire were a similar episode to repeat itself. This is ESPECIALLY true TODAY. Ironically, it would be the very links offerings Mr. Keiser has created in the US, that folks can now enjoy stateside, that would provide a less risky alternative for Americans should such an event occur. While there are plenty of other worldwide golfers who visit to play up thete, US visitors are the fuel that drives this project.

Earlier stories on this Embo site spoke of only a small starter's hut, and a super light footprint. The latest article, kindly posted by Mr. Tepper, speaks of a practice area, pro shop and CAFE! You MUST be joking Mr. Warnock!!!!!! The mushroom cloud is already gathering size and the plan hasn't even been submitted!
As to the need for ANOTHER course of Dornoch's stature to ensure the region's economic vitality. ... BS  to that!!!!
The region is LOADED with great/good golf. BRORA is an absolute cracker of a course! Two rounds on RD and one there are MORE than enough reason for staying OVERNIGHT in Dornoch. Tain, Golspie and the nine hole charmer at Portmahomack (SP?)  across the Dornoch Firth, near the not to be missed Oystercatcher dining spot,  offer plenty of nice, additional links options for extended stays.
A C&C Coul Links will only draw more belt notcher, trunk slammer
types, mainly Americans that are ALREADY going to come up to play RD!
Marketing ALL of the upper Highlands region BETTER is what's needed.... NOT a NOT COOL LINKS on THAT site!!!!
As to price creep in the extortionate greens fees enjoyed by the top courses up there now....Nairn got very proud of themselves and bumped their number in the late 90's...Castle Stuart, due to having to PAY for their land,  as opposed to the common ground land so many older Scottish links offerings  benefit from,  and modern construction costs, made it a lock  that a high green fee would be a given.
Royal Dornoch will ALWAYS be the best golfing experience in the Highlands so long as they don't ruin what they have.!!!!!! The club, to their credit, has been modest in raising their green fees...and this, in the main, has been IN RESPONSE to what the other facilities up there have charged.
The zeal for more quid is a powerful tonic that can overwhelm many.... I just hope those that REALLY care...about that area's OVERALL health, follow that telling statement cited at the beginning of my remarks by Dr. Macleod. He dearly loved the game and revered the Dornoch area.
You can NOT have economic sustainability WITHOUT environmental sustainability!
Do the right thing Mike, let the model for ALL you have done for everything in golf ALONE ...and continue to enjoy it as it IS!!! Dornoch, like ALL of the world's great RURAL locales, needs to evolve SLOWLY.
Coul Links should REMAIN as it is... that would be the COULEST legacy Mike could EVER leave the birthplace of his vision for superb, remote links golf!!!!!!

Hopeful cheers,
Kris 8)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on April 18, 2016, 11:46:39 AM
Just noticed there is now a website for Mike Keiser's Coul Links golf project just north of Dornoch. It includes a nice photo gallery of stunning property.

http://www.coullinksgolf.com/ (http://www.coullinksgolf.com/)


David -


This web site has NOTHING to do with the course itself. The author, Ian Hosrfield, has put it up on his own and he is completely unaffiliated with the project's principals.


It is, however, a good source should one want to see a collection of the press clippings from various publications as well as photos some of which I sent to Mr. Horsfield. That is as far as it goes.


Environmental and feasibility studies remain in progress with an update due around mid-summer.
Cheers,
Ian


Ian


As a matter of interest, what connection do you have with the project or the individuals involved or are you just an interested bystander ? (are you a local ?)


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tom_Doak on April 18, 2016, 12:06:00 PM
I have restrained from commenting on this project for a while until more information became available. I now feel there is enough known to share my take.


So much for restraint!


Kris, you used ALL CAPS an awful lot in your post, but the word MUTILATED stood out.  How can you say the site will be mutilated, when [I suspect] no real design plans have been submitted?  I worked around areas of SSSI on the new holes at The Renaissance Club, and I can assure you they didn't let us disturb anything of significance there, despite the pushing of my client.

Your argument about the economics and an argument about the environmental impact are two separate things, even though you may be right that sometimes local governments tend to overlook one for the other.  Highlands and Islands, like most governments, not to mention private developers, think the solution is to bring more tourism money to the area and to get the people with the money to stay longer and spend more of it.  They would argue that it's "not a zero-sum game," but I might argue the other side of that.  Still, that's very different from saying the land is going to be mutilated by building a golf course.  Someone might have said the same thing about Royal Dornoch, centuries ago, had they had silly Internet discussions back then.

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 18, 2016, 12:43:12 PM
Tom,
I'm sorry the caps and strong language startled you. I stand by every word of it.
In my opinion, and that is what my remarks are, ANY disturbance of THAT ground, even for superbly done, minimalistic golf, IS MULTILATION.
My feelings for that area are as strong as anyone not born there.
I've seen Dornoch change quite a bit since I first visited there in the late 90's. Much of that change, outside of some better dining, hasn't added  a lot to the quality of life there. If you have visited there as much as I have/did, you'd render a similar opinion if you are the man I believe you are.
Much of what makes that Highlands area so captivating is the rugged natural beauty that is on full display. "Progress" is nibbling away at it,  but so far the feeling still has the goods. When you continue to degrade that, the specialness is soon lost.
John Muir said it best," Nothing dollarable is safe" when he referred to exploitation of our world's natural resources.
 This project is a 2016 poster child validating that statement...sadly currently being promoted by folks who are smart enough to do othetwise.

Without a healthy planet....there can not be a healthy economy....
anywhere. The two are "interdependent," not separate subjects.

Let me ask you....have you ever said no to designing a site because you felt was too special to change?

K 8)

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on April 18, 2016, 01:07:09 PM
Kris


What Tom said on the "development" of the original Dornoch course and indeed the various significant changes that have taken place over the years. Also as someone who argued against the development of Balmedie on environmental grounds I'm doubtful that Embro is in the same league in terms of being environmentally sensitive . A closer comparison might be Mach Dunes and even that site was grazed by cattle up until it was developed.


However I think the real issue here is the nature of any development which I think is also the concern of Ken and possibly your late father in law. I'm assuming here that the development is likely to happen in some shape or form given a willing landowner, a fairly keen developer and the likely-hood of planning being granted.


Dornoch has already changed significantly over the years and to see that you only need to look at the club itself. Betterment has arrived and isn't likely to go away. In my own mind it would be better to see a more modest development along the lines of Mach Dunes in terms of the lightness of touch on the landscape allied to a certain homespun charm with the add on development. Not sure if that is the type of development that Mike Keiser would be interested in.


Niall


Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tom_Doak on April 18, 2016, 02:06:24 PM

Let me ask you....have you ever said no to designing a site because you felt was too special to change?



I have, though only two times that I can recall.


You're clearly very emotionally wrapped up with that particular piece of property in saying that it should never be touched by anyone ... I always have some hesitation about such statements when they amount to neighbors telling a landowner what he should not do.


The rest of your argument seems to be tied up in "not changing Dornoch," as if it's supposed to stay the same forever.  That rarely happens anywhere, and generally only in places where the people who have moved there in the last twenty years want to close the door behind them.  That also has nothing at all to do with building a golf course sensitively, on a sensitive site.


I'm not sure what Niall is talking of in terms of "development."  I am party to none of the particulars about this project, but in general, Mr. Keiser has no interest in developing housing, and only in developing lodging for golf to the extent that it can't be met by the local infrastructure.  I think he just wants to build a golf course.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Dave McCollum on April 18, 2016, 02:20:41 PM
As the owner of a course in a relatively isolated, wild place where all kinds of recreation happens besides golf, we have plenty of wildlife.  I won’t inventory the species because I’d leave out hundreds.  As with the Cape Wickham thread, habitat can be created to benefit nesting/breeding areas.  Our experience is that the critters just move in take advantage of what’s there.  They cause some damage to the course, like the porcupines currently eating the bark and killing trees, or the burrows of marmots, so we do a tiny bit of management.  Given this diversity, it would seem like a golf course is a pretty good place to live.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 18, 2016, 02:32:00 PM
Niall,
I respect and agree with a lot of your thoughts. I agree that there has been change in the club. That isn't always a good thing, and certainly isn't justification for blessing other changes.

Unless the fix is in, I believe this project, on THAT ground, faces a much stiffer challenge than many realize.
I agree that Machrihanish Dunes is the best comparison out there....but it had FAR more prior human disturbance than the Coul Links site.
The Embo site is complex. Thete is significant diversity in topography  and what inhabits it, both regularly ...and seasonally, migration wise.
There are existing dunes capable of offering protection and buffering from storms, but I can't imagine  any scenario that wouldn't involve significant disturbance... to the pristine ecosystem that resides there now.
I'm no tree hugger, change nothing ever zealot. I adore links  golf, and am the first to champion and applaud RESPONSIBLE golf evelopment.
Bandon, Kingsbarns,Castle Stuart, Machrihanish Dunes, Streamsong
Cabot , and many others are in that realm.
THIS Embo site simply has too much unique quality to it for approval.... for ANYTHING.
Let me ask....is no ground worth leaving alone that might yield a great golf course?
 I would assert that the folks that believe it's acceptable to alter any ground, regardless of what is there currently, for golf,  are a BIG reason the game suffers such scorn from the non-golfers on the planet.
Sometimes saying no to something, even if it has a lot of upside.... is the right course of action. That's the case with THIS site from my view.
K 8)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 18, 2016, 03:07:58 PM
Tom,
I'm glad you saw the need to say no on passing to change special ground. To do it twice is laudable.
I've seen that Embo ground with my own eyes.

This IS one of those cases.

As an owner or architect, who wouldn't want to create something there!?! It's as good as it gets. But what mother nature and the big guy have there now trumps ANYTHING man could put there.
I have tremendous passion for that which I care deeply about.
It's who I am. My reasoning is sound as a pound why THIS site should be off the table for development.
You say Mike just wants to build a golf course....he's built quite a few already and Sand Valley, an epic, RESPONSIBLE project is well underway. His son,. and their team are going to exhaustive lengths to tease back the native seed bank and restore that which the Red Pine plantation altered.
They ARE as responsible  stewards of the land as anyone  in golf creation today.
It would be a crowning  achievement to plant the flag on a links course minutes from RD, the birth place of his business model  vision. There are other parcels that area has to offer. To degrade that  Embo site is not just building a golf course...
sorry.
K 8)

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on April 18, 2016, 03:27:22 PM
"Those had raised a myriad of environmental and other issues which have to be addressed. Towards that end a team of independent consultants had been commissioned to undertake research into the site ranging from its biodiversity and topography to hydrology and archaeology." 

"A traffic management report has also been initiated. Mr Warnock and Mr Keiser are reluctant to see increased traffic on the single-track Loch Fleet road and are considering a bespoke shuttle bus service from Dornoch town square. Over the winter fortnightly bird studies have also been conducted on the site, which starts three miles north of Royal Dornoch Golf Club and runs along the Dornoch Firth at Loch Fleet."

Unless I am mistaken, the Coul Links site to date is not an SSI-designated area. That makes it different from both the Machrihanish Dunes and Balmedie/Trump sites, which were SSI-designated properties before golf courses were proposed to be built on them.

In light of the above quotations from the Northern Times article I have linked, it appears a thorough and expert analysis of the Coul Links property will be conducted regarding the suitability of building a golf course there.

Why don't we wait to see how how those reports turn out before passing judgement on this project?   
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 18, 2016, 04:13:30 PM
David,
It doesn't need to have a SSI designation to know it's special!
Didn't matter the SSI limitations for Trumps dump- got railroaded through  didn't it? How'd that turn out...he packed up like a little child, and all those jobs...yeh right!
Sorry champ. Not all of us wait for the snake oil when we know something is a no go.
You have a flat there in Dornoch you let out, correct? No vested interest there at all? C'mon.
Do yourself a favor, spend a day  and take a good, LONG walk over that Embo ground. Not a peak at it  from afar... til your feet know they made a trek. Then tell me you see no problem with a golf course being placed  over that ground as the RESPONSIBLE
thing to do.
No proper assessment of the bird life alone there can be done quickly...it takes years.
You are a smart guy that KNOWS deep down the right move here...is NO move on that site.
Imagine if those that came before us had the power to destroy the land that we hold today. Where would our planet be? Puking it's guts out to be sure. It's not far off that right now!
Let's not hasten the stupidity by complicity and just leaving decisions to the government and greed.
That  Embo site is NOT an acceptable, responsible trade-off for golf, no matter how great the product.

K 8)




Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on April 18, 2016, 04:45:07 PM
Sorry Kris,

I didn't realize you were an expert on hydrology, ornithology, biodiversity, archeaology, et. al.

It's good to know there is someone here that knows more than we all do. ;)

DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 18, 2016, 07:03:56 PM
David,
Where did I infer all that?  A junior high schooler, walking that ground, KNOWS that nothing man can lay over that ground can TOUCH what is there presently.
What I know is what rational, responsible people, with NO remuneration or other benefits from seeing that land developed would conclude.
You, and anyone else is entitled to their opinion on the matter.
What, am I to be muzzled because I might have personal information to share on the subject?
If you walked that ground already and feel no quams about putting a golf course there... God bless ya!
Certain places need to be left alone. That Embo site is one of them.
That farmer, if his family has been there since the Vikings were raiding that area, should be ashamed of himself if he thinks that ground is better suited to a golf course than what is there now?
Most Scots I know TREASURE their ground. I've seen wild pheasants along several of those roads right near the village of Dornoch that dwarf the size of anything I ever saw stateside.
I grew up hearing and seeing wild pheasants in the suburbs of Philadelphia in the 80s. They ARE gone! Development saw to that, and changing farming practices have eliminated them from most of the lower 48.
I'm not some armchair environmentalist. I've lived the degradation. In more places than most on here.
It's real. NO money, or job-base scheme is worth corrupting the planet to where life becomes a shattered mosaic with only one end game...unsustainability!
On the surface, this little site in EMBO seems unimportant. But forever altering something that unique, and estuaries are one of the earth's most precious, and rare commodies ( there's one for the corporate business crowd).
It's irreplaceable once altered that rapidly by man, and it's functionality changes.
Remember, estuaries are nature's nurseries, both on land AND in the sea.
And THAT Embo site is worth degrading for a golf course? Really? Folks who believe that are thinking of NOTHING but their own self interest.
I shudder to think what those future generations will find in Dornoch if mindsets like that have their way up there.
It will be more Coney Island than the incredible place it struggles to remain today, of that you can be sure.

K  8)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Peter Pallotta on April 18, 2016, 07:35:58 PM
This has developed into a terrific thread: smart and well-informed posters respectfully disagreeing on a critically important topic (now and, increasingly, in the years to come) in a rubber-meets-the-road context, i.e.  universally acclaimed architects with impeccable minimalist credentials paired with the most highly touted and respected golf course developer ever, during that developer's Midas-touch period, and concerning a site of pristine and untouched natural beauty and diversity that lies but a stone's throw from a spiritual home of golf in Dornoch synonymous with the very ethos of the game. It was good that Kris raised this; there is for me certainly no easy answer, but I think it fair to suggest that if it was any other golf developer, and/or any but a small handful of other architects, or if god forbid this was about a housing estate or even a modest public pitch-and-putt instead of Keiser and C&C and an exclusive golfing mecca, there would be no debate whatsoever.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on April 18, 2016, 07:46:12 PM
Kris -

When was the last time you actually visited Dornoch? How many days have you spent there in the past 10 years?

The population of Sutherland is still 2/3 to 3/4 of what it was 150 years ago! Struggling is indeed the operative word. The people there are struggling to survive dwindling employment, an aging population and diminished public services.

DT

P.S. But there are still plenty of pheasants there. ;)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 18, 2016, 09:26:14 PM
Pete,
Bravo, you nailed it!!!!! And the responsible thing to do is LEAVE it alone. You don't need a study by ANYONE to figure that out.
Check ego and profit at the edge of the path and planet up....we're going to do the right thing in Embo, even though we could
build perhaps the REAL greatest golf course here. We are respectfully going to let mother nature continue to take a bow on this precious parcel of grandness, like she has for thousands of years, and take the disease of modern society  to conquer all landforms, even if it means destroying the very elements necessary to sustain, elsewhere!
That Pete, would be the BEST homage that Mike, Mr. Warnock and all the rest of us that really care about the future of what is there should embrace.
There is farmland in that area, with views, much like that which Castle Stuart occupies. I'm sure you'd have farmers lining up to sell some acreage so the grand masters can have a go and create something awesome and special.
You don't need to punish one of nature's rare nurseries for a golf course that doesn't belong there.
It's like opening a whore house up top where the choir sits in a church.
Could ya do it, sure...but would ya... UNLESS your the pimp...we know the answer.
See, there are places "designated" for that type of entertainment.
That Embo site is NOT the place to put golf entertainment for the "retail golfer."
NO matter how many jobs it could create,  or economic multipliers could be leveraged.
Yes, I know that last line really gets a few squirmming, but the reality is THAT ground DESERVES to be left as it is.
I appreciate and respect both sides of the equation. My view is the Dornoch and entire Highlands area has a TREMENDOUS opportunity to BETTER market what they ALREADY have up there! Few places have the setting, charm and diverse cultural and natural wonders that part of Scotland enjoys.
It is a tough climate, and that makes drawing certain folks a challenge. For millions, that environment is right up their alley.
Use the noggins and craft a plan. Enlist the help of those from where you wish to draw, and make it happen.
I RAVE to all who express interest in going to Scotland, and the North in particular...GO, it's the best! I've sent a TON of first-timers over during my many years caddying for those that could afford it.
I don't ever want there to be a day I say, " Forget it, it's gone."
Thank you Pete, for your take.

K 8)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: BHoover on April 18, 2016, 10:00:50 PM
Not to be rude, but I would find this thread, and the arguments being made herein, much more persuasive without the incessant and unnecessary use of ALL CAPS. I might even read the posts in full were there NO CAPS.

It's great to see someone so dedicated to a cause, but easy on the liberal use of the Shift button, please.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 18, 2016, 11:15:14 PM
David,
The last time I was in Scotland was 2008, visiting Machrihanish Dunes. A superb project that was an environmental triumph of restraint. Sadly, the roll-out was badly bungled. The reviews were not kind, but the leadership blew their chance to grab success. DESPITE their opening right after the economic plummet, that Kintyre region has many of the same qualities of the Dornoch area. A bit more remote, primitive in a generally good way, but it has the goods, just not a course there quite the caliber of RD.
It continues to limp along. Really a shame. Super place...terribly marketed and promoted at the outset...it suffers still. What could have been for the investors had there been a proper presentation early on.
I was last in Dornoch in May of 2007. Quite a bit changed in my life, but I had regular conversations with my mother-in-law, Isobel, who lived there until her sad passing in 2012. I also have other contacts there I keep in touch with. I ADORE the place, and am quite aware of the " changes." The Northern Times does its best as well.
I retained my membership, at fair expense for a man of modest means, with full intentions of returning on the annual basis I had enjoyed previously. Alas, that was not to be.
Moves stateside, running my own business, expense of a new home, and then a very unfortunate end
to what was in the main a wonderful marriage to Mairi, the daughter of Dr. John and Isobel, all conspired to keep me from being able to return.
Fortunately, Mairi and I are still close, we're just not married. She's an awesome woman. Her parents were THE BEST!
I' ve had to reboot my life, which ain't easy when you are 55, and run your own show.
I just gave up my membership to RD this March. It KILLED me to do it, but at this time I couldn't justify retaining it, not have been able to go over and use it since '07.

That is why I have not been over.

That said, RD and that wonderful village, will NEVER be far from my heart, for so many reasons.
I stayed there, at the Macleod home that looks out to just past the 2nd green, over the Dornoch Firth, for 14-17 days at a time, sometimes twice a year, from 1999 to 2007.
I immersed myself in the village, learning the history of it AND the club. Few, not born there, can claim the solid understanding I got from the Macleods. What doesn't the town Doc know?Regarding the club history, he had no peer. It became that important to him to get it right as best he could. It was the final chapter in a VERY rich life of service,  to BOTH the town AND his club. I miss him greatly.
I'm certain there would be changes now present that would displease me. Life ain't about perfect, or a static, unchanging existence.
But quite often, change is unnecessary, and detrimental to the overall quality of life in a place. The obscene evidence of this is ample in many places.
The population numbers you cite are spot on for what that region's population SHOULD be!
It's a rural place man, and a damn tough one to make a living!
There are trade-offs in life. You want jobs and industry...live there... in the heavy populated areas where they are present.
If you want clean air, a fairly unspoiled countryside, and a slightly slower pace...ya live in a place like Dornoch.
You DON'T pine for "growth, progress, and then shit it up by stamping man's footprint ANYWHERE you can get a dozer!
Sorry David, Dr.John and countless other members who KNEW the fool's gold of what is now being offered to degrade THAT ground, would NEVER advocate for what is being suggested, WITH complicity by the club I might add! Of that I'm certain...he gave his verdict, and it was a NO go.
The excuse that visitor rounds are maxing out as justification falls flat. Hell, the Struie could use a mulligan...if they are so hot for it, broker a deal that involves funding that new monument of a clubhouse some of the membership has been thirsting for. Add a bus terminal for the Perry gang and all the rest and let's really get the money-spinning going.
Don't stop there, let's claim imminent domain and condemn the caravan park. You know, as one of those  "blighted areas" we  repurpose to get a "proper" short game and practice facility.
Is that what you came to Dornoch for David, 'cause that's where it's headed.
K :o

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 18, 2016, 11:33:56 PM
Brian,
Sorry for the nervous condition. I'll try to cap it. Apologies in advance for my future transgressions.

Cheers,
Kris 8)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on April 18, 2016, 11:52:13 PM
Kris -

I admire your passion for Dornoch. I am very sorry you have decided to give up your RDGC membership.

There is no point in getting into a debate about who knows or cares more about Dornoch. Suffice it to say in the 24 visits I have made to Dornoch over the past 12 years and the almost 500 days I have spent there, I have a view of the place and its future that is, at the very least, credible.

You will note that no where on this thread I have stated an opinion, in favor or against, on the Coul Links project. For you to question my motivation and integrity based upon that fact I own a holiday home in Dornoch is disappointing and insulting.

To the best of my knowledge, every project Mike Keiser has been involved with to date has been a success on every level, including benefiting the local communities. My guess is he cares about Dornoch and the surrounding area at least as much as we both do.

There is clearly a vetting process in place that will evaluate all aspects of the project and will solicit input from the local community. I can't help but feel that process is much better suited to judge the worthiness of the project than idle, random chatter on this board.

DT



 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 19, 2016, 03:20:45 AM
David,
If you wish to try and hang a guilt trip on me, fine. I NEVER called your integrity into question. Who ever said you weren't credible?
Where did I claim to know more than anyone else on any of the points I raised?
If you want to dance around the FACT someone stands to gain from this project if they own a property they rent,  right in the middle of the Dornoch village were this to be built...be my guest.
Most on here, including myself, are well aware you spend quite a bit of time there. You, more than most, should understand why that ground should remain as it is.
Why is it you can't grasp it? Neither can Mr.Keiser or Mr. Warnock thus far. I'll ask again...
Is NO ground that can yield great golf safe from exploitation?
If you think that Embo site isn't worthy of that level of safeguarding...just come out and say it.
Anyone can stand by and stay neutral.  Wait for somebody else to drop the hammer and then weigh in.
As to your thought that Mike cares about Dornoch as much as either of us. YOU may feel that way.
 There is NO WAY I would degrade THAT Embo ground for any golf course.... even if it was to be Number 1 for eternity!
People aren't stupid. Greed and ego often get the better of sound judgement. Sometimes the brakes need to be applied.
There is a process, but it can't always be trusted. That's the reality.
 Just like a healthy, sustainable economy MUST have a healthy environmental platform to sustain life. Once you' ve crapped enough of it up, you've lost.
I am FAR from being alone in that view. Time will tell.

Idle, random chatter...that's comical. But I'm the offensive one. Sure.

Cheers,
K 8)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on April 19, 2016, 05:24:31 AM
m not sure what Niall is talking of in terms of "development."  I am party to none of the particulars about this project, but in general, Mr. Keiser has no interest in developing housing, and only in developing lodging for golf to the extent that it can't be met by the local infrastructure.  I think he just wants to build a golf course.


Tom


It was a reference to your point that RDGC, and indeed, any number of other links courses were developed on similar sites to Embro. What's more putting a golf course on links land might be better for the bio-diversity of the site than leaving it to be grazed. It's the sort of thing someone like Mike Wood would be able to give chapter and verse about I'm sure.


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adam Lawrence on April 19, 2016, 07:03:10 AM

What's more putting a golf course on links land might be better for the bio-diversity of the site than leaving it to be grazed. It's the sort of thing someone like Mike Wood would be able to give chapter and verse about I'm sure.



I was at Strandhill in Ireland last week, where, along with architect Ally McIntosh of this parish, the club is hoping to build two new holes in the raw dunes between the present course and the water. Interestingly, course manager Jason Kelly told me that the local environmental management types had done a survey of biodiversity on the site, and concluded that there were a lot more species in the area maintained as golf course than there were in the bare dunes.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on April 19, 2016, 07:06:33 AM

What's more putting a golf course on links land might be better for the bio-diversity of the site than leaving it to be grazed. It's the sort of thing someone like Mike Wood would be able to give chapter and verse about I'm sure.



I was at Strandhill in Ireland last week, where, along with architect Ally McIntosh of this parish, the club is hoping to build two new holes in the raw dunes between the present course and the water. Interestingly, course manager Jason Kelly told me that the local environmental management types had done a survey of biodiversity on the site, and concluded that there were a lot more species in the area maintained as golf course than there were in the bare dunes.


Adam


Do the course manager cite any reasons as to why this is the case?


Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adam Lawrence on April 19, 2016, 07:22:10 AM
Not to me.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on April 19, 2016, 08:17:30 AM

What's more putting a golf course on links land might be better for the bio-diversity of the site than leaving it to be grazed. It's the sort of thing someone like Mike Wood would be able to give chapter and verse about I'm sure.



I was at Strandhill in Ireland last week, where, along with architect Ally McIntosh of this parish, the club is hoping to build two new holes in the raw dunes between the present course and the water. Interestingly, course manager Jason Kelly told me that the local environmental management types had done a survey of biodiversity on the site, and concluded that there were a lot more species in the area maintained as golf course than there were in the bare dunes.


Adam


Do the course manager cite any reasons as to why this is the case?


Ciao


I haven't seen the most recent survey other than Jason giving me the highlights a couple of weeks ago. What I do know is that when I put the plan together that involved building two new holes on the south west plateau, I did a lot of research in to what I thought was the best golfing option most likely to receive planning approval. I used a previous 2004 environmental report that indicated the high area was species poor, predominantly marram with no great diversity in flora or fauna such as would be found in the dune slacks further behind. It therefore doesn't surprise me that they have more wildlife on the lower areas where the course is currently situated. Certainly in our last meeting with National Parks & Wildlife, that was the impression they also gave.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on April 19, 2016, 10:48:26 AM
Kris


I've no idea about Ian's involvement with the project if any. I'll leave him to answer the question if he wishes but irrespective of whether he is or not, I don't think there is any doubt that if the project went ahead that it would add to the economy of the area which I think was the main point that Ian was making. The question is whether that benefit is worth the downside or at least the perceived downside, which perhaps can be summed up by Ken's post (which as Ken admits is perhaps selfish, and I say that as someone who shares his concerns) about how things will change at existing clubs including RDGC, and your principle concern (assuming I read you correctly) which seems to be the development of a environmentally sensitive area.


Personally I suspect you might be overstating the environmental impact of any course development (that of course depends on how they go about the development ie. Balmedie style or Mach Dunes style) but haven't been over the land or read any environmental assessments.


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 19, 2016, 11:55:30 AM
Niall,
There is no question that economic gain would be made with a world class links offering up in Dornoch. I NEVER said I was against any course going in up that way.
NOT that site has been my positon. For a multitude of reasons.
Ian reached out to me and shed light on his position, and his take.
Sadly, as Pete correctly pointed out, this IS a very important topic.
It gets personal some time. My intent is always to try to stay on the subject matter at hand. Knowing to what audience we are speaking to has validity.
Some folks are more private than others. I respect that. But when you swing from this tree house, if we are not candid, forthright or straight, at the outset, on who we are, and where our perspective comes from...there seems to be a hollowness there.
I've said many times that I believe this is the most stimulating portal in all of golf. Discussion on here, at it's best, has no equal.
Feathers get ruffled. It sometimes gets  heated. But so long as the content is thought-provoking, and the discourse civil, it's a winner...warts and all.
I've given my views. Others are entitled to theirs. If a go ahead is given on THAT Embo tract, it will be in the hands of as good a group of land stewards as we have in the game.
There is no questioning the caliber of that team.

Cheers,
Kris

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jason Topp on April 19, 2016, 12:40:10 PM
I do not have any position on this particular issue but appreciate having an opponent speak up here. 

The issues raised in this thread are a critical component of almost any golf course development and those interested in GCA should give them serious consideration.     
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: MClutterbuck on April 19, 2016, 03:33:56 PM


It was a reference to your point that RDGC, and indeed, any number of other links courses were developed on similar sites to Embro. What's more putting a golf course on links land might be better for the bio-diversity of the site than leaving it to be grazed. It's the sort of thing someone like Mike Wood would be able to give chapter and verse about I'm sure.


Niall


Always amazes me how much easier it is to throw cows into a wetland than place a golf course around it... particularly if you are a local farmer.

It further amazes me how easy it is for third parties to place burdens on owners that go above and beyond the law and prior to facts being established...  would love to see the same passion to fundraise, buy and protect the land for posterity.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Michael H on April 19, 2016, 05:59:36 PM
First, a personal thanks to David and Kris.   I'm heading to the Highlands in four weeks and am fascinated by this thread.    Since my first round will be at Durness I thought this article about its inception was interesting and might cast a different light on the Embo issue.

http://new.durness.org/?page_id=1034 (http://new.durness.org/?page_id=1034)

Down South the provincial approach is to dismiss outsiders with a curt observation that "he ain't from around here."   While I value the comments and connections of both David and Kris, it's one thing to own property and visit frequent or marry well into the son-in-law program - it's quite another to "be from around here"  and have the soil embedded in your soul.  My guess is the locals will figure this thing out.   I'm guessing to them it's not about whether it's Keiser or Trump.   While one of those two might be better intentioned or more popular on this site I'm reminded that he does in fact charge full retail.   Would he do it for sport or love?  I sure hope so. 

I'm beyond excited about driving the NC500 with Kathie next month.  My expectation?  I will see some stunning landscapes and meet some wonderful people who today can't fathom they need another golf course in the area.  I suspect golf in Scotland is a matter of the heart (but again, how should I know?) - but not of the head or hip pocket.  Maybe they need another Durness or two (don't we all?).  Another Castle Stuart or Royal Dornoch?  Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Regardless I can't wait.  I read North to the Links of Dornoch 45 years ago at the age of 13.  It's been a long time coming.

Respectfully,

Mike
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tom_Doak on April 19, 2016, 07:17:45 PM
Since my first round will be at Durness I thought this article about its inception was interesting and might cast a different light on the Embo issue.


As a point of interest, years ago, Mr. Keiser was VERY interested in the idea of building a new 18 holes in the big dunes beyond Durness.  He did not think it had too much prospect of a commercial return, so everything was to be done for a minimal investment ... he just thought the dunes were beautiful, and a big course would convince more people to visit that remote corner of Scotland.


Bill Coore convinced Mike that the course couldn't be built for the modest budget that he envisioned, and he eventually dropped the idea.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Dave McCollum on April 19, 2016, 09:07:49 PM
I’ve tried three times to post a comment because I’ve spent 27 years involved in environmental and land use issues, specifically related to golf and agriculture.  I’ve failed each time to come up something that has not already been said, in one way or another, on both sides of this discussion.  No dog in the fight, I’ll just read with interest and shut up.  Thanks for letting me take myself off the hook.  These discussions can get complicated and do damage to passionate beliefs.  I have enough scar tissue already.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 20, 2016, 06:03:53 PM
Michael,
You will love Durness! Another absolute charmer up that way. It's a winding, but glorious trek from Dornoch across some of the wildest and varied ground I've seen anywhere.
As Tom alluded to, there is some stunning coastline in that immediate area around Durness.
I'll always remenber the day I made that ride over there, as we were ambling along a VERY rural country road, but not single track, we rounded a bend and came apon a cluster of land rovers. It was late August if I recall, and witnessed an unforgettable scene. An entire bird hunting party was emptying out of the vehicles and forming up to begin the hunt.
The array of magnificent dogs, some beautiful firearms and classic hunting attires worn by the group was a picture from another era... only it wasn't!
That is the type of timeless moment that that region of Scotland STILL delivers. The main reason is because much of that area is locked up in the hands of folks NOT interested in growth, progress and all that goes with it.
As you will see, various crofts (farm or grazing) , many estate lands, moors etc. knit together to maintain a landscape that still has its rugged natural beauty and  integrity.
The remoteness of it has insulated it from "development."
So far!
Therein lies the inherent danger of blowing up a village like Dornoch into some bustling "growth" community. No one expects things to remain the same forever. That's a given.
Golf, on it's own, has one of the lightest footprints possible, in the RIGHT places, to provide economic opportunity to a community.
 That's been going on up there, and loads of other places, worldwide, since the early days of the railroad.
Let me ask others that have been to them, does the golfing "hub" that is Nairn feel like Dornoch? Does any other golfing in Scotland have the sense of Dornoch?
Where things become problematic is the
" expansion" that is sure to follow when something becomes a focused, designated "hub" for something.
The local population, in the end, USUALLY  holds what determination of their community will look like.
That said,, outside influence often has a way of
 " convincing" decision makers at the local level to embark on things that end up changing permanently, and often not for the better, what gave the place it's special qualities.
When you layer in governmental agencies that need to justify their existence by " fostering" growth and economic initiatives, that only adds to the haste in generating an opportunity to tout. 
Economic gain alone is not enough reason to approve something, especially in the wrong place,  if it ends up ruining what gave a community it's defining qualities.
Dornoch has enjoyed a certain vibe, a mystique if you will, that has "entranced" golfers, AND non-golfers to a certain degree, since the 1800's.
It HAS been the small bucolic scale, and intertwined fabric of that village, which provided the special and unique flavor it holds. Lose that, and it loses what separates it from most other places.
 Sometimes adding something takes away from the overall presenation. It could be the BEST ingredient in the world. But it changes what made the recipe so good... that which gave the dish it's superb taste.
I saw significant things change during the years I visited regularly, particularly  the allowing of housing to be placed without regard to the sense of arrival, that began to alter the formerly quaint feel coming up the road into the village from the A-9. I'm sure it's worse now.
Dornoch is not unlike countless other rural places, worldwide, that wrestle with trying to create economic vitality, yet not lose what they have. I so hope and pray they get it right.
My first trip to Scotland was as a Pebble Beach caddie, on an epic trip in which we played  the St. Andrew's caddies in an awesome competition of fellowship and comraderie.
I went up to Dornoch afterward, with two fellow caddies, after reading how amazing the golfing experience AND town was.
What I found there was what Mike Keiser and everybody else found there. It was THAT experience which propelled his vision.
 THAT Dornoch was EVERYTHING I had read about!
Will those that go there in the future be able to say the same thing?

Enjoy your trip Michael, while it's still there.

Cheers,
Kris 8)




.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on April 21, 2016, 05:18:52 AM


It was a reference to your point that RDGC, and indeed, any number of other links courses were developed on similar sites to Embro. What's more putting a golf course on links land might be better for the bio-diversity of the site than leaving it to be grazed. It's the sort of thing someone like Mike Wood would be able to give chapter and verse about I'm sure.


Niall


Always amazes me how much easier it is to throw cows into a wetland than place a golf course around it... particularly if you are a local farmer.


Amazed ! really ? Do you not know what farmers do then ?

It further amazes me how easy it is for third parties to place burdens on owners that go above and beyond the law and prior to facts being established... Now you've really got me puzzled. What third parties, and what exactly are they doing outwith the law ? And further more, how are they getting away with it. The last time I looked we were reasonably good in this country at upholding the law, maybe not perfect but pretty good all the same. would love to see the same passion to fundraise, buy and protect the land for posterity. That sounds like you are reducing the issue to who has the most money. In this country interested parties can have a say through the planning process as to how land is used. That at least allows for the public interest to be considered which to my way of thinking is better than deciding the matter purely by who has the deepest pockets.



Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: MClutterbuck on April 21, 2016, 10:37:55 AM


It was a reference to your point that RDGC, and indeed, any number of other links courses were developed on similar sites to Embro. What's more putting a golf course on links land might be better for the bio-diversity of the site than leaving it to be grazed. It's the sort of thing someone like Mike Wood would be able to give chapter and verse about I'm sure.


Niall


Always amazes me how much easier it is to throw cows into a wetland than place a golf course around it... particularly if you are a local farmer.


Amazed ! really ? Do you not know what farmers do then ?

It further amazes me how easy it is for third parties to place burdens on owners that go above and beyond the law and prior to facts being established... Now you've really got me puzzled. What third parties, and what exactly are they doing outwith the law ? And further more, how are they getting away with it. The last time I looked we were reasonably good in this country at upholding the law, maybe not perfect but pretty good all the same. would love to see the same passion to fundraise, buy and protect the land for posterity. That sounds like you are reducing the issue to who has the most money. In this country interested parties can have a say through the planning process as to how land is used. That at least allows for the public interest to be considered which to my way of thinking is better than deciding the matter purely by who has the deepest pockets.



Niall


I know what cows do to wetlands. I know a golf course intelligently planned around a wetland is better than farming cows in the wetland. I know farmers get away with this more than a golf course developer.


With respect to my comments about the law. I am sure Scotland has good laws protecting land and establishing appropriate processes. I repeatedly see people, including on this thread, trying to place burdens on the land owner prior to facts being established in a fair process that also considers the ownership rights.


I am not reducing the issue to money. If land is important for public interest, either the government or charities can buy it from the owner at a fair price. I would like to see this effort used more than the political process trying to stop initiatives unfairly and forcing the owner to do other things, sometimes less visible but worse for the land environmentally. Two examples of this: farming and social housing.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 21, 2016, 11:33:09 PM
Comparing cow grazing habits impact on THAT site,  to the level of disturbance trying to shoehorn a links golf course there would produce, is quite a stretch.
Cows, in the main  will: degrade some of the vegetation, rut the ground along their travel routes, and leave urine and fecal matter that the area wouldn't normally have.
While none of those things is good, they ARE consistent with the traditional use of that neighboring land.
Cows also AVOID large portions of  certain ground found there because there is little to their liking.
Wildlife and livestock, though sometimes conflicting within a habitat, typically adapt to coexist rather well. They have had centuries to accomplish that.

Square that against : construction equipment, their noise, significant earthmoving disturbance and alteration of the landscape, introduction of irrigation, ongoing course maintainence impacts,
with MAJOR increases in human AND vehicular traffic for what has long  been a QUIET, rather isolated sanctuary for birdlife and other estuary denizens.
The injected golf land use, while certainly having agrarian elements, will have RADICALLY different impacts on that site.

The fact bird studies are being undertaken should give ample evidence it isn't a simple farm wetland puddle  or beach area site.

As to " burdening " the land owner, when you are significantly changing the land use of a site, the burden is often on them to prove it's a reponsible change and use. This is ESPECIALLY true of areas with proximity  to an estuary, one of this planet's most important and unique ecosystems.
The value of an estuary area is basically a normal wetland situation cubed!!!!

Birdlife migrations and numbers cycle up and down. How can ONE year of study on THAT site accurately reflect what really goes on there over time? It can't.
 How can the true impact on that estuary area, both short and longterm, of a new golf course on the birdlife, and other site inhabitants be determined when it hasn't ever even been there. It can't.
That's why the "process" is bogus.
Does any honest appraisal of what went on at Balmedie not confirm that ANYTHING can be justified.The science was irrelevant.

Remember, the initial local vote was NO.
The Scottish higher ups stepped in and parted the dunes. Big money spoke, and the snake oil did the rest.

It doesn't matter the quality or caliber of those leading the proposed development.
EVEN if they are the BEST in the world.
What matters is the depth and integrity of the analysis. Then, once that has been throughly examined, a RESPONSIBLE decision must be rendered; not  subverted or twisted to accommodate the " economic benefits and jobs" mantra that
DOMINATES the mindsets of government and business folks.
Again, there can be NO sustained economic health WITHOUT environmental health.

If there is never a NO answer, and there rarely is, there is only one end game. A sick, dying planet.
There are some government programs,  and numerous  private organizations, worldwide, that constantly are committing money, time and personal effort to preserve sites like the one in Embo.
Until golf was recently proposed
for that Coul Farm site, it WAS being preserved. As a coastal estuary buffer to the farmland and other ground inland.

Time will tell what road the"process" takes.

Cheers,
Kris





Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 22, 2016, 07:25:26 AM
It struck me, when reflecting on where else in Scotland a somewhat similar situation might exist already.....it does, at Brora, not a half hour up the A-9!
That area is far more open in nature than the Embo site though. The Artic Tern, the club logo,  breeds  on edges of play by the course thete. Certain species, both birds, and other wildlife,  can  adapt to live their lives on an altered topography.
But MANY can not.
A quick check of the Brora birdlife website reveals an array of birds that frequent the area around there.
Cows and sheep are rotated through the combined farmland\ golf turf during the year.
That is probably the best representation of what an Embo site,  AFTER a century of healing... MIGHT look like.
I love Brora, and everything about it. That course is about a half an hour up the coast from Dornoch.

And that's the point! I don't know the exact waterway dispersion along that coastline, but I bet that is the next  significant, large river/ stream confluence with the sea up from the Embo estuary.

Heavy human traffic is a constant up in Brora. You can be SURE that certain species willl have their behavior and ability to function SEVERELY disrupted, if not changed PERMENANTLY with the introduction of a new golf course on that Embo site.
Walk the Embo site,  and then walk the Brora golf course. Then try to tell someone with a straight face that they are both about the same.
It isn't even close between the two in grandeur OR diversity!
What's the mandate...slam a links course in at any estuary site possible because we can?
There iare ALREADY two golf courses a few miles from the proposed Embo site.
Where does it end? Don't the other creatures on the planet deserve some places to just exist in peace and remain as they are.
Especially areas MOST critical to reproductive survival and early development of those species.
Estuary sites such as THAT in  Embo  provide the nurseries for critters of the land, air and water...BOTH fresh and salt.

That is why you don't build there.

But I know,  the " retail golfer " and that almighty economic gain comes first.

Cheers,
Kris
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: jeffwarne on April 22, 2016, 08:27:13 AM
What amazes me is that a "retail" golfer needs a new modern course addition as an incentive to visit the area (or for that mattervirtually ANY partof the UK and Ireland for golf.)
Maybe we just need less retail golfers.....
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: MClutterbuck on April 22, 2016, 04:43:36 PM
Kris, the cow example in a wetland example might have nothing to do with this specific site that I do not know at all. With a wetland, two dozen cows will be far worse than everything that happens while building and maintaining a sensible 18 hole golf course. The cows WILL severely impact the wetland, if not outright kill all valuable species. The well maintained golf course will showcase the wetland, preserve it and allow it to thrive. Yet in many places I know, cows get placed there without any questioning or interference from public or government while the golf course gets tremendous bad publicity and banned. I am just saying, a fair process should be followed and I am all for protecting the environment, and not only today, Earth Day.



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 22, 2016, 05:14:58 PM
Happy Earth Day! How appropriate. I agree that roaming cows can wreck havoc on a wetland.
Fair process needs to apply to the wildlife inhabitants as well. And THAT often gets compromised for the reasons outlined previously.

I'll share a powerful thought I just heard today, and let the tree house chew on it.

"The whole non-human world is singing, but many of us are not listening."

I know this. If one of the most responsible voices in the game takes a step back, that bold statement would have FAR more benefit for golf, and the non-golfing population's view of us as WISE citizens of the world, than ANYTHING that Embo site could deliver.

Cheers,
A listener 8)
 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Will MacEwen on April 22, 2016, 05:42:10 PM
This reminds me of the song by Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi (Paved Paradise and put up a parking lot...)


A Canadian folk singer, she was dismayed by the rawness of our country's vast wilderness. She lamented the lack of development and industrialization and the corresponding lack of opportunity. 


A close listening of the song reveals that in the end, what used to be considered paradise has been paved and everyone is better for it. Not only does it give her townsfolk a place to park their cars, but they can have farmers markets, road hockey tournaments, and even bleach their tires and do brakestands and burn outs in their muscle cars. She even notes how it is an improvement on farming because farms are not always environmentally friendly.  (Hey farmer farmer put away that DDT).


In short, sometimes you can improve on paradise by just paving it over.



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on April 22, 2016, 05:47:32 PM
The cows WILL severely impact the wetland, if not outright kill all valuable species.

How do you know this?

Is it not the case that the cows might not only help to prevent certain plants from taking over the site by churning up the ground but also through this give some valuable flora the chance to fill the void left.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on April 22, 2016, 05:54:17 PM
Where is Any Rand when you need her to set everyone straight.  We know what she'd do!!   ;D
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Steve Salmen on April 22, 2016, 09:20:53 PM
What endangered bird, rodent, reptile, flower, insect, or other life form will be affected here?
I own and read Dr. Macleod's years ago and don't recall mention of this land.
I will be in Dornoch this July and will make a point of seeing this land.
I've been on the wrong side of government interests and almost always sympathize with land owners.
Dornoch is a special place to me.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 23, 2016, 08:05:39 AM
Will,
You've got to be kidding ? Do you even understand the lytics? She talks about trees that used to be....NOW being in museums where people get CHARGED to see them!
She tells the farmers to PUT A5WAY the DDT.... she'll TAKE the spots!!!  You know, MORE naturally grown, LESS chemically enhanced.
DDT damn near wiped out the Bald Eagle, the national bird of the USA, and SEVERELY  impacted other species.
How you can draw the conclusions you stated from her lyrics of that song is ridiculous.

Steve,
Something DOESN'T have to be endangered to understand it should be ALLOWED a proper place to reproduce and live.
If man continues to show the PATHETIC disregard for the other inhabitants on the planet we have ,we WILL, in the end, destroy our OWN ability to sustain. It's that simple.
Dr. John didn't mention that site in the book. Which is a wonderful club history by the way. He, and his daughter, both keen golfers, felt that while THAT site would no doubt make for great golf....IT SHOULD BE LEFT ALONE due to its uniqueness and importance to area wildlife, particularly the birdlife that uses it. Just because it isn't in the book, doesn't mean it's open season to degrade it!
Remember, that site is in EMBO, NOT  Dornoch.
 I'll say again, NO WAY he would have wanted that ground changed for golf, and he would certainly be DEEPLY upset that his club, which he supported tirelessly, was advocating for doing so.
It is startling to me,  the clear disconnect by so many on here, that we can continue to degrade the planet and  everything is fine.
World fish stocks are down like 70% from historic numbers. Cod, for example, have been over harvested to the point that it isn't even a viable fishery in New England anymore! Tuna numbers and size average, are WAY down.

 I can go on and on. I fish. I have all my life. But I'm not stupid about taking too many, just because I could. Catch and release, take one or two for a meal, and that's it. There AIN'T enough of them left to do othetwise in most cases!

Sure, there are success stories where we have averted disaster...stripped bass RECOVERY
and improved lobster numbers, with size and quota LIMITS.
But overall, mankind needs to be a much better steward than we have been.
If not, future generations, provided we don't bomb each other to death,  will look back on our time and say,  " What IDIOTS, they helped  destroy their own home!

We're capable of so much better. Man's often a selfish beast. We SHARE the planet folks. And in the grand scheme of things, our ignorance of that reality will probably cost us our existence.
Food for thought...
Cheers,
Kris 8)


 



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: jeffwarne on April 23, 2016, 08:18:43 AM
This reminds me of the song by Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi (Paved Paradise and put up a parking lot...)


A Canadian folk singer, she was dismayed by the rawness of our country's vast wilderness. She lamented the lack of development and industrialization and the corresponding lack of opportunity. 


A close listening of the song reveals that in the end, what used to be considered paradise has been paved and everyone is better for it. Not only does it give her townsfolk a place to park their cars, but they can have farmers markets, road hockey tournaments, and even bleach their tires and do brakestands and burn outs in their muscle cars. She even notes how it is an improvement on farming because farms are not always environmentally friendly.  (Hey farmer farmer put away that DDT).


In short, sometimes you can improve on paradise by just paving it over.


I really don't understand this post.
Sarcasm?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Eric Smith on April 23, 2016, 08:23:01 AM
This reminds me of the song by Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi (Paved Paradise and put up a parking lot...)


A Canadian folk singer, she was dismayed by the rawness of our country's vast wilderness. She lamented the lack of development and industrialization and the corresponding lack of opportunity. 


A close listening of the song reveals that in the end, what used to be considered paradise has been paved and everyone is better for it. Not only does it give her townsfolk a place to park their cars, but they can have farmers markets, road hockey tournaments, and even bleach their tires and do brakestands and burn outs in their muscle cars. She even notes how it is an improvement on farming because farms are not always environmentally friendly.  (Hey farmer farmer put away that DDT).


In short, sometimes you can improve on paradise by just paving it over.


I really don't understand this post.
Sarcasm?

My first thought when reading it was "Wookin Pa Nub" ;D
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Will MacEwen on April 23, 2016, 06:41:36 PM
You guys can't possibly be serious. Listen to the song.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 23, 2016, 11:05:07 PM
Will,
That song is not applauding development.
The ENTIRE song is all about losing what was dear to her.
Joni Mitchell wrote a LOT about societal issues in that period.
That song was written in 1970. The height of flower power and all the rest of it.
Do you think younger artists of that era were all about paving over the natural world?
To help you, type in Big Yellow Taxi and look at the Wikipedia information on THAT song.
In black and white, she is quoted as telling a journalist her inspiration for THAT song was when  she was in Hawaii and looked out a window... first
gazing at the awesome green mountains and then being disgusted by tbe sea of pavememt below them.

 Kindly read that EXACT quote and then try and explain where the endorsement for the better, "modern" world you claim she's touting is in those lyrics !?

Hate to say it, but your take is exhibit A of the disconnect.
It might be a good idea to do a little deeper homework for "context" before making an assertion.

Cheers.
Kris
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Will MacEwen on April 23, 2016, 11:16:15 PM
As someone who grew up in rural Canada in the 1970s I think I have a pretty good knowledge of what she is saying.  We were her audience. The struggle was far too real and she spoke to us.  I've always found the song inspiring.


Anyway, sorry for sidetracking.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 23, 2016, 11:40:44 PM
Check that Wikipedia information on Big Yellow Taxi. I'm not looking to blast you, but misinformation IS a major problem when discussing important  environmental issues. Even songs, misinterpreted, can confuse people.

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 23, 2016, 11:43:28 PM
It is a good song. We just need to be sure what it means.
Cheers.
Kris


Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: jeffwarne on April 24, 2016, 09:08:43 AM
As someone who grew up in rural Canada in the 1970s I think I have a pretty good knowledge of what she is saying.  We were her audience. The struggle was far too real and she spoke to us.  I've always found the song inspiring.


Anyway, sorry for sidetracking.


I'm not arguing. I'm just genuinely interested-and I happen to think your commentary is extremely ON topic.
Wikipedia is only as good as its source-plenty of misinformation there.
It's a perspective I had never thought about and never in a million years would've thought that's what she meant.
I'm intrigued.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Alexander MacDonald on April 24, 2016, 05:13:20 PM
[quote author=Tim_Weiman link=topic=62771.msg1494303#msg1494303 date=

i was told that RDC's ferilizer budget would fund Golspie's entire greenkeeping operation for a year. Now, that's not the way it should be IMHO, but it gives you an idea of why they're a little jealous.


This is an incredible claim. Who exactly told you this Ken? As head greenkeeper at Golspie I can tell you that is categorically false. Our course spend is around £20k/year now, with wages budget of around just under 3x that. As for the ridiculousness of the last bit about being jealous, that too is an insult. Firstly we are quite comfortable growing our budgets in line with visitor numbers. We have no reason to be jealous. RD is a world class course and we need RD to be the magnet for this area in order to get the spin off. Staff at RD have been massively supportive of the course and especially the improvements at Golspie. They send many visitors our way and even support our club further by holding their Carnegie Shield spin offs in August. This has resulted in us having an opportunity to showcase our course to some of the best golfers visiting the area and many of them then become members. This is one of a number of reasons we are the exact opposite of jealous. We are indeed hugely grateful of RD.


Now that I'm off my soap box i can now get back to this original thread that David started, Coul Links.


As a born and bred Embo lad, a golfing fanatic since the age of 4 and Greenkeeper for the last 18yrs, I can't tell you enough how massive this is for our village. Most of the village folk, not all, are hugely supportive of the proposed Links. The job opportunities and the tourism regeneration by turning the area in to a destination would be fantastic. There are some people that are a little sceptical of the initial proposal not having a clubhouse and instead running the golfers by shuttle from Dornoch, therefore by passing Embo altogether. There was then the proposal that it would be handed over to RD once the initial costs were recuperated by the developer. That did not go down well with a lot of the people. I'm sure the developers will rethink some of this, as I get the impression they are here to better the area and not to make a quick buck.


The land itself is a huge swathe from Embo, north towards Littleferry some 2.5mls away. It then moves inland westwards following Loch Fleet for around 3/4mile. It is around 600yds wide at it's narrowest point and has various sizes of dunes in the dune slack area and has some lovely contours around the area used for Agriculture. The area floods in winter due to the 4 water sources entering the property that then run to ground. These could easily be diverted in to the main carrier stream, the Cluain, that runs out to sea. The area, although a SSSI, has become overgrown with some broad leaved grasses which a re choking out the native marrams etc. There are some fenced off areas throughout which I assume are of more significance. I'd say that these will be avoided in the routing, there is more than enough room to skirt these and avoid the primary dunes also. When you think that the area at RD is around 250yds from boundary to sea on the 4th to 13th Tee, you can see with the vastness of Coul, the lack of problems these SSSIs will pose in routing.


If the course does get the go ahead, it won't be the first time golf has been played on the Coul Links. I was playing along there in school holidays some 25yrs ago and still hit balls on it to this day. It is an area of huge importance for the village of Embo, with walkers using it on a daily basis. One look at the site and you'd see why, it's the most beautiful place you can imagine. I get what the chap says regarding Doctor John's thoughts, and with absolutely no disrespect intended, I think he would maybe feel a little different to that since the opening of Castle Stuart. Their opening has hit our clubs up here hard. Believe it or not, their opening has exasperated the phenomena that sees golfer race up the A9 to jump out and play RD then race back to Inverness and stay the night. It has made Inverness the centre point of their Highland travels and not Dornoch. The proposal of Coul Links then turns Dornoch in to the destination for anyone coming up. If they come up on a Monday to play RD, they will play Coul also in a day. The likelihood of them going straight down the road afterwards is greatly reduced and then offers the other clubs in the area the opportunity to have them play the next day. It's a great idea and having seen the effects of Castle Stuart's opening, I am positive it is one that Doctor John would have reevaluated. Yes the land for the proposed site is special, there is nobody more aware of that than the Embo folk, the people that make use of it on a daily basis. We love the area, and we would not support any vandalism of it. That is where Mr Keiser is, in my view, the perfect developer should it get the go ahead. His assigned architects are superb with working with the land. I'd be surprised if they weren't very sensitive to the land first and foremost, using the advice of SNH on the SSSI issues and then there's the feelings of the locals. There is a long way to go in this feasibility stages and should it get the go ahead, I'm positive that clubs in the area would be hugely supportive of it. Having spoken to some at Golspie, I know they are excited about the prospect of an increase in visitor numbers staying in the area.


Great thread guys and glad to see some passion from all involved. Regardless of what happens, it's a hugely exciting time for Embo and there's a large proportion of the village praying it gets the go ahead. Fingers crossed!

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 25, 2016, 01:34:58 AM
Alexander,
A thoughtful take. Thank you! I respect and agree with portions of your views.
There are a few areas where I would share some concerns,
 and certainly would appreciate a bit more illumination.
First, on your belief that Dr. John would perhaps rethink his position in the light of Castle Stuart's dampening round numbers at RD's surrounding courses.
Did you know him? I hope you did,  because he was an ace of a human being and a very wise man.
I wish he was still here. He thought deeply,  and from a broad spectrum of nterests. He had GREAT affinity for the other area clubs,  in fact telling me, with a wry smile, on several occasions, how much he, and other members loved traveling for away matches or just day trips for a go!
He certainly understood the economic pressure and challenges they faced, especially in slower years. I recall him mentioning that RD had some mighty quiet times after Lockerbie and a couple of other slow periods, when they resorted to car boot sales of household extras to raise money for the club! It got that dire at times....even for RD.
I'm not sure that adding Coul Links will lead to that much more play at Golspie or other courses, beyond what they are getting now from their proximity to RD.
First-timers, unless they are the savvy, or more discerning types, aren't venturing to the second tier offerings that first trip up,  in most cases. Revisiting golfers generally will be back to immerse more locally, and the Dornoch area gets a fair share of those.
I believe that continuing to strengthen and sharpen marketing of what you HAVE, highlighting an overall experience worth lingering for, will deliver  more than just the piggyback, or drafting effect of a Coul Links.
Refine YOUR product; make it special in the ways that are possible.

All that said, I do not think Dr. John would advocate disturbing that ground for golf or ANY other significant impact. He recognized, as most folks do that don't believe making money is the most important criteria, when making a decision, that certain places simply need to be left alone. Period.
Walking that now takes place at that Embo is a quiet, passive use. The impacts of a new golf course build alone,  and then the radically altered daily activities of maintenance, and other needs to deliver for the belt notcher crowd that descends on the place during the season, WILL stress the wildlife inhabitants severely. That is a MAJOR problem, and you don't seem to be very
concerned about that.
Respecting that SOME wildlife can adapt to increased human intrusion within their environment, MANY can not.
There are breeding and resting areas in numerous locations there.
 Is passing off disturbing that site,  as acceptable collateral damage for an economic opportunity, really responsible stewardship of the land?
Given the VAST experience THAT development team has in creating  exceptional golf ....on ALREADY altered ground, wouldn't the more prudent choice, for ALL involved, be to secure LESS environmentally sensitive ground for the project?
There are plenty of alternative parcels in the area, with the views and the setting to stoke that superb talent, to produce something special.
The excuse that it needs to be that Embo site, or they pack up and go home....to me calls into serious question as to what is really in play. And it should to YOU as well.
EVERYONE, including you, knows that place is very unique and something of rare quality.
 It is an estuary area for goodness sake. SSI locations and the need for extensive ( but not really) bird studies...c'mon Alexander...you siimply DON'T put a golf course there!
Sure, you may be able to snake a routing in amongst the SSI, but that doesn't prevent the negative impacts. Again, certain species do not do well in heavy human traffic situations...which will be unavoidable in a golf course scenario.
 This is particularly true when trying to find wayward shots on an often windblown course. How much width can be responsibly put into such a routing?
It floods...because thats how it should function. Alter than, and you are significantly changing the site. You mention the four water sources. More reasons to NOT build there.
It's not a question of vandalism, or that the architects would do illegal things, they wouldn't...it's that the "process" will be bias to finding a way to support approval, when in any proper decision, based on what's best for the ACTUAL inhabitants that use it,  we KNOW that verdict is a NO GO on that Embo site!
 Since they don't have a voice, other than the scanty studies offered as "evidence"...it's easy to skew the data to gain approval, and that once majestic site is degraded forever.
Sorry, that is the reality of what often goes down. Look at Balmedie
...a complete farce....ZERO integrity to that "process."
My rather detailed posts are not those of an expert, but of a fairly informed individual who has sadly, seen the same manipulated endgame firsthand in similar situations.
The squeeze is on for approval. It doesn't smell good.
I know the ground. That is NOT a responsible site for a links golf course.

In closing, I find it sad that a son of Embo feels that money is justification to forever alter the UNMATCHED natural importance and beauty of perhaps it's most arresting ground. WOW.
I hope it all works out, but a feeling of dread, for ALL the change it will bring. gripped me the moment I heard it might go under the blade... and it has only deepened.

Cheers,
Kris







 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on April 25, 2016, 05:02:26 AM
I fully understand local ambition for more economic development, but I have to wonder what is the point of designating land as special in any way?  Why is tax money being spent on this sort of thing if expert opinion on why land is special is to be ignored?  Its bewildering to me.  Part of the reason for designating land is to protect it when temptation rears its head.  But it seems as soon as a good offer comes along protection be damned.  Lets at least hope lessons are learned from the Trump fiasco and the decision is left with the local authority should an application ever be submitted.   


All that said...I do think one more class course in the area would encourage golfers to spend an extra night in the area.  Has there been a study to show the impact of an extra 10,000 stays in the area?  All that said again, the model of the course is incredibly important.  Pay & play probably works, private may be a disaster for the smaller clubs in the area.   


Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on April 25, 2016, 06:09:42 AM
Sean


The SSSI designation (meaning Site of Special Scientific Interest) is an important part of identifying sites that are worth considering and preserving. There will be times when for one reason or another the SSSI designation will not be enough to stop development of a particular site but in most instances it will either stop or greatly modify development it. The latter is likely to be the case at Coul Links. The one outstanding case where SSSI was ignored or at least the authorities felt there was an over riding reason for ignoring the SSSI was Balmedie. And they got bounced into that by a shameful bit of grandstanding by the Scottish Government which I suspect they later regretted.


That instance aside I suspect that the SSSI designation has been very useful to the extent that existing courses often get all or part of their course designated and then work with the authorities to help maintain what is there. That's what Kris doesn't really appreciate, that golf courses can often be an environmental haven if managed the correct way.


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on April 25, 2016, 06:57:00 AM
Sean,


a new private members club in the Dornoch area would not effect the other clubs in the area as it would go bankrupt before it opened. The figures for new private clubs in the north of Scotland just do not add up and believe me I do know what I am talking about.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on April 25, 2016, 08:21:14 AM
Jon


I suspect that Mike Keiser and Todd Warnock will be working on a slightly larger budget than you are ! With Keisers rep and that of the architects, I suspect that a "traditional" members club or some variance thereof, with a sizeable overseas membership and a high level of visitor play could work. I'd also imagine that Mr Keiser has deep enough pockets to bankroll it and tweak his working model until it does work. Time will tell, assuming it gets built.


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 25, 2016, 09:32:38 AM
Niall,
I most certainly DO understand that a golf coursr, or several for that matter, CAN coexist and even enhance wildlife in CERTAIN situations.
However, there are also  certain locations whete this is NOT the case! This will be one of them.
As an individual that has made his modest living from both golf, as a caddie for decades, AND as a professional in landscape design/property management,
I have a fair handle on the subject.
Given what I just stated, I should be one thirsting to see this project a reality.
 But I know that site is not a RESPONSIBLE place to put a golf course when there are certainly other, less impactful options.
What part of what I just said doesn't make sense? Why the fixation on putting a course on that particular ground given the CLEAR envronmental sensitivity present.
It may be the best site...it is ALSO the WORST choice given what is there.
The zeal for the quid is beyond glaring, and the justifications are based ENTIRELY on profit.
John Muir said it best, "Nothing dollarable is safe!"
Ego is also present in abundance. ANYONE denying that is not being honest. If we can...we will.
If approved, there will be a hell of a price paid, on many levels.
If you've seen it before, and I have, you know what's coming.

Cheers,
Kris

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Garland Bayley on April 25, 2016, 11:24:05 AM
What amazes me is that a "retail" golfer needs a new modern course addition as an incentive to visit the area (or for that mattervirtually ANY partof the UK and Ireland for golf.)
Maybe we just need less retail golfers.....


and more wholesale golfers that learn to appreciate the kind of golf courses Jeff often promotes here.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Alexander MacDonald on April 25, 2016, 12:45:23 PM
Niall,
I most certainly DO understand that a golf coursr, or several for that matter, CAN coexist and even enhance wildlife in CERTAIN situations.


What certain situations Kris? I'd love to hear a reasoning on this

However, there are also  certain locations whete this is NOT the case! This will be one of them.


Again, why are you so sure? Are you really that dismissive of the developers abilities to work with the land, or to take on board the advice of the SNH and others?


As an individual that has made his modest living from both golf, as a caddie for decades, AND as a professional in landscape design/property management,
I have a fair handle on the subject.


I'm not doubting that for a second, how much development experience of golf courses have you got? Do you have an insight on as to why there is huge amounts of data on the increase in wildlife after a golf course has been built? Links courses included. Having said that, I have to agree with your (possibly someone else's) criticism of Balmedie, Trump in my opinion should be jailed for that monstrosity. I'm certain that is why this one will be completely different.
Given what I just stated, I should be one thirsting to see this project a reality.
 But I know that site is not a RESPONSIBLE place to put a golf course when there are certainly other, less impactful options.


Where are these Links areas?

What part of what I just said doesn't make sense? Why the fixation on putting a course on that particular ground given the CLEAR envronmental sensitivity present.
It may be the best site...it is ALSO the WORST choice given what is there.


What is there present that makes this the worst choice?
The zeal for the quid is beyond glaring, and the justifications are based ENTIRELY on profit.
John Muir said it best, "Nothing dollarable is safe!"
Ego is also present in abundance. ANYONE denying that is not being honest. If we can...we will.
If approved, there will be a hell of a price paid, on many levels.
If you've seen it before, and I have, you know what's coming.

Cheers,
Kris


I'm genuinely interested in the points you've raised. I don't mean to sound rude/short but this was done in a hurry as I'm heading out to dinner. I look forward to returning and reading what makes you so passionate about this being the wrong site for a course.

All the best Kris

Alexander
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: MClutterbuck on April 25, 2016, 01:21:03 PM
The cows WILL severely impact the wetland, if not outright kill all valuable species.

How do you know this?

Is it not the case that the cows might not only help to prevent certain plants from taking over the site by churning up the ground but also through this give some valuable flora the chance to fill the void left.


Jon, I know this from spending time with scientists on the ground studying a large wetland in Patagonia, that has been subjected to cow pasture for a few decades now. My learning is that cows will ruin a wetland in time, killing most if not all species that are unique to the wetland (ie not present in the rest of the property). Scientists wanted every cow out of the property immediately.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on April 25, 2016, 02:11:03 PM
Jon


I suspect that Mike Keiser and Todd Warnock will be working on a slightly larger budget than you are ! With Keisers rep and that of the architects, I suspect that a "traditional" members club or some variance thereof, with a sizeable overseas membership and a high level of visitor play could work. I'd also imagine that Mr Keiser has deep enough pockets to bankroll it and tweak his working model until it does work. Time will tell, assuming it gets built.


Niall


Niall,


I think most projects are done with a slightly larger budget than mine. I know what you are saying and think that a combination of country and oversees membership might be workable though very unpopular with other clubs in the area. I do not see a standard membership working unless they were to offer it for between £400 to £600 which I doubt would be feasible. However, I am sure that Mr. Keiser will use a model that will work.

MC,

I have no experience of Patagonian wetlands only continental European and Scottish Highland ones so cannot comment on your finding other than to say I am sure they are correct. I was led to believe by both the SEPA and SNH specialists that the hoof marks left by cows created opportunities for certain species of flora which otherwise would not appear. Of course, overgrazing or grazing in the wrong places at the wrong time is not desirable. I am not sure however how relevant South America is to Northern Scotland in this case nor if grazing would destroy all desirable plant life or not.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on April 25, 2016, 04:07:03 PM
[quote author=Tim_Weiman link=topic=62771.msg1494303#msg1494303 date=

i was told that RDC's ferilizer budget would fund Golspie's entire greenkeeping operation for a year. Now, that's not the way it should be IMHO, but it gives you an idea of why they're a little jealous.


This is an incredible claim. Who exactly told you this Ken? As head greenkeeper at Golspie I can tell you that is categorically false. Our course spend is around £20k/year now, with wages budget of around just under 3x that. As for the ridiculousness of the last bit about being jealous, that too is an insult. Firstly we are quite comfortable growing our budgets in line with visitor numbers. We have no reason to be jealous. RD is a world class course and we need RD to be the magnet for this area in order to get the spin off. Staff at RD have been massively supportive of the course and especially the improvements at Golspie. They send many visitors our way and even support our club further by holding their Carnegie Shield spin offs in August. This has resulted in us having an opportunity to showcase our course to some of the best golfers visiting the area and many of them then become members. This is one of a number of reasons we are the exact opposite of jealous. We are indeed hugely grateful of RD.


Now that I'm off my soap box i can now get back to this original thread that David started, Coul Links.


As a born and bred Embo lad, a golfing fanatic since the age of 4 and Greenkeeper for the last 18yrs, I can't tell you enough how massive this is for our village. Most of the village folk, not all, are hugely supportive of the proposed Links. The job opportunities and the tourism regeneration by turning the area in to a destination would be fantastic. There are some people that are a little sceptical of the initial proposal not having a clubhouse and instead running the golfers by shuttle from Dornoch, therefore by passing Embo altogether. There was then the proposal that it would be handed over to RD once the initial costs were recuperated by the developer. That did not go down well with a lot of the people. I'm sure the developers will rethink some of this, as I get the impression they are here to better the area and not to make a quick buck.


The land itself is a huge swathe from Embo, north towards Littleferry some 2.5mls away. It then moves inland westwards following Loch Fleet for around 3/4mile. It is around 600yds wide at it's narrowest point and has various sizes of dunes in the dune slack area and has some lovely contours around the area used for Agriculture. The area floods in winter due to the 4 water sources entering the property that then run to ground. These could easily be diverted in to the main carrier stream, the Cluain, that runs out to sea. The area, although a SSSI, has become overgrown with some broad leaved grasses which a re choking out the native marrams etc. There are some fenced off areas throughout which I assume are of more significance. I'd say that these will be avoided in the routing, there is more than enough room to skirt these and avoid the primary dunes also. When you think that the area at RD is around 250yds from boundary to sea on the 4th to 13th Tee, you can see with the vastness of Coul, the lack of problems these SSSIs will pose in routing.


If the course does get the go ahead, it won't be the first time golf has been played on the Coul Links. I was playing along there in school holidays some 25yrs ago and still hit balls on it to this day. It is an area of huge importance for the village of Embo, with walkers using it on a daily basis. One look at the site and you'd see why, it's the most beautiful place you can imagine. I get what the chap says regarding Doctor John's thoughts, and with absolutely no disrespect intended, I think he would maybe feel a little different to that since the opening of Castle Stuart. Their opening has hit our clubs up here hard. Believe it or not, their opening has exasperated the phenomena that sees golfer race up the A9 to jump out and play RD then race back to Inverness and stay the night. It has made Inverness the centre point of their Highland travels and not Dornoch. The proposal of Coul Links then turns Dornoch in to the destination for anyone coming up. If they come up on a Monday to play RD, they will play Coul also in a day. The likelihood of them going straight down the road afterwards is greatly reduced and then offers the other clubs in the area the opportunity to have them play the next day. It's a great idea and having seen the effects of Castle Stuart's opening, I am positive it is one that Doctor John would have reevaluated. Yes the land for the proposed site is special, there is nobody more aware of that than the Embo folk, the people that make use of it on a daily basis. We love the area, and we would not support any vandalism of it. That is where Mr Keiser is, in my view, the perfect developer should it get the go ahead. His assigned architects are superb with working with the land. I'd be surprised if they weren't very sensitive to the land first and foremost, using the advice of SNH on the SSSI issues and then there's the feelings of the locals. There is a long way to go in this feasibility stages and should it get the go ahead, I'm positive that clubs in the area would be hugely supportive of it. Having spoken to some at Golspie, I know they are excited about the prospect of an increase in visitor numbers staying in the area.


Great thread guys and glad to see some passion from all involved. Regardless of what happens, it's a hugely exciting time for Embo and there's a large proportion of the village praying it gets the go ahead. Fingers crossed!



Thanks for this post, Alex.  You, more than anyone else on this thread, can best offer us a balance of passion and knowledge regarding Coull Links.




As I've mentioned on many related threads over the past 15 years, I first knew of Coull Links when I first visited Dornoch in 1976.  I went to see it again yesterday with my wife, stepping though the cow patties adjacent to the local football pitch and onto the land.  It is a great site, but not as magnificently blank a canvas as Sand Hills was 20+ years ago.  Given respect and freedom, Coore and Crenshaw can build one (or maybe even two) world-class courses on that land, and as you say and imply, that improved land has the possibility of significantly improving the attractiveness and the economy of Dornoch and its environs, which I love.


Rich
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Dave McCollum on April 25, 2016, 04:32:58 PM
I understand Kris’s passion and have had similar views about developing natural land into something as artificial and manmade as a golf course.  I also promised to shut up and listen because others have already pointed out that golf courses are fairly friendly places for wildlife.    What I don’t understand is the wildlife Kris claims will be disrupted, forced to adapt, or displaced.  I’ve seen most of Scotland and have a personal affection for the Highlands—wild places like Rannoch Moor, glens, and mountains along the west coast.  However, in my travels the one thing that seems to be missing from my memory is significant wildlife populations.  Given that I was born and raised in the sparsely populated Western US deserts and mountains, Scotland seems rather civilized by comparison.  I’ve seen some stags, birds, marine life, and so on, but mostly I remember grazing domestic animals.  Maybe that is source of Kris’s passion:  the need to preserve the wild places that remain.  I don’t know Embo, but have a hard time imagining something like Yellowstone or the Frank Church Wilderness Area of Central Idaho and the wildlife that thrives there.

I don’t mean to be cynical or belittle Kris’s passionate defense of leaving the Embo dunes alone and keeping them as traditional grazing grounds for a few cows and wild critters.  I respect his passionately held views.  OTOH, I live and work at golf course in a dramatic wild landscape that could be easily viewed as sanctuary for wildlife given the density and diverse populations that seem to thrive here.  Rather than displacing wildlife, we seem to be maintaining a habitat that is far more productive than the millions of acres of native ground that surround us.  There are far more wild critters than there are golfers.  We spend vastly more money and labor repairing damage done by our wild neighbors than we do controlling them.  And more money cleaning up natural predation, as well.  Fair enough.  In fact, one of the charms of playing here is that it is virtually impossible to play golf without encountering the wildlife. 

Sure, one could argue that we’ve created an artificial habitat for some species over others, however our experience is more about making the golf adapt to the wildlife than the wildlife adapting to the golf.  For critters that like to eat grass and those that prey on them it’s a year around buffet.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on April 25, 2016, 04:55:37 PM

Thanks for this post, Alex.  You, more than anyone else on this thread, can best offer us a balance of passion and knowledge regarding Coull Links.



Rich, +1, well said.


Alexander, welcome and excellent posts above. I well recall playing Golspie and a few others nearby a couple of years ago and being extremely impressed with the conditioning even more so when the very helpful lady in the shop/office told me how few there are in your team....indeed your greens rolled superior to somewhere much more high profile along the road! I look forward to a return visit.


Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on April 25, 2016, 07:00:05 PM
Rihc,


well said, fully agree. Did you enjoy the blizzards today? ;D  I have about an inch on the ground just now so guess I should get the skis back out.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on April 26, 2016, 03:36:10 AM
Rihc,


well said, fully agree. Did you enjoy the blizzards today? ;D  I have about an inch on the ground just now so guess I should get the skis back out.


Jon


Hi Jon


Flurries in the morning on the coast and on the way back home.  Josie played 18 on the Struie in the morning and survived.


Rich


PS--let us know when you get a few more inches on the ground.  I'd love to ski your course, including the bunny slopes on the 1st green!


All the best


Rich
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on April 26, 2016, 04:16:50 AM
Woke up to a couple of inches so skiing is now a definite possibility. I actually reduced the height of the mound in the first green by about half though was not able to completely remove the big rock that was the reason for it being there. Still, the green and hole are much better for the alterations.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 26, 2016, 10:28:16 AM
The North of Scotland doesn't have a Yellowstone,  or any other type of place with loads of diffetent, high order mammals or big game.
It is part of an island. A rather small one, that has had human habitation for thousands of years.
Were there not a feudal system in place for some of it, there wouldn't be any stags, or much of anything else left there.
Royalty and others of the nobility CONTROLLED (and in some cases, their descendants STILL do) the hunting rights.
You could be killed, many were, for poaching back in the day.
The land around the Dornoch region has some of the nicest mixed cover habit left for what limited wildlife still exists in Scotland. If you drive into the higher ground, the land becomes more stark, less capable of supporting the larger beasts.
That Embo site's ecological importance centers on the birdlife critical nature it possesses, AND it's essential role as a estuary edge buffer, with all the various species present that inhabits those types of places, be they land, sea and air.
I've given PLENTY of information on why I feel as I do. Those wanting more can do their own additional digging and research if they want.
As someone who has been a lifelong outsdoorman, hunter/ fisherman, and made his living from golf, including the destination scenario, I understand the challenges.
Among the finest in the business are poised to do the BEST job humanly possible on THAT site if approval is given.
NOTHING man can create will IMROVE on what is there currenty from an OVERALL, ecological standpoint. Remember also, it floods there in the winter, and when large storms occur.
 The NATURAL beauty currently present is on full display; no one disputes what's there is special, unless you are blind or greedy.
The almost incurable disease of financial gain, regardless of what may be compromised, is behind this.
Golfers have been coming to Dornoch for golf since the 1880's.
This is NO Bandon scenario. At all.
What will occur here, should it be approved, and I have little doubt it won't be, will be yet another shining example of the game heading down the wrong path. Sadly, by those within golf that should know FAR  better.
When ALL of the rest of the RESPONSIBLE folks on the planet are advocating for: PRESERVING special ecology, reducing our footprint, conserving natural resources, maintaining existing wetlands etc. etc....where is golf?
Heading to 8,000 yd courses and developing facilities in/near SSI and other CLEARLY sensitive areas.
If the "bring on the NOT COULEST LINKS " crowd can't figure out you are on the WRONG side of the equation here, by condoning using THAT site...there is little hope.
When I KNOW what her lyrics meant to convey, yet need to dig, to find proof to explain that Joni Mitchell's BIG Yellow Taxi was NOT about the glorification of "modern society" and that superb economic gain that is the be all and end all for SO many on here; that's a window to the collective apathy.
Mankind  is now enjoying RECORD : mental illness, obesity,, drug and alcohol addiction, air and land pollution, fouled water( bottled water in disposable plastic anyone!), declining golf numbers  (GASP!) and a host of under undesirables.
If you think a MAJOR disconnect from our natural world isn't a significant factor in all of this, you better head to a padded cell.
I'm a VERY optimistic, upbeat person by nature, and my life spent LISTENING to the singing of the planet's non-human vocalists is a HUGE reason for that spirit.
Many here seem deaf to what is really happening environmentally.
It is not good. We ALL can do a little to change things for the better.
It starts between the ears...understanding what is at stake.
I hope each of you takes the time to reflect, and then CHOOSE'S to make a difference, in whatever way you decide.

A listener FIRST,
Kris



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on April 26, 2016, 11:15:32 AM
Kris,

Who woulda thunk it??  Building a handful of golf courses is the cause of all the worlds major ills.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: jeffwarne on April 26, 2016, 11:29:02 AM
Kris,

Who woulda thunk it??  Building a handful of golf courses is the cause of all the worlds major ills.


Kalen,
He brings up some very interesting and perhaps valid points-he's certainly respectful of the proposed developer.
There are a LOT of underutilized links courses in the UK, and courses in the world in general-not sure every remote piece of land should be a candidate for a new remote course.
And golf is DEFINITELY not on the fastest path to sustainability, unless you consider ever longer courses, ever faster greens, ever increasing maintenance, ever rising equipment costs, the massive SCALE of nearly all high end modern projects, all steps in the right direction.
I'm not on anyone's side here, just think considering contrary points of view(however seemingly extreme) is important.


Then I can at least feel better about being a hypocrite ;) ;D
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on April 26, 2016, 11:51:59 AM
Jeff,

I'm with you on this one and I appreciate his insight and passion on the topic.

But his last post I think does more harm than good in some ways by taking it to that level....

Whats next?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_JPcBwYGmo
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on April 26, 2016, 02:31:13 PM
Kris,

Who woulda thunk it??  Building a handful of golf courses is the cause of all the worlds major ills.


Kalen,
He brings up some very interesting and perhaps valid points-he's certainly respectful of the proposed developer.
There are a LOT of underutilized links courses in the UK, and courses in the world in general-not sure every remote piece of land should be a candidate for a new remote course.
And golf is DEFINITELY not on the fastest path to sustainability, unless you consider ever longer courses, ever faster greens, ever increasing maintenance, ever rising equipment costs, the massive SCALE of nearly all high end modern projects, all steps in the right direction.
I'm not on anyone's side here, just think considering contrary points of view(however seemingly extreme) is important.


Then I can at least feel better about being a hypocrite ;) ;D


Jeff,


yes Kris does raise some very valid points but also states points with great conviction as fact which are not correct. For instance, he claims 'If you drive into the higher ground, the land becomes more stark, less capable of supporting the larger beasts.'  This is factually wrong. The remote higher areas of Sutherland supports a thriving population of red deer which is the largest game animal in the UK. This is something that along with his shouting does lessen the points he is making.
[/size][/color]
[/size]Jon[/color]
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 26, 2016, 03:18:25 PM
Kalen,
You historically have been one of the more intelligent posters on here, so I'll just assume you are having a bad hair day...along with that other chap who has issues with what's up there near that part of the body. 

A final thought. I probably have about as much understanding of placing a modern,  NEW BUILD,  links golf course, in concert with SSI areas as anyone on here,  who wasn't ACTUALLY involved with creating the Machrihanish Dunes project.
If there has been a more responsibly done links project,  in ANY era, with regards to what was ALREADY there, I want to hear from any of you out there where it was done....ANYWHERE in the world. I'm waiting...
I'm talking about regular monitoring  of the entire project with governmental, scientific ovetsite.
That's what occurred there.
And this is a site that just primarily focused on SSI locations with unique plantlife.
 You know, that don't : move much, need a parent to nurture them,  have places to breed or  rest, and escape predators as they migrate, etc etc.
I was flown over there from the US, in 2008,, at owner Brian Keating's request and expense,  WELL AHEAD of the course being finished,  to discuss creating the caddie program and outside presentation in generall,  for the visiting "retail" golfers that was their target client.
I spent 5 days there. Worked with the grow-in team. Walked the ENTIRE course area several times, extensively, with Euan Grant, the VERY talented grow-in supetintendent, and one of the finest, most thoughtful, bright people I've ever met. He came from St.Andrew's to assist David McClay Kidd and the team,  to carefully tease out a links routing from that sensitive ground. I remained in touch with him quite a bit as the project evolved from there.
I played Machrihanish. I  took the time to play the absolute wee gem that is the par three heavy, "golly golf"  fest that is Dunaverty, and squeezed every moment I could to immerse myself in what  was there. In totality, from an community experience perspective.

What I found there at THAT Machrihanish Dunes site was right at the very edge of RESPONSIBLE links golf course creation in a sensitive, coastal environment.
I've seen the ground at both. firsthand. I have no vested interest in gaining ANYTHING from that Embo site.
 MD was not an estuary situation of that scale.  The diversity of inhabits is less than that EMBO site.
 By a fair measure, beauty etc. , the two sites are not really in the same class.

 And that is the BEST comparison out there....and why it is a NO GO if one is honest about doing the right thing!

That area of Kintyre is MUCH quieter economically  than the Dornoch Highland area.

If still more golf is needed up there near Dornoch, a rather dubious claim, there is plenty of OTHER ground to create a links- like expetience.
 As I said earlier, there are farmland sites, similar to the Castle Stuart project....that worked out well, fom all accounts I read on here and elsewhere.
To the cries ( not mourning moonbats ) of ....well, it's not true links ground and it would ( hold back the DEEP gasps here!) cost MORE to build on such a site....what a shame!!
And Mr.Keiser,  and others,  will run that inconvenient excuse right up the Coul Links has to be on that site flagpole.
Cause it's EASIER to push around some birds and degrade a unique environment with a sandy base,  than to do it in the CLEARLY more appropriate place....one that ALREADY has been significantly degraded by man.
It's about cost and profit.
 So the proponents can dance around reality all they want. In the end, it's about financial gain and ego, NOT the most responsible choice.
That's my take. It comes from a soul who has lived a life of golf, the outdoors,  AND a profound reverence for our natural world.
You can make your own decision.
I,  for one, will NEVER put a peg in THAT ground, on a NOT COOL LINKS. If it was #1 in the world and I could play for free. To do so would be the height of hypocrisy.

Nuff said,
Kris










Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on April 26, 2016, 03:40:46 PM
Kris,

I should have been more specific, I was referring to this part of your previous post on page 4 that seemed over the top:

When I KNOW what her lyrics meant to convey, yet need to dig, to find proof to explain that Joni Mitchell's BIG Yellow Taxi was NOT about the glorification of "modern society" and that superb economic gain that is the be all and end all for SO many on here; that's a window to the collective apathy.
Mankind  is now enjoying RECORD : mental illness, obesity,, drug and alcohol addiction, air and land pollution, fouled water( bottled water in disposable plastic anyone!), declining golf numbers  (GASP!) and a host of under undesirables.
If you think a MAJOR disconnect from our natural world isn't a significant factor in all of this, you better head to a padded cell.



P.S.  For the record, I actually am very pro oversight on these kinds of things as they relate to building new courses.  I think its important to ensure good decisions are being made with all stake holders in mind. 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 26, 2016, 03:42:18 PM
Jon,
That's ONE species my friend! I said " less capable," with regard to that environment's carrying capacity of numerous, different big game animals.
If you'd bother to absorb what I wrote above that line, that remark was tied to the MULTIPLE
varieties of higher order mammals of a Yellowstone, or more DIVERSE species environment.
Tell me four more high order  game mammals that have lived up there NATURALLY  in the last 200 years? Sorry champ, ya can't. They have been EXTERMiNATED, or that environment ceased to have the required means to sustain that diversity within that ecosystem.
Try to assimilate the context of my overall  thoughts,  instead of select cherry picking to criticize, for what aims ...I don't know?
This topic has lost the plot.

Cheers,
Kris
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on April 26, 2016, 03:53:29 PM
I just do not understand how  - in the face of SNH, HIE, et. al - that one single person can anoint themselves the expert, the arbiter, the moral compass and the standard bearer of all that is correct for a new links construction site....anywhere.

I have but one small suggestion: Please let the good people of Embo and Dornoch sort this out for it is their issue and opportunity and not yours.
 If the local sentiment is against the project, if Brora and Golspie  resent the very notion of a new course, if the SNH determines that the process is too invasive, if the feasibility studies come back negatively, then the sound judgement of the local decision-making bodies will no doubt prevail. If not, then I dont think the developers want to do something that is counter to local wishes.
 
 But, unless you bring new ideas for the economy or new thoughts that represent the sentiments of the residents, I suggest (again) that you respect the will of the good people of Sutherland. Or, as the latest NT article says, when the public hearings begin, please tell us how you will take this well-intended passion and make it heard in a venue that actually matters and not just on some internet chat forum where hiding behind a keyboard, instead of standing in front of an audience, does not really accomplish much.

The "plot" remains alive and, again, you are not the judge in that area either.
We have heard your passion. Now, as someone has already recommended, let's wait until there really is a project to discuss. That might be in a year or two. So be it.

We all have listened and, thanks to Kris, we may have a better understanding of the environmental sensitivities. I do for sure. But, the local authorities and interested parties have a process and it is one that does not involve the people on this site. Let's give them some respect first and judge later for NO ONE deserves to be judged before any action has been consummated.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 26, 2016, 04:03:12 PM
Ian,
Sorry you don't like or agree with what you are reading.
I gave AMPLE ideas on how to BETTER approach both this project, and the marketing of what ALREADY exists up there. What are you adding to the discussion other than some bleating for me to shut up and go away?
Variety is the spice of life. That includes thoughtful opinion. Sorry to disappoint you.
Cheers,
Kris   8)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on April 26, 2016, 04:12:28 PM
Ian,
Sorry you don't like or agree with what you are reading.
I gave AMPLE ideas on how to BETTER approach both this project, and the marketing of what ALREADY exists up there. What are you adding to the discussion other than some bleating for me to shut up and go away?
Variety is the spice of life. That includes thougjtful opinion. Sorry to disappoint you.
Cheers,
Kris   8)


Thanks, Kris. I learned a lot in this thread and am appreciative.
As Americans, we have overstayed our welcome on an issue here that does not directly involve us. Let's respect the process of others and see what happens.


All the best,
Ian
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Garland Bayley on April 26, 2016, 04:20:30 PM
Kalen,
You historically have been one of the more intelligent posters on here, ...


Wow, you really lost me with that one.

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on April 26, 2016, 04:44:03 PM
Kalen,
You historically have been one of the more intelligent posters on here, ...


Wow, you really lost me with that one.

Cmon...Garland, you know my IQ is 140+   ;D
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on April 26, 2016, 06:24:47 PM
Jon,
That's ONE species my friend! I said " less capable," with regard to that environment's carrying capacity of numerous, different big game animals.
If you'd bother to absorb what I wrote above that line, that remark was tied to the MULTIPLE
varieties of higher order mammals of a Yellowstone, or more DIVERSE species environment.
Tell me four more high order  game mammals that have lived up there NATURALLY  in the last 200 years? Sorry champ, ya can't. They have been EXTERMiNATED, or that environment ceased to have the required means to sustain that diversity within that ecosystem.
Try to assimilate the context of my overall  thoughts,  instead of select cherry picking to criticize, for what aims ...I don't know?
This topic has lost the plot.

Cheers,
Kris


Kris,


just exactly which big game animals have been eliminated by a lack of habitat. Here in the UK the only naturally found native larger game animal is red deer but this animal has no problem and is indeed thriving as I already said. Other than that the only other largish sized game animal still about is the roe deer though the wild boar used to roam the land but this was eliminated by farmers and land owners due to the amount of damage.


So, there are the only three native game animals the UK has had during the last 10 millennium so that is the reason I cannot mention 4 which kind of backs up my point about you blustering about thing as though they are fact when you are patently wrong. What other game animal did you think there would be? and for goodness sake stop shouting.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 27, 2016, 06:18:07 PM
Jon,
You are trying so hard to use semantics to discredit me. I admire the effort. Why?
The only reason I brought that point into the discussion was in reference to another poster wondering what was there at that Embo site, in comparison to larger wild areas like US National parks.
Did I ever state there were hoards of different game animals in Scotland?
And you use ONE species to try and make a case...a pathetic one I might add. Please.

When I asked you to name four more, it was to convey how FEW of anything like that is there.

The Scottish Wildcat, a top predator of the region, and subspecies of the European Lynx, though exceedingly rare, also exists in northern Scotland. It is heading for extinction, probably less than 200 purebreed wildcats remain,  according to latest estimate figures given on the scottish wildcat website. There has been some controversy as to the methodology and validity of the approach some in the scientific community are utilizing to try and save them. It may be too late.
Because the cat is so reclusive, and recent studies lacked the funding to do more extensive, comprehensive fieldwork, exact numbers  vary according to the source, and are difficult to assertain. But they are falling, that's for sure.
 Habitat loss (imagine that) has been cited as the historical reason for the wildcat's dwindling  numbers, though interbreeding with feral cats, degrading the gene pool purity, has become a serious concern of late.
Among the most imperiled cats in the entire world, I believe it is the subject for the club logo at Royal Dornoch. If so, how ironic.

 The wild boar, by your own admission, was exterminated.

That leaves two deer
species...about the most adaptable game animals on the planet. What diversity!

Give it up. Sadly, that Embo site is about as wild as Scotland has left.
If the foolish approve it, and I have full confidence they will, I'm sure you'll be there for opening day to toast the MASSIVE success that Embo site project will bring to the Highlands. Enjoy the triumph.

Cheers,
Kris 8)

PS- ALL CAPS is shouting in my book. I haven't gone there yet.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on April 28, 2016, 03:36:39 AM
Kris,


my point was the lack of habitat is not the issue with the lack of larger wild animals in Scotland or the UK as a whole. Wolf, wild boar, bear have all been hunted to extinction because of the threat they posed to livestock and people. It had nothing to do with a lack of habitat. As for the wild cat, yes it appears it is really struggling and this is possibly due habitat constraints though the experts also admit that due to how reclusive the wild cat is it is and how remote much of its potential habitat is the best they can do is guess at the numbers. It is interbreeding with domestic cats that appear to pose the biggest threat in the end. I just find your big animal comparison to the US somewhat spurious and irrelevant.


I agree that SSSI sites should be generally left alone but is Could Links all SSSI or just parts of it? In the end any sort of development that will increase the local economy needs to be looked at very seriously. It is all very well and fine for those who visit the area for a few weeks each year to want to keep all as it is but in the end it is the locals who's lives are affected day to day who should decide


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on April 28, 2016, 04:04:29 AM
Wild boar....careful. WB are big and angry, don't take prisoners and like rooting around including trashing golf courses......and there may well be more of them about than you reckon - http://www.britishwildboar.org.uk/index.htm?map2.html - the meat makes tasty sausages however. 😊
Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on April 28, 2016, 05:19:38 AM
Wild boar....careful. WB are big and angry, don't take prisoners and like rooting around including trashing golf courses......and there may well be more of them about than you reckon - http://www.britishwildboar.org.uk/index.htm?map2.html (http://www.britishwildboar.org.uk/index.htm?map2.html) - the meat makes tasty sausages however. 😊
Atb


Thomas,


I have been unfortunate enough to come face to face with an angry wild boar in the south of France and it is not an experience I would wish to repeat. The amount of destruction they can cause in one night is quite mind boggling. There are some people who would like to see it re-introduced to the UK but hopefully they will be blocked.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adam Lawrence on April 28, 2016, 06:08:49 AM
Boar are a huge problem for golf courses in European locations where they live. Castiglion del Bosco in Tuscany is right next to forest that's teeming with them, and has had to fence off the entire golf course -- if a couple of boar get onto the course they wreck an entire fairway in one night. That said, at Castiglion, they have a special licence to shoot the boar if they get on the course, in season or not. And then they put them on the menu -- salsicce dei cinghiale, quite delicious.


Vidauban in France had a similar problem. Only there they call them sanglier. Still tasty :)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 28, 2016, 08:42:22 AM
Jon and Adam,
Nice try gents. I hunt. I'm well aware of the damage wild boar can do. They are fast multipliers, largely nocturnal, and difficult  to control   once they establish in most terrain. 
It doesn't change the fact Jon, I was 100% dead on....that species was exterminated.
The Scottish Wildcat used to range down to England. It's habitat has shrunken...drastically in more recent times, as human pressure reduced the size of the habit it needs to function properly. It's not maybe Jon, it's irrefutable!
The feral cats issue, again class
..was brought to the region by the Red Deer. No, it was humans who have them as pets.
The bear, wolves and other "problem" animals you suggest are killed because they are a threat to man or livestock etc. have been here as long as we have. Longer in some cases, perhaps.
We CAN coexist, but man needs to respect their requirements enough to not degrade the habit to such a degree, or shoot them all, for them to survive.
Take black bear, for example. A large omnivore, it has a very stable and healthy population in Pennsylvania. A heavily populated state. The black bear there include some of the largest specimen's in the world. They are well- managed and hunted. We can get it right. Often do.
But certain species are more sensitive to habitat or human pressure Impacts.
Machrihanish Dunes, the example I pointed to as really the limit for doing it right with close proximity to SSI, had mainly plantlife as the sensitive species. You can rout delicately amongst them in many cases, and unless hackers are: slashing at them, trampling them, or taking them home as gifts, they will probably be OK with some monitoring.
That Embo site has more birdlife centered concerns. They move, need varied requirements to breed or feed, etc etc. ....in short, a whole different proposition. Even if you aren't right on top of them, there are issues due to that nearby intrusion.
Then the estuary proximity and flooding function enters into the equation.
The stunning NATURAL beauty of that location provides another reason to just leave it alone.
Look, I have ZERO personally against anyone on here, or this project. The development team are fine people, and their approach is usually top notch, by every measure, in my view.
 This situation is special, they are missing something on that one, at present. And that is being  thoughtful enough to accept the fact that sometimes, even if it could be THE site, to build the best links golf course in the world, the responsible thing to do is leave it be, and look for a different site to create.
And they shouldn't need bird studies or a government approval, local or above, to recognize that. It's simple common sense.
But the potential to profit, or put something in a place as a monument,  often clouds the judgement. And that's what is currently occurring here.
Cheers,
Kris 8)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 28, 2016, 03:43:22 PM
It pains me to say this, but the cat on the logo of the Royal Dornoch shield is the Sutherland Wildcat...basically the Scottish Wildcat.
I want to thank the many posters who brought me to doing a bit more homework. I was aware of the cat, and knew it wasn't doing well. I had no idea the true, critical state of peril it was in.
I need to reflect, but this really complicates the issue.
When those that claim to love and respect something, yet are proposing to put an "economic growth driver" into basically what should be a protected coastal area, that will most certainly aid all that comes with it, in hastening the potential extinction of the iconic, living symbol of the club and region.....we have a problem.

Cheers,
Kris
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on April 28, 2016, 06:13:29 PM
Kris,  I too did a little looking around and found this publication about Scottish Wildcats...

Wildcats live in habitats that satisfy two main requirements: shelter and food.
Woodlands and areas of dense gorse or juniper thickets provide shelter
and resting places. Young forestry plantations in particular are an important
habitat for wildcats because they are protected from grazing and support a
high density of small mammal prey. Rocky areas also provide den shelters for
female wildcats during the breeding season.

Wildcats require open patches of habitat, such as pastures or riparian areas,
for hunting. However, when moving around their territories, they prefer to
avoid open areas, using woodland or scrub and stream edges for cover.
Heavy snow makes it difficult for wildcats to move around or catch prey, and
if there is deep snow on the ground for long periods, wildcats will move to
forested areas or lower altitudes, where there is typically less snow cover.

The Scottish wildcat will venture to an altitude of around 800 metres but it
is not generally found higher than 650 metres. It avoids heavily urbanized
areas, areas of intense agriculture and exposed coasts.

The habitat used by the Scottish wildcat differs regionally. In the east of
Scotland, wildcats prefer the margins of moorlands, pasturelands and
woodlands, whereas in the west they prefer uplands with rough grazing and
moorlands with limited pastures.
These differences are due to the type of
prey and cover available in these areas. For example, low rabbit densities
in the west of Scotland mean that the wildcat needs to hunt voles and mice
that are found in greater concentrations in areas of rough pasture, scrub and
woodland edges.



http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/publications/naturallyscottish/wildcats.pdf
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tom_Doak on April 28, 2016, 06:19:08 PM
For a different perspective on this, the past two days, I've driven Highway 1 up north from San Francisco, with my wife.  At Fort Bragg, there is a great old industrial site right on the cliff tops, not being used for anything at all, most likely because it would fall under the purview of the California Coastal Commission and they won't let anything be developed there.  Further north, there was some of the most beautiful land I've seen for a golf course, but of course, you can't build a golf course on the coast in California.


My own wife tells me I'm nuts for thinking that golf courses should be built everywhere.  But I'm not trying to justify everywhere ... I just think it's crazy when people start saying you can't build here, or there, or there, or anywhere that's beautiful.  Scotland and Ireland are all the proof in the world that golf can coexist well with Nature.


I tried to explain to my wife that the reason I have to fly all the way to New Zealand to build a beautiful course [or to Mexico where I'm going to look at a site next week] is only because those clients aren't allowed to develop their course near where they live in California.  God forbid that Scotland goes the same way that Ireland and Europe have gone in that regard.


I'm very open to the idea that there are sites that shouldn't be developed, but that argument can only be made on a case by case basis, and should involve more than just people saying "Not In My Back Yard."  Or, not in your wife's parents' back yard, as the case may be.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on April 28, 2016, 06:40:02 PM
Tom,

Amen to that, taken that drive a few times myself and completely agreed.  There is plenty of space to build a course or two and totally keep the rawness of the place intact.  I've lost track of how many they've built in Bandon now and the wildness of the place is still entirely intact.

P.S.  Tough break on the wife's viewpoint there...can't even get support from your favorite gal !!  ;D
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on April 28, 2016, 10:54:03 PM
While the Coul Links property is 3 miles north of Dorncoh, it is worth noting that a new stretch of links/dunes land is developing/enlarging to the south of Dornoch. If you stand on the 16th green at Royal Dornoch and look south over the beach towards Tain, the beach is clearly wider and the dunes land reaching into the Dornoch Firth is much larger than it used to be. Who knows, maybe that could be a site for a course in another 20 years. ;)   

The buildup has been noticeable in just the 12 years I have been visiting Dornoch regularly. So much sand is accumulating in the Dornoch Firth that it is almost possible to walk to Tain when the tide goes out. I do not know where the sand is coming from, but I suspect some of it is coming from the beach at Golspie that has been eroding.   
 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 29, 2016, 01:31:13 AM
Kalen,
What startling revelations are in that information? It is a reclusive, mixed cover, edge hunter.
It's historical range has been compressed greatly to where it now struggles for it's very existence.
I assume that bold text was meant to convey significance.
What..that its avoids heavily urbanized areas...what did you expect it be stalking the streets of Inverness?
C'mon, where's the context?

Tom,
Really, you are going to try and get a few cheap digs in? Well, fine then, you have plenty of company on here.
I never have held the view you couldn't build a golf course anywhere it was beautiful...to start with.
Second, my remarks on that Embo site have been anything but a broad brush verdict of no new links golf anywhere. And ANYBODY who read what I've written, digesting it with any objectvity at all, wouldn't make the feeble claim you have.
As to my now deceased inlaws, they were two of most solid individuals in that town.
Dr John , the town doctor,  a member for 50 years, was a KEY figure of that club. A past Captain, he also was deeply intertested in it's history, and the connection of the club to the town.
What started as a curious delving into some past records, evolved into writing a superb club history.
He finished the book shortly before his passing.
During that period of his writing the book, the almost two years I was fortunate  to know and spend time with him, we became quite fond of each other, and shared A LOT of conversions about the game and Royal Dornoch. They were quite in-depth,  and he offered many astute observations from an individual who knew the town, AND his club as well as anyone.
Those invaluable insights, and other information I absorbed interacting with longtime, mostly local members, have stayed with me.
They are the bedrock from which I form my views on Dornoch and the club.
Things change, but the timeless, essential elements for maintaining something special do not.
I was a member there for 10 years. I came over as much as I could. THAT Royal Dornoch is as good as it gets.
I care about Dornoch as much as anyone on here. That's why what is being championed at that EMBO site is so disturbing. It will destroy the specialness of that site. The ripple effect might bring more quid, but it will ruin the vibe in that Dornoch area forever!
If you don't think I'm right, or don't care, that's your choice.
But your slights add ZERO.

Cheers,
Kris




Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on April 29, 2016, 02:42:47 AM
To expand on a comment by Ryan on another thread and David above, is there an opportunity to significantly upgrade the Struie and the land around it and leave the Embo site as it is?
Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on April 29, 2016, 03:26:22 AM
Thomas,


but what would be the difference between developing the dunes south of Dornoch? Yes, it would be possible and there is some great land there for this but it is no more or less special than the Embo site.


The one point where I do agree with Kris is that impact on a SSSI should be kept to an absolute minimum, indeed avoised if at all possible which with the Embo site is the case and the impact on SSI should have mitigation built into any project. Where I do not agree with Kris is his apparent opposition to any development in the Dornoch area. In the end it will be for the people living in that area to decide upon this project as it is them that it effects on a day to day basis.


Where the Trump's Balmiedie project process went wrong was that the locals voted against it only to have outsiders (in this case the Scottish government) step in and over rule them.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on April 29, 2016, 04:48:17 AM
In the case of Balmedie, the majority of locals were actually for the project but true, Aberdeen Council cast it down by the deciding vote....

It's a difficult one when you feel emotionally connected to a course or area - it heightens your sense of injustice against any decision made that you don't agree with. For Balmedie, I was excited by the prospect of the course (though vehemently opposed to the level of infrastructure planned with it). Only when I found out the second course was planned to encroach on the more public dunes where I played as a kid did I start to get upset about those plans.... At Portmarnock, my stomach turns every time they make the smallest of tweaks that disturbs the natural ground and that I disagree with...

There are SAC's and natural areas of beauty that I would hate to see turned in to a golf course... And then there are others where the prospect would excite me. Almost always, those preferences are not based on the small environmental differentials (for I don't know them) but on some connection to the memories I have with that particular piece of land.... So for me, it's pretty subjective.

As for Embo, contrary to what Peter said before, a municipal pitch and putt wouldn't be a bad idea. If a golf course eventually gets built there, then I hope all semblance or smell of "international development" is a million miles away. Like Kris States, I would like to see a Mach Dunes level of disturbance, mowing out fairways rather than stripping and starting again (even in the minimalist vein). Only then will the golf course truly feel "of the land".
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on April 29, 2016, 05:13:00 AM
Fair points Jon.


If the width of the sand-dunes-land is growing it raises an interesting question about ownership. Not sure about Scotland, but in England and Wales I believe the area below the high-tide mark is owned by the Crown while the area above the high-tide mark is owned by whoever owns the adjacent land. So if a course owns the adjacent land and the beach area expands over time.........more golf space? And vice-versa unfortunately.


Interesting comment from Ally for when I drove past Embo a year or so ago I pondered, as I usually do when I see a potentially good looking area for golf, a very minimalist approach, ie a couple of men with hand rakes, maybe a scythe and hatchet, and mowing out fairways and with one day a wooden hut for a clubhouse.


Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on April 29, 2016, 05:21:45 AM
Kalen,
What startling revelations are in that information? It is a reclusive, mixed cover, edge hunter.
It's historical range has been compressed greatly to where it now struggles for it's very existence.
I assume that bold text was meant to convey significance.
What..that its avoids heavily urbanized areas...what did you expect to it be stalking the streets of Inverness?
C'mon, where the context?




Kris


I suspect the bit Kalen intended to highlight was the bit about the wildcat avoiding exposed coasts. Do you see Embo being a typical wildcat habitat if left undeveloped ?


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on April 29, 2016, 11:54:33 AM
Kalen,
What startling revelations are in that information? It is a reclusive, mixed cover, edge hunter.
It's historical range has been compressed greatly to where it now struggles for it's very existence.
I assume that bold text was meant to convey significance.
What..that its avoids heavily urbanized areas...what did you expect to it be stalking the streets of Inverness?
C'mon, where the context?




Kris


I suspect the bit Kalen intended to highlight was the bit about the wildcat avoiding exposed coasts. Do you see Embo being a typical wildcat habitat if left undeveloped ?


Niall

Niall,

Thank you.  I was a bit surprised given Kris' claimed background in these matters that he didn't put 2 and 2 together.  To boot not only is Embo on exposed Coast, from what I can see on Google Maps, its surrounded by a large agricultural area, also places they avoid.

So given where these cats typically roam and hunt, Embo is one of the last places you would expect to find them...aka the potential impact would be beyond minimal.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 29, 2016, 01:41:41 PM
Hey gang, it's  a protected area primarily for birdlife. I'm NOT asserting it is prime Scottish Wildcat territory.
I'm  not dead set against any new golf in that area. I personally believe that better marketing what is already there would suffice.  But anything new certainly should be placed in a responsible site.
That Embo site is the LAST place it should be going. For the numerous reasons stated.
Thomas raised a solid point. The Struie is an excellent opportunity to craft an arrangement that could deliver an efficient, tasteful new clubhouse, and a superb second course.
 I believe there still are the several older holes ŕemaining, not currently in play by the Struie, which could serve as a quick spin for juniors, seniors, or those looking for a chance to quickly knock around a few holes.
The club would retain ownership, Mike and his group would get a cut, C&C get a great site. The footprint is already there. There's loads of sand right down the beach there.
With some compromise and collaboration, something great could emerge and that Embo site can remain the special place it is.
The club, of course has the final say, but they should be just as eager on that effort, as they are to broker support for the Embo site.
Otherwise, they are the really the NIMBY crowd.
Another option. That ocean of sand on the beach, again working properly with the oversight responsible, could be trucked to a more appropriate site to augment or cap what would be needed.
There are a lot of ways to skin the cat...and I don't mean the Scottish Wildcat. There are plenty of sharp people in the loop,  that can craft a way to deliver an exceptional links course, without altering one of that area's most special places.
If the Balmedie charade was doable, sure as hell this is! It takes common sense and a collective will to do something great, responsibly, for it to become reality.
Cheers,
Kris


Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Dave McCollum on April 29, 2016, 02:18:37 PM
Just took a quick look at the land south of the Struie.  In addition to sandy stretches, there looks to also be a caravan park, an airstip, and the town shitter, so not without complications.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on April 29, 2016, 02:26:44 PM
"Just took a quick look at the land south of the Struie.  In addition to sandy stretches, there looks to also be a caravan park, an airstip, and the town shitter, so not without complications."

Dave M. -

My mention of the dunes/links land developing south of the Struie as a possible site for a course was not meant to be taken 100% seriously. I really don't know how large the area is. My guess is it would take decades for that land to mature/stabilize before it was suitable for a course.

On the other hand, it is likely that it could provide a suitable habitat for any birds that might be displaced from the possible construction of a course the Coul Links site.

DT     
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Dave McCollum on April 29, 2016, 03:55:45 PM
Mine wasn’t entirely serious, either, David.  I’ve only been there once, so I was just being a satellite tourist and having a look around.  I agree, there seems to be quite a lot of non-golf linksland along the coast besides the Coul property.  Maybe not so much for golf development, willing landowners, and so on, but I doubt the birds will care.

Kris, I don’t have a dog in this fight, so no need to respond.  I’m only interested because I happen to own some scenic wild ground, with a golf course (next to a town shitter!) and will have to go through this process if ever I were to develop the native ground that makes up the majority of our property.  I’m sure there will be many who feel as you do that such development should not be allowed.  Ironically, I expect the most vocal opposition will come from developments on the Canyon rim that were built because the views we provide, the NIMBY factor.  Views, of course, go both ways and ours used to be totally natural and pristine.  It’s complicated, of course, with many passionate views.  At the very least, I hope you understand my interest and bias.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on April 29, 2016, 04:26:12 PM
More pics of the property here:

http://www.linkshousedornoch.com/page.php?coul-links-63 (http://www.linkshousedornoch.com/page.php?coul-links-63)

FYI, my understanding is the golf course would not occupy much more than 50% of the entire property.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Dave McCollum on April 29, 2016, 05:09:56 PM
David,

From my satellite tour, I used Google Earth's measurement tool and did a quick and dirty estimate that the entire property is +/- 350 acres, so your understanding seems about right. 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on April 29, 2016, 05:22:39 PM
More pics of the property here:

http://www.linkshousedornoch.com/page.php?coul-links-63 (http://www.linkshousedornoch.com/page.php?coul-links-63)

FYI, my understanding is the golf course would not occupy much more than 50% of the entire property.


I believe the property is almost 450 acres.
Course, practice and facilities would take what....150 acres tops?


Leaves 2/3 of Coul Links untouched.
Sounds like there can be "peaceful coexistence. Yes?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on April 29, 2016, 05:29:05 PM
You guys are heartless....think about the sad kitties you'd displace.


(http://www.thecatniptimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/sad-cat-diary.png)

(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/2f/9c/b8/2f9cb8feafded87e9c99acdeefac8809.jpg)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on April 29, 2016, 08:13:16 PM
Great interview and story on Mike Keiser done by Matt Ginella.


Worth watching. Should be its own thread entirely but appropriate here given the context.
It's mostly about Cabot Links/Cliffs and the impact on Inverness, NS.


http://www.golfchannel.com/media/keisers-golf-course-saves-nova-scotia-town/
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 30, 2016, 12:30:05 AM
Cabot is a whole different animal.
First course on a largely degraded mining site, with a town on the ropes. Hardly a Not Coul Links near Dornoch scenario...at all.
Half joking about using the Struie site? Why, that's where it should be going!
 If everyone is so hot for it...you know, all the townsfolk, members  and such, why not the most responsible place?  Existing footprint, historical use no-brainer. Steps from RD, not one ounce of petrol for shuttles or the need for them.
Tie in a funding deal for that tasteful, new club house the posh crowd has been lusting for...you know, a win-win for everybody.
You really would need to use the current Struie footprint, because below that is too low.  Tidal storm surges already nip at the edges of a few of the newer holes of the existing Struie. The extra, older holes could provide those not wanting a fulmonte their place. Member times could be part of the new course model.
There are all sorts of options for a group, and a club that really wanted to do the most responsible project to benefit the community.

On the...well the not Coul Links course would only take up a third of that Embo property.  It floods in a fair few places.  A sizeable portion of it is that dune slack scenario, which probably would need a good bit of it to stay as a coastal buffer. Then there is the SSSI.
 So until you really have all the constraint requirements nailed down, it's difficult to know what is actually even viable.
 That proximity disturbance doesn't just go away because you only use a third of the property. It's complicated...that is why you stay away from it and let it function beautifully....as it has for a very long time.

While it's easy to just joke about, or brush aside concerns for that Scottish Wildcat; it's fate is in serious question.
I find it rather shocking that so little has /is being done in Scotland to do some
comprehensve research and determine how best to stabilize/restore the population.
 It basically is the equivalent of the Bald Eagle in significance to Scotland. In some ways it transcends that comparison. It's found no where else on earth and it's current range is tiny in totality.
There is a great opportunity here for the club ( it is the subject of the logo after all) AND Mr. Keiser to forge a way to draw attention to helping the MOST threatened member of that Highland area community ...the Scottish Wildcat.
Why not actually take the lead on something that both golfers, and non- golfers would appreciate and support?
 When does golf do that. Almost never. And that's why so many out there look at golf as the sport of the uncaring elite and somewhat selfish.
What if both his project(wherever it would be built besides that Embo site)  AND the club agreed to donate a couple of quid per round, to a fund established to aid respected Scottish Wildcat research and preservation efforts?
Now THAT would a story to tell. The press coverage that storyline angle could  generate would be off the charts.
It would blow away any Top 50 whatever squalk that only a miniscule fraction of the world cares about.
Think about that. GOLF stepping up to do it's share, to save one of the planet's most endangered species. In Scotland, the real home of golf where it all began. It gets no better than that.
That story, with Keiser's new Wildcat Lnks on a responsible site, and a RD club, with the very species on it's logo, teaming up to make a difference.
That story would leave a not Coul Links in the dust. No matter how high it was ranked!
And who's to say something of equal stature couldn't be crafted at a more responsible site. With the talent of that team, it most certainly could.
Yeh, really nailing it in the way I've described is just a stupid pipe dream from some pie in the sky caddie from America.
It's too big an idea for most to grasp... that we can actually do the right thing.
I should just shut up and wait for the good people of the Highlands to implode their own superb way of life, with outside influence, chasing all that economic gain, that ends up exterminating the very symbol of their unique region.

I'm done. And sadly, so is the Dornoch I fell in love with...barring divine intervention.

No cheers,
Kris



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on April 30, 2016, 03:17:56 AM
Ally,


I found very few people in favor of Balmiedie and none of the people with a view of the property were.


Kris,


the Dornoch you fell in love was always going to disappear that is the way of the world, tings, place and people change. Dornoch has altered quite a bit in the time that I have known it and you cannot expect that not to happen just to suit your purposes. The area is in need of every job and developement it can get as long as it is justified and is sustainable. I know exactly what protection is in place to prevent ill suited projects from going ahead (unless the Scottish executive sticks its nose in) and so have no real worries that this project would go ahead if it were to have a significant impact.


DT,


if you go along the back coast road towards the driving range there is plenty of land out there though north of Dornoch does seem to offer more interesting oportunities.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on April 30, 2016, 07:03:24 AM
No Jon, I  never felt that Dornoch specialness was always going to disappear. It doesn' have to, and that's the point.
There are places that continue to get it right in the modern era. The key is a solid respecting of what has provided that specialness and not selling out!
It's been a fantastic place to visit for golf, or do about anything on offer up there, since the 1880's!
  But when you blow something up, out of scale from that which is practical, that's where it all goes wrong.
As to being confident iabout the protections in place...you MUST be joking.
Balmedie was a poster child for gross abuse of any legitimate
 " process " at all.
And all you need to do is look at that Scottish Wildcat's plight to recognize your confidence in that purported protection is laughable.
You are not alone. Most folks hit the jobs  justification button every time.
So in the end, the need to make money trumps all.
Case closed. Before it even started.
Three cheers for progress,
Kris




Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on April 30, 2016, 07:27:06 AM
.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: BHoover on April 30, 2016, 08:45:51 AM
I have been watching Ken Burns' film series on the history of the National Parks, which has been re-airing this past week on PBS here in the USA. This discussion reminds me that it's ironic or perhaps symbolic that John Muir, a Scotsman in American, was so influential in getting Yosemite protected as one of the first national parks.

The point is that there are indeed areas of special interest that do need to be protected against economic development and preserved for posterity. I don't know whether this particular area is one of those, but Kris certainly seems to be suggesting that. If that is the case, then I hope the people of Scotland and their government will do the right thing and preserve this area. Economic development sometimes does need to take a backseat to the greater good. Unfortunately, however, that all too often does not seem to be the route we take.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on April 30, 2016, 01:25:05 PM
No Jon, I  never felt that Dornoch specialness was always going to disappear. It doesn' have to, and that's the point.
There are places that continue to get it right in the modern era. The key is a solid respecting of what has provided that specialness and not selling out!
It's been a fantastic place to visit for golf, or do about anything on offer up there, since the 1880's!
  But when you blow something up, out of scale from that which is practical, that's where it all goes wrong.
As to there being confident in protections in place...you MUST be joking.
Balmedie was a poster child for gross abuse of any legitimate
 " process " at all.
And all you need to do is look at that Scottish Wildcat's plight to recognize your confidence in that purported protection is laughable.
You are not alone. Most folks hit the jobs  justification button every time.
So in the end, the need to make money trumps all.
Case closed. Before it even started.
Three cheers for progress,
Kris


Kris,


really, that is so lame to even try that. If you bothered to read what I have written then you might give a balanced and appropriate response.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on May 01, 2016, 01:14:53 AM
Brian
Thanks for injecting a very salient point when referencing Mr. Muir. He was basically a naturalist nomad. He spoke of preserving places he visited! He wasn't even ever a member. Imagine the howls he'd get on here....impudent Scot!

Ian,
It's not a question of the development team. They are great.
It's the wrong site! On a couple of scores. But as Balmedie proved, with the mouldy carrot of economic gain...they found a way to part the dunes.
And what is the chalice being held up at Coul Links. The same mouldy carrot of economic gain. See, it doesn't matter if the hand holding it is divine, a way is always found to see it approved. The verdict is preordained before the process even starts. It's bogus.

As to Pebble Beach, nice try. You don't know squat about what went on when I was there. But I'll share...I lived it.
That was about my 5th stop as a full-time caddie. It was the best, and ONLY place in the world when I started there, that a caddie could make a living YEAR round without seasonal moving.
Your claim I could work at 50 other courses really takes the cake. You are now telling me where I could have worked. Are you me sir? I believe that is about the most clueless statement I have ever read on GCA. And that is really saying something!
The quality of life there, given my outdoor pursuits, was superb.
I'm a bit of a foodie, and like a solid bottle of wine when the spirit moves me.
There isn't another area on the planet that can touch the concentration of either better than the Monterey Bay.
That coastal area is stunning and still very wild in most places.
They have mountain lions moving thru that Del Monte Forest. And everything else.
You can dis it all you want. Sure it's over the top, but they haven't destroyed their environment.
Big Sur is as far from Pebble Beach as Embo is from Dornoch. You couldn't dare put a course there. They get it...you don't!

When I first got there,  PB  wasn"t cheap, but it was not extortionate either. The round was $275.00 and the caddie rate, with a good tip, was $60.00 per bag. Hardly a savage bite.
Remember also, California has one of the highest cost of living in the world. Gas, even then, was not far off $4 per gallon.
My early years there,  the place still had a cool vibe. Busy, but
having a relaxed, low key feel.
But then, you guessed it, the beancounters got mercenary, with ownership changing a couple of times, finishing with the current American owners who took the kill and bill mentality to really offensive levels.
You have NO idea how diffiicult it was for me to stomach what I saw happen there.
They ruined it, and much to the absolute amazement of my fellow caddies, I left!
But I hung in there as long as I did, because I loved taking players around the courses, especially Spyglass, which was my home course. It STiLL has a private, understated rightness. Totally different setting than PB.

I was one of the top guys there. No one had more repeat clients, or request work. I took care of my players.  For me it was all about the golf. And well paid for my efforts.

 I spoke up more than most. I certainly did NOT hide my feelings. Believe it or not, you can have a strong constitution and still keep your job.

Actually got some positive things done there with some other engaged caddies.
By 2002, I'd had enough. Yes. Ian....2002! They made the terrible call to bring in the wretched outsource outfit, and there was no way I was working for them.
So I left, and returned to doing more landscape design work back East.
I find your associating my time on the Peninsula with this thread about as convoluted as it gets. Pebble opened in 1919.
What role could I possibly have had in the evolution of that course and area.
Because I worked at a place once that wasn't some model you identify as acceptable for me, I'm a hypocrite?
By the way, there is plenty of golf in California. And it is quite dry there frequently. It would be irresponsible to put more golf on the coast, except on a redo, or  repurposed site from my view.
So you can call me a hypocrite if you wish. It doesn't change the fact that Embo site is the last place the not Coul Links should be going.
Three cheers for hypocrisy!
Kris
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on May 01, 2016, 09:11:16 AM
But as Balmedie proved, with the mouldy carrot of economic gain...they found a way to part the dunes.
And what is the chalice being held up at Coul Links. The same mouldy carrot of economic gain. See, it doesn't matter if the hand holding it is divine, a way is always found to see it approved. The verdict is preordained before the process even starts. It's bogus.


Kris

As someone who was against the Balmedie project in the form it took, and also someone who is involved in the property business in Scotland I have to say your comment above about it being preordained is bollocks. The project may well get planning permission, and judging by the way they seem to be going about it, I'd be surprised if they didn't, but to suggest that its already a done deal just shows ignorance of the system. Either that or a lack of respect for those involved that does you no credit.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on May 01, 2016, 01:43:44 PM
Niall,
I want to respect the process. When do they ever say no when that economic gain is in play?

Cheers,
Kris
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on May 02, 2016, 08:25:39 AM
Kris

While not strictly a planning consideration (as far as I'm aware) plenty of developers will promote the economic case. Sometimes it will be the focal point of their case, at least in terms of how they present in public, but it doesn't follow that planning will be granted because of perceived or alleged economic benefits to the community at large.

That said, each local planning authority publishes periodically a local development plan that links in with central government planning guidelines. The local development plan will be in plan form with planning guidelines/policy attached. I haven't seen the local plan for this site (it's a published document so should be on line somewhere) but imagine that the land might be zoned as being safeguarded for Open Space (or something similar) with at least part designated as SSSI.

That does not mean you can't develop the land but there are guidelines/policy as to how you might go about it (subject to being granted planning permission).

As an example I'm looking at a site at present that sits on a river as it meets the sea and is part links and part rolling countryside with a wetlands area that is a haven for birds and other wildlife. From my very early initial discussions with the planners they have expressed a level of support for the idea of two golf courses. One skirting and effectively circling the wetlands area and the other on the links. The planners are broadly supportive because they recognise that a minimalist style (ie. limited earth moving, no tree planting) course would help protect and compliment the wetlands area while the links land is in some ways less sensitive and a course could be accommodated without touching any sensitive areas. Will this development go ahead ? Not without a developer it won't (any interested developers please contact me  ;D) and certainly not without planning permission.

The reason why you are perhaps not aware of planning authorities saying no to development is because firstly a lot of these things fly under the radar and secondly it is costly to pursue a planning application and not many take it forward if they are unlikely to succeed.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tom_Doak on May 02, 2016, 10:01:18 PM
I have been watching Ken Burns' film series on the history of the National Parks, which has been re-airing this past week on PBS here in the USA. This discussion reminds me that it's ironic or perhaps symbolic that John Muir, a Scotsman in American, was so influential in getting Yosemite protected as one of the first national parks.



Just curious:  have you ever been to Banff or Jasper or Cape Breton Highlands?  They provide a different take on recreation in national parks, because the Canadian government was a few years later to the party about protecting the land, and they worked in concert with the national railways.  All three are wonderful golf courses that bring many visitors to the parks each year, and seem to coexist with nature quite nicely.  At Jasper, some of the holes are fenced off to keep the big animals out, but others are unfenced to allow the animals to move across.  I highly recommend seeing any or all of them.


I'm not against conservation; I just don't know where it ends.  You could easily make the case that any of our great courses are on land that should have been preserved.  The pine barrens of southern New Jersey are now largely protected, to give one example.  Cypress Point is another obvious one, the California Coastal Commission would just say no today.  The property I saw yesterday would be off limits, too, but fortunately won't be, because of where it is.  I'm just skeptical of the people who draw their lines in the sand.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on May 03, 2016, 04:06:07 AM
Tom

I am skeptical of much, including development on land which was deemed important enough to preserve.  The world is getting ever smaller and any chance we have to properly preserve environments is worth exploring so far as I am concerned.  I am not saying the Embo site is worth saving, but I have no problem with no golf courses in national parks because they either be public government owned courses which compete against private enterprise or rich men's playground courses at the expense of public land.  Neither scenario makes sense to me.  Sometimes, leaving things be is progress. 

Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on May 03, 2016, 05:35:04 AM
Sean
 
I think maybe the issue here is that a lot of folk tend to look at this in terms of black and white. As Tom alludes to in his post about the Canadian courses, and the point I was trying to make in my earlier post, there is absolutely no reason why golf courses can’t fit comfortably within or add to a national park or environmentally sensitive area, depending on how they are done. After all a golf course is only areas of cut grass that provide a habitat for all sorts of species.


The SSSI designation doesn’t mean no development (a golf course is a development, as is a coastal path, in the strict meaning of planning legislation) it just means you have to tread carefully and take into consideration the environmental issues. Many existing courses have SSSI designation on part or all of their course Are the environmental issues such at Embo that that you couldn’t fit a golf course in on what is I believe 250/300 acres ? I don’t know but I doubt it.
 
Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: BHoover on May 03, 2016, 10:16:17 AM
Tom, I have not been to those parks in Canada that you referenced. I'm sure they are wonderful, and there are absolutely examples of places where golf courses can co-exist and/or complement nature. I don't dispute that.

But personally, I do believe there are certain places of national (and even international) interest that ought to remain entirely undeveloped and preserved for wildlife and enjoyment for future generations as raw, natural spaces. In my mind, placing a golf course or other development in the middle of Yosemite or Yellowstone or Acadia or our other national parks would be a shame.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Dave McCollum on May 03, 2016, 11:00:04 AM
There is a golf course in Yosemite at Wawona.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jud_T on May 03, 2016, 11:08:08 AM
Niall,
I want to respect the process. When do they ever say no when that economic gain is in play?

Cheers,
Kris


Kris,


Most species would be a lot better off if we wiped humans off the planet.  You obviously have an axe to grind here.  I know nothing of the site, and at the end of the day you may in fact be right that it is a special spot which should remain untouched.  Keiser has been through this before, i.e. Bandon etc., and if there is a chance of doing something which can coexist and perhaps even give some funds back to help protect species, dunes etc. while helping the local area economically and building a low impact course, I'd suggest he may be the best candidate to do so.  The cynic would say better him than someone else.  I'm going to reserve judgement till the process unfolds.  One would hope that lessons were learned from the Trump course and if mistakes were made there they would not be repeated here.  Yes, Keiser is another rich guy who's likely used to getting what he wants, but the difference appears to be that he's not simply a real estate spiv looking to make a buck at all costs (maybe he can promise a huge hotel component with his name emblazoned in gold blinking lights!), but rather a guy who simply wants to build great courses on great sites and is not purely motivated by economics at this point in his career.  This difference is not trivial. 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: BHoover on May 03, 2016, 11:10:55 AM
There is a golf course in Yosemite at Wawona.

I stand corrected. Although, I  prefer that golf courses and other developments stay out of national parks, national forests, etc. Obviously, not everyone agrees with me on this, and that's fine. But I still stand by my statement that there are certain places that should remain raw, natural spaces.

The national parks in this country also were intended as a place for the general public to enjoy nature. So if a golf course is built in these places, it ought to be easily accessible by all. There are other places for high-end destination courses. National parks are not those places, in my opinion.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Mark Bourgeois on May 03, 2016, 11:41:14 AM
There is a golf course in Yosemite at Wawona.

I stand corrected. Although, I  prefer that golf courses and other developments stay out of national parks, national forests, etc. Obviously, not everyone agrees with me on this, and that's fine. But I still stand by my statement that there are certain places that should remain raw, natural spaces.

The national parks in this country also were intended as a place for the general public to enjoy nature. So if a golf course is built in these places, it ought to be easily accessible by all. There are other places for high-end destination courses. National parks are not those places, in my opinion.

Yosemite isn't the only one. Highland Links on Cape Cod and Furnace Creek in Death Valley come to mind. Jeez now that I think about it there are at least three in DC national parks alone. Rock Creek, Langston and East Potomac -- heck, if you were of a mind you could nail the NPS's national HQ from the White course.

Obviously the NPS believes golf is an important part of our national parks experience.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Dave McCollum on May 03, 2016, 12:42:19 PM
Maybe some of our NPS employees and their families like to golf.  I tried to make the point that golf and wildlife are not necessarily incompatible, but I really don't know squat about Coul, so concluded just to be an observer of the process.  Having been involved in many land use and environmental debates and dealings with USA regulatory agencies, I'm pretty cynical about many things.  I wish the good folks of Scotland and the Dornoch area the best in working this out.   
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tom_Doak on May 03, 2016, 02:44:57 PM
I'm not suggesting that we start building golf courses in National Parks.  [State parks might be another story.]  Just suggesting that golf goes not have to be a huge threat to the environment, and can coexist to the acceptance of nature lovers if done right.  It's amazing how many times it's been done and done well, yet every new project must overcome the fear that it can't be done!


Niall, the SSSI designation of the dunesland areas at The Renaissance Club was actually VERY strict.  They identified as untouchable both the steeper dune features and patchwork colonies of moss, to the point that 30-40% of the site was deemed untouchable, and the parts remaining were patches of such odd shape and size that we couldn't do very much with them.  In the end, the new 9th green and 10th fairway are all built in areas that had been covered by buckthorn -- which we were mandated to remove as an invasive species -- and only the tees for the 10th are on the dunesland, located in between spots that were off limits.  Sadly, there is no way you could build 18 holes on the 250 acres between Muirfield and The Renaissance and the Firth, based on those rules.


I noticed when I played Gullane after the permitting walk-through that there are many similar patches of moss in the roughs on those courses, but I would assume that there was also moss where there are now fairways before it was built 100+ years ago.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on May 13, 2016, 12:16:25 PM
See link to article in today's Northern Times with latest update on Coul Links.
While I realize this also invites some well-documented and respected opposing views, the article provides some more detail on the cooperation and support of the neighboring clubs as well as a second article with some opinions and info from Embo.


http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Clubs-backing-drive-for-new-championship-course-12052016.htm


I could not find a link to the Embo article, so I have pasted the content below from a PDF that was sent to me. To clarify: The link above is about the course and the article below is about Embo.



Embo in line to benefit
A TINY Sutherland community stands to gain
should the Coul Links golf course get the go
ahead.
The seaside village of Embo is being offered a
new facility such as a park or recreation area.
Coul Links developers are currently negotiating
with local farmer Jock Mackintosh to buy a piece
of scrubland near to the village’s football pitch.
Part of the ground would be incorporated into
the new course, which is earmarked to run
alongside the Dornoch Firth at Loch Fleet,
But developers Todd Warnock and Mike Keiser
are offering to provide Embo with a new facility on
the rest of the site.
Mr Warnock said: “The Abel Smith family, who
own the land on which the golf course is to go,
have insisted we make a contribution to the Embo
community and we fully agree.”
Embo resident Jim McGillivray, ward councillor
for East Sutherland and Edderton, has been asked
to lead an Embo Working Group in order to gauge
local feeling on the issue.
Mr Warnock said: “We will meet in early June to
find out what the community input has been and
we will be excited to hear local people’s opinion.”
Councillor McGillivray said the issue was set to
be discussed in the first instance at the AGM of
Embo Trust next Friday.
He said: “There is an interesting discussion to
be had as to what people would like to see put in
place. It is an opportunity for the village.”
Golf course developers intend to preserve
walking paths on the course and build two walking
bothies, one near Embo and the other near Coul
Farm.
Mr Warnock said: “These will be small,
traditional bothies that would provide information
on the walking trails, flora and fauna on the new
course along with its history.
“The walking paths will be clearly designated to
make sure walkers know where the golfers are
and golfers know where the walkers are so both
can live in harmony.



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Garland Bayley on May 16, 2016, 12:58:13 AM
There is a golf course in Yosemite at Wawona.


Is it as shameful as the one in Glacier Park?

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on May 16, 2016, 03:44:41 AM
"There is nowhere else in the UK that has as many extraordinary links golf courses as closely situated as East Sutherland."

Discuss ;D


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on May 16, 2016, 05:47:40 AM
"There is nowhere else in the UK that has as many extraordinary links golf courses as closely situated as East Sutherland."

Discuss ;D


Niall


St. Andrews, Gullane, Prestwick, Southport......


Clearly ill informed and misguided ;)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on May 16, 2016, 08:46:34 AM
Jon & Niall -

In the U.S. we would call a statement like that "Chamber of Commerce hyperbole."

DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on May 16, 2016, 09:10:00 AM
Jon & Niall -

In the U.S. we would call a statement like that "Chamber of Commerce hyperbole."

DT


Or Chambers Bay of Commerce?  ;D
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on May 16, 2016, 12:08:24 PM
David


No offence to Todd Warnock who seems like a good bloke but that's the sort of statement that Trump would make. He maybe just got carried away. That said, there are a lot of very good courses, not necessarily links and not necessarily championship, up that way.


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Andrew Simpson on May 17, 2016, 06:21:11 AM
On the...well the not Coul Links course would only take up a third of that Embo property.  It floods in a fair few places.  A sizeable portion of it is that dune slack scenario, which probably would need a good bit of it to stay as a coastal buffer. Then there is the SSSI.
 So until you really have all the constraint requirements nailed down, it's difficult to know what is actually even viable.
 That proximity disturbance doesn't just go away because you only use a third of the property. It's complicated...that is why you stay away from it and let it function beautifully....as it has for a very long time.

While it's easy to just joke about, or brush aside concerns for that Scottish Wildcat; it's fate is in serious question.
I find it rather shocking that so little has /is being done in Scotland to do some
comprehensve research and determine how best to stabilize/restore the population.
 It basically is the equivalent of the Bald Eagle in significance to Scotland. In some ways it transcends that comparison. It's found no where else on earth and it's current range is tiny in totality.
There is a great opportunity here for the club ( it is the subject of the logo after all) AND Mr. Keiser to forge a way to draw attention to helping the MOST threatened member of that Highland area community ...the Scottish Wildcat.
Why not actually take the lead on something that both golfers, and non- golfers would appreciate and support?
 When does golf do that. Almost never. And that's why so many out there look at golf as the sport of the uncaring elite and somewhat selfish.
What if both his project(wherever it would be built besides that Embo site)  AND the club agreed to donate a couple of quid per round, to a fund established to aid respected Scottish Wildcat research and preservation efforts?
Now THAT would a story to tell. The press coverage that storyline angle could  generate would be off the charts.
It would blow away any Top 50 whatever squalk that only a miniscule fraction of the world cares about.
Think about that. GOLF stepping up to do it's share, to save one of the planet's most endangered species. In Scotland, the real home of golf where it all began. It gets no better than that.
That story, with Keiser's new Wildcat Lnks on a responsible site, and a RD club, with the very species on it's logo, teaming up to make a difference.
That story would leave a not Coul Links in the dust. No matter how high it was ranked!
And who's to say something of equal stature couldn't be crafted at a more responsible site. With the talent of that team, it most certainly could.
Yeh, really nailing it in the way I've described is just a stupid pipe dream from some pie in the sky caddie from America.
It's too big an idea for most to grasp... that we can actually do the right thing.
I should just shut up and wait for the good people of the Highlands to implode their own superb way of life, with outside influence, chasing all that economic gain, that ends up exterminating the very symbol of their unique region.

I'm done. And sadly, so is the Dornoch I fell in love with...barring divine intervention.

No cheers,
Kris
Kris, Having read much of what you’ve written on the local habitat and environment at this area, perhaps you might spare a thought for us, the local indigenous people who are under threat from opinionated incomers who seem to think they know better. As a local to the area I live with and understand nature, it’s benefits and sometimes even its shortcomings, we are capable of all this by using balanced thought and reasoning.[/size]
[/size]Blundering regulations and one size fits all eco politics is a bigger danger than local intuition and understanding of the area for future generations and its requirements.
[/size]As an obviously ill informed and easily mislead local I find it hilarious that you can decry monetary greed against a tiny eco-environment while justifying the price of a round of golf on Pebble against the price of gas!
[/size]On the wildcat issue, reading a couple of stories google has pointed you to only allows you an opinion but it doesn’t mean it’s right. I’ve followed the wildcats plight for decades and I’m only grazing the surface compared to those in a better and more knowledgable position dealing with them. A couple of paragraphs on here isn’t going to do much saying what is happening and the efforts made, yet with your newly googled knowledge you can declare nothing is being done and Scotland has failed the wildcat.
 
[/size]Oh to live in such a simplistic world.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on June 22, 2016, 10:57:59 AM
New blog just went up about the Coul Links project with the latest updates on town, council and development meetings.
Bill Coore just made his 4th trip there I am told and left last week.


https://coullinks.wordpress.com/



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on June 24, 2016, 01:26:50 PM
From today's Northern Times:

http://www.northern-times.co.uk/Sport/Golf/New-coul-Links-golf-course-bid-taking-shape-23062016.htm
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on June 24, 2016, 02:00:27 PM
Andrew,
While it pains me to have to revisit my remarks to correct the potshot mentality the threatened on here frequently demonstrate, It would be irresponsible of me not to address the inaccurate.
Where sir, did I EVER justify the pricing Pebble Beach charges?
Their rates ARE extortionate, but I did point out, regarding the somewhat higher base caddie fees questioned by another poster, that the cost of living in that area is among the highest in the world. But in no way can you construe that into justification...nice try.
Others posting here besides you have tried mightly to assert I'm just an armchair knowledge ranter with some eco-axe to grind.
That couldn't be further from reality.
 I support and applaud responsible projects, be they golf or otherwise.
I just returned from a visit to Sand Valley, the latest Keiser project  being created on a former red pine plantation in Rome, Wisconsin.
 It is a superb site, being returned to more of it's natural state as the course is being built.
I met Michael Jr. while on my visit. We spoke face to face for 20 minutes on a variety of subjects. The Embo project was part of our conversation. I was very candid with him on my take. He respected my position, and said he himself wrestled recently with moving forward on another property they were looking at given the environmental constraints.
It was a thoughtful, classy exchange throughout.
In fact, there is a very good chance I will join that Sand Valley team in some capacity shortly.
See, just because you may disagree on something, that doesn't constitute having no respect for someone, or ability to have a relationship or collaborate.
As to the assertion the extent of my Scottish Wildcat knowledge was just derived from some google search; I've had several in-depth exhanges with Steve Piper, who is directly involved with the Western Highland Wildcat Haven program.
 He gave me a comprehensive overview of their efforts, and also information on some other factions that are approaching it differently.
He stated that the plight of these cats had been grossly underfunded,  and research efforts have suffered from inconsistent data and study in general.
I appreciate you are local. You don't seem to value how special that Embo site is...UNDISTURBED!
Don't worry... IT WILL be built. The bird studies will come in, it will be blessed with some provisions to address that and the SSSI, and the next links monument will find a home in Embo.
It will forever alter that special ground, your town, the greater area, and yes,  hasten more development encroachment on what remains of the wild habitat in the Northern Highlands.
Enjoy the prosperity my friend!
My wife Mairi, who grew up in Dornoch, was coming home late one long summer evening in 1990, having stayed after hours doing some legal work at the office in town.
She was walking across the top course, approaching the par three second green, which sits near the back gate of her family home, when she said she saw a low- crouching cat, unlike any cat she ever saw before, explode out of the left bunker and race across the back of the hole and into the gorse.
She told me she never saw anything move that fast. She was as sober as a church mouse. While it was dusk, she said she clearly could see a longish, bushy tail, and that it was much larger than a normal cat.
She is almost certain it was a Scottish Wildcat. I believe her.
Good luck seeing that again at RD.

Respectfully,
Kris

Ps.- I have never questioned the talent of those involved to do the best they could in building responsibly on that Embo site.
My view, based on: the SSSI areas present, the extensive, unique bird habitat, frequent flooding  that occurs where estuary proximity exists, and the areas awesome NATURAL beauty, rationally assessed in total...demands it should be left as it is. To function wonderfully, as it has, providing a pristine balance for farm, wildlife on both land and sea...and all working to mankind's benefit with the current state it enjoys.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kris Shreiner on June 24, 2016, 02:11:02 PM
Thanks for the update David. That structural footprint is getting bigger no?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on August 03, 2016, 11:59:04 AM
From the Northern Times, July 29:

http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Meeting-will-take-Coul-Links-golf-course-proposals-a-step-forward-28072016.htm
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Brian_Ewen on August 21, 2016, 12:37:27 AM
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/environment/14695482.Trump_Mk_II__now_his_business_rival_plans_golf_course_which_threatens_Scottish_environment/?ref=rss



Trump Mk II: now his business rival plans golf course which threatens Scottish environment
5 hrs ago / Exclusive by Rob Edwards


A major row is brewing over plans by a US millionaire to build a golf course on a precious wildlife site in northeast Scotland – but it’s not Donald Trump this time...it’s his business rival.


Mike Keiser, a wealthy businessman behind some of the most expensive and prized golf courses in the world, wants to build one at Coul links, on the coast north of the Dornoch Firth near the village of Embo.


In so doing he will trash a highly protected network of sand dunes treasured for birds, insects and plants just as Trump destroyed the dunes at Menie round the Aberdeenshire coast, experts say.


Conservation and community groups are gearing up for another epic battle with a powerful American tycoon. “It’s the Trump golf fiasco all over again,” said one.


Keiser, famed for his high-ranking Bandon Dunes golf courses in Oregon, was last year labelled as “Trump's biggest rival in the golf business” by US Fortune magazine. He has teamed up with a US banker and entrepreneur, Todd Warnock, who already owns property in Dornoch, to develop Coul links.


They have submitted an application notice to Highland Council, and are now preparing to apply for detailed planning permission. Their 18-hole championship golf course will attract 20,000 visitors a year and put over £6 million a year into the Highland economy, they say.


But it is facing angry and concerted opposition. Dr Tom Dargie, a leading dune expert commissioned but then ignored by Trump at Menie, says that Keiser’s proposal will be much more damaging.


He estimates that a golf course at Coul will destroy 48 hectares of the Loch Fleet sand dune Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). This is more than double the area damaged by Trump’s course.


Coul is also part of a special protection area for birds such as teal, wigeon, plovers, and terns. It is home to an array of rare moths, ants and flies, including Fonseca’s seed fly which only lives on that stretch of coast.


“The scheme is simply plain wrong on multiple environmental grounds,” said Dargie, who lives locally. “It could cost more jobs than it creates and risks leaving a burden of severe coastal degradation for future generations.”


Jonathan Hughes, the chief executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, lived and worked at Coul in the 1990s. “Like Trump, Keiser has a track record of getting his own way whatever it takes and like Trump, he seems to think protected area laws can be torn up for his own private financial gain,” he told the Sunday Herald.


“Allowing another sand dune SSSI to go the way of the benighted Trump development at Menie would be an unforgiveable and tragic loss of a protected area.”


The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) described the plan for Coul as “extremely worrying”. The developer has refused to meet with the society and other conservation groups, it said.


“This is highly unusual and cause for great concern, especially since Scotland has a very poor recent track record dealing with high-profile international golf developers,” argued RSPB Scotland’s planning chief, Aedán Smith.


Craig Macadam from the insect conservation group Buglife, promised to fight the development. “A golf course can be sited anywhere, but many of the species found at Coul are completely reliant on these fragile habitats,” he said.


The government wildlife agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, is awaiting further studies before deciding its stance. Conservationists expect it to object.


David Patterson, who is leading on the case for SNH, said: “The environmental impacts of any development have to be fully understood before we can provide advice on whether or not it should go forward, or whether mitigation is required to minimise any impacts.”


A spokesman for the developers’ agent, the property company JLL, stressed that plans were still at an early stage. Criticisms from conservationists were “therefore without foundation”, he argued.


Keiser and his designers were “world renowned experts in golf course design and construction methods which seek to enhance and preserve the natural environment,” he said.


“We have been in extensive dialogue with Highland Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and other statutory consultees for a considerable period to agree the scope and requirements of numerous environmental studies which will be used to inform the development of the proposals and to undertake an environmental impact assessment.”


Plans for Coul will not be finalised until the findings are known, the spokesman stated. “The project team will continue to consult widely on the proposals and once the detailed design is developed and finalised the proposals will be shared with all relevant interests."







Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on August 21, 2016, 03:34:44 AM
"Craig Macadam from the insect conservation group Buglife...."

Are we sure this is not part of a Monty Python sketch?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on August 21, 2016, 06:47:24 AM
It would surprise me if the representatives and experts were really using the language being reported in the this piece. There is a process in place for planning applications which lays down which bodies are to be consulted. The reason they have not been consulted is because they are not on this list as they should be discussing things with SNH. It will be interesting to see how this develops and what it actually turns up. On the point made about Trump's place it should not be forgotten that the planning process led to his project not being recommended and being refused by the planning authority. In that case the planning processed worked perfectly and it was political interference that scuppered the system.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 21, 2016, 10:56:06 AM
It's 'silly season' time in media-land so expect all sorts of stories to appear promoting various angles on various subjects.
Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on August 25, 2016, 12:39:23 PM
In case anyone will be in the Dornoch/Embo area next week, there will be public presentations regarding the proposed Coul Links project in Dornoch on August 30 and in Embo on August 31.

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1003336/public-get-second-chance-to-view-coul-links-golf-course-plans/ 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on August 29, 2016, 12:28:19 PM
More news from the Northern Times:

http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Four-conservation-groups-write-objection-letter-to-Coul-Links-golf-course-developers-29082016.htm
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on September 23, 2016, 02:14:09 PM
Still more news:

http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Debate-continues-over-Coul-Links-golf-development-22092016.htm
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Simon Holt on September 23, 2016, 04:16:12 PM
The implication that simply building a second high profile golf course would keep wealthy American's up in the town for longer frustrates me. 

I bet most people would be stunned at the number of golfers who travel up to play Dornoch but skip Castle Stuart.  If golfers are not all playing a World Top 100 Course that is hard not to drive past, then would they stay to play Coul Links?

[/size]I'm not saying it wouldn't help but they need to significantly upgrade the lodging for that demographic.  There is not enough good quality accommodation in Inverness, let alone Dornoch, to keep the wealthy American's up there for longer.I absolutely adore Dornoch; the town, the course and the club, but the well-healed guy needs more.  Hopefully Castle Stuart can push ahead with their second course and proposed lodging that will keep people up there for longer.  For the foreseeable future St Andrews and Gleneagles will remain the places wealthy US golfers want to stay for longer than 2 nights.


Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on September 23, 2016, 04:26:01 PM
The implication that simply building a second high profile golf course would keep wealthy American's up in the town for longer frustrates me. 

I bet most people would be stunned at the number of golfers who travel up to play Dornoch but skip Castle Stuart.  If golfers are not all playing a World Top 100 Course that is hard not to drive past, then would they stay to play Coul Links?

I'm not saying it wouldn't help but they need to significantly upgrade the lodging for that demographic.  There is not enough good quality accommodation in Inverness, let alone Dornoch, to keep the wealthy American's up there for longer.I absolutely adore Dornoch; the town, the course and the club, but the well-healed guy needs more.  Hopefully Castle Stuart can push ahead with their second course and proposed lodging that will keep people up there for longer.  For the foreseeable future St Andrews and Gleneagles will remain the places wealthy US golfers want to stay for longer than 2 nights.

Cart vs. Horse I would think, Simon.
Americans (or others) do not need consummate luxury for lodgings. Look at Bandon, Cabot, etc.

When/if the first shovel hits the ground, watch how fast this place trades: http://www.bayhotels.co.uk/our-hotels/bay-dornoch-hotel-dornoch

Mostly (Shearings) pensioners spending 60 pounds/nt.
Great bones, UNBELIEVABLE location on first hole of RDGC, 105 rooms, but tired and worn.

It's been for sale for over a year. I wonder how much it is...ahem...appreciated since Coul Links conversations started.
Would make a perfect golfer's hotel.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on September 23, 2016, 04:50:29 PM
Dornoch now has a few overpriced gin palaces and a dwindling number of B&B's.  What it really needs is a Premier Inn or Travelodge, ideally where the abbatoir used to be, with a spit and sawdust bar at one and/or the other


The Burghfield House Hotel in Dornoch was the greatest golf hotel that ever existed, particularly in the 1970's and 1980's.


Requiescat in pace, my old friend.......

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on September 23, 2016, 05:22:35 PM
Simon,


I do not follow how you think that a second course at Dornoch will not attract golfers to stay in the area longer but the same at Castle Stuart will or did I misunderstand?


I do think that a second course would be a positive thing and that it would encourage more golfers to stay in the area longer.


Rich,


I think you are pretty much spot on though any new hotel would be well advised to create multiple bedroom suites so groups of 8 to 10 have private space.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Simon Holt on September 23, 2016, 05:34:12 PM
Hi Iain,

As has been said before, the Golf Club Atlas mindset is very much in the minority among travelling golfers.  Hotel quality dictates base location 99 times out of 100 for wealthy groups.  It's not an assumption.

Whatever happens I wish only the best for the town.  Great place and great people.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on September 23, 2016, 06:07:00 PM
Rich - 


Agree on the budget nature of lodgings. Would love to see a "Marriott/Hilton/Hyatt Suites" or something buy the Dornoch Bay Hotel.
The bar in the hotel has great bones and a nice view. Would make a wonderful 19th hole.


Simon -


Castle Stuart is just a standalone course with nothing in the area. Dornoch has a town, etc. Makes for a better day and week destination. Apples/Oranges.


Jon -


Agree on room "format".
Bandon has perfected that. Small cottages with 4 bedrooms and shared LR/DR/Kitchenette. Brilliant.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Simon Holt on September 23, 2016, 06:34:17 PM
Simon,


I do not follow how you think that a second course at Dornoch will not attract golfers to stay in the area longer but the same at Castle Stuart will or did I misunderstand?


I do think that a second course would be a positive thing and that it would encourage more golfers to stay in the area longer.




Hi Jon,

Sorry for any confusion. "I'm not saying it (Coul Links) wouldn't help (keep more goflers in Dornoch) but they need to significantly upgrade the lodging for that demographic"  My post was in reaction to the implication in that article that the second course alone would keep wealthy Americans in Dornoch.  That simply wouldn't be the case, in volume, without more top end accommodation.

The reference to Castle Stuart was their proposed lodging will hopefully work more than "just" adding their second course.  The new course and lodging will go hand in hand to make their package really appealing to travelling groups and tour operators as a destination.

I'm stating how to keep wealthy golfers in one place for more than one hit.  Decent golf and very good accommodation.  No doubt people will name exceptions but I'm stating the obvious that this gent from FineGolf may have overlooked.


Hi Ian - Forgive me but without a decent inventory of top end accom, I fear its a 36 hole day and out of there.  There is no arguing how nice Dornoch is as a town but on a limited time in Scotland most golfers are not here to walk around the town.






Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Peter Pallotta on September 23, 2016, 06:38:18 PM
....In that case the planning process worked perfectly and it was political interference that scuppered the system.
Jon

I'd suggest that political interference didn't scupper the system, it is the system. 

A Deputy Minister I knew liked to pre-emptively silence those likely to complain about politicians interfering with the civil service by saying: "I'm glad that elected officials get to trump bureaucrats -- otherwise we'd all be living in the Soviet Union!"

A "humorous" and none-too-subtle way to tell his underlings that he expected them to play the game; when  politicians said "jump", the only right response was to ask "how high?"

If the "Yes, Minister" view of senior public servants was accurate once, it certainly isn't any longer. In my experience, the only type of official who now rises to the upper echelons of the bureaucracy is the one who thinks himself/herself savvy enough to simply and always ask "how high"....though not in those exact words of course.
 
Peter

     
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Daryl David on September 23, 2016, 06:42:56 PM
The implication that simply building a second high profile golf course would keep wealthy American's up in the town for longer frustrates me. 

I bet most people would be stunned at the number of golfers who travel up to play Dornoch but skip Castle Stuart.  If golfers are not all playing a World Top 100 Course that is hard not to drive past, then would they stay to play Coul Links?

I'm not saying it wouldn't help but they need to significantly upgrade the lodging for that demographic.  There is not enough good quality accommodation in Inverness, let alone Dornoch, to keep the wealthy American's up there for longer.I absolutely adore Dornoch; the town, the course and the club, but the well-healed guy needs more.  Hopefully Castle Stuart can push ahead with their second course and proposed lodging that will keep people up there for longer.  For the foreseeable future St Andrews and Gleneagles will remain the places wealthy US golfers want to stay for longer than 2 nights.

The Links House in Dornoch is a significant upgrade in lodging and they will be opening more rooms next summer.

http://www.linkshousedornoch.com/
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on September 23, 2016, 07:30:21 PM
Rich - 


Agree on the budget nature of lodgings. Would love to see a "Marriott/Hilton/Hyatt Suites" or something buy the Dornoch Bay Hotel.
The bar in the hotel has great bones and a nice view. Would make a wonderful 19th hole.

[/quote
As you may or may not know, in the 1920's when the good and great (Wethereds, Holdernesses, etc.) visited Dornoch, they took the train from Golspie and stayed at was then the Dornoch Hotel.  It does have great "bones" but its intestines are 100 years old.  Trust me.  I've stayed there with my wife and sprogs a few times and its has potential but need LOTS of money to become attractive to people who live in the 21st century.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on September 24, 2016, 02:49:47 AM
....In that case the planning process worked perfectly and it was political interference that scuppered the system.
Jon

I'd suggest that political interference didn't scupper the system, it is the system. 

A Deputy Minister I knew liked to pre-emptively silence those likely to complain about politicians interfering with the civil service by saying: "I'm glad that elected officials get to trump bureaucrats -- otherwise we'd all be living in the Soviet Union!"

A "humorous" and none-too-subtle way to tell his underlings that he expected them to play the game; when  politicians said "jump", the only right response was to ask "how high?"

If the "Yes, Minister" view of senior public servants was accurate once, it certainly isn't any longer. In my experience, the only type of official who now rises to the upper echelons of the bureaucracy is the one who thinks himself/herself savvy enough to simply and always ask "how high"....though not in those exact words of course.
 
Peter

   


Peter,


though a good point it not accurate in this case as the planning committee which rejected the planning proposal in the first place was made up of locally elected politicians who are not interested so much in the national picture but are rather beholden to their electorate. It was the national executive at Holyrood that stepped in and overruled.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on September 24, 2016, 08:19:04 AM
Simon

I'm interested to read your comments as you have an inside track on the tour operator perspective. Does on site lodging not reduce your value in the sense it's easier for golfers to organise their won trip a la Bandon ? Also doesn't Skibo effectively act as the place to stay for the wealthy visiting golfer going to Dornoch area ?

Rich

I recall the Burghfield House Hotel with great affection having spent a few family holidays there when I was a nipper. I've also spent a couple of nights in the Bay Hotel in the last couple of years. As you say, very tired. Also the difference between the Burghfield House then and the Bay Hotel now, or perhaps most hotels now, is that back then the family stayed for a week. The hotel was the destination. Now it seems everyone is moving through on the way to somewhere else.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Simon Holt on September 24, 2016, 10:36:12 AM
Hi Niall,


It's actually much more helpful for us to have onsite accom.  At our level the client is not thinking about saving by arranging the trip himself.  Its not difficult to organise a trip to Scotland but there is lots of time saving measures that are important to the guys we are talking about.  Especially when they wont to fit so many courses in such a short timescale.


Then the opportunity cost which is way out of whack in terms of the time spent planning the trip versus what he/she could earn in that time, or better still, be spending his/her limited leisure or family time doing.  Unless that is, they get a real kick out of putting all the pieces together, which they kind of get to do anyway with someone like us to bounce ideas off. 


I'm not a wealthy man but I'd buy a package ski holiday every day of the week even though I've done it all myself in the past.  I've not got the time!


Most here know how to put a golf trip together but some are way off on what the top end guys wants.  No doubt there are exceptions to the rule but in general, here you are:


It's St Andrews or bust for 95% of new clients.  They will only come if the Old is on the itinerary
[/size]Similarly in Ireland its Portrush and RCD or bust for the North - Ballybunion for the South
They want all the top courses, which translates to Open rota, Kingsbarns and MAYBE Dornoch if they are a list guy
Only on repeat trips are they open to suggestions like North Berwick, Cruden Bay, Crail - in addition to the must haves
They only come for 5-7 days if they are still working
They only want to stay in 5* hotels with all the associated facilities in a town/resort where they can eat well every night - the pub food novelty wears off after one sitting but they will happily get stuck into the drinking scene after a decent feed elsewhere
Unless its a couples trip its extremely rare for guys to take much of a walk around or do anything outside of golf, eat and drink
Luxury van and driver


No amount of preaching will convince this type of client they are doing it the wrong way - they are A type personalities.  Plus it's no-ones to place to tell them they are wrong since its their vacation.


This is why Turnberry is already very high-occupancy next year even though its the most expensive golf resort in the country, and in the middle of nowhere, 40 minutes from the next world class course.  It has all the bells and whistles so that demographic wants to stay there.


Compare Turnberry to Troon, which has that great cluster of superb golf within 5-10 minutes drive.  It has no really outstanding hotel or food so we don't place anyone there.  The ones we have historically have complained so why would we risk losing a client by giving them the "its not about where you stay its the course you play" line?


Gullane is another good example.  Lots of courses right there, even more within 10 minutes drive.  Arguably as golf rich as anywhere in the country but no great hotel.  Greywalls is quaint but lacks any Spa which doesn't cut it anymore.  On a personal level you know it kills me to say that about East Lothian!  They all stay at the Caley or the Balmoral and take the 40 minute drive on the chin.


Hopefully that gives some insight as to what that guy wants.  Once again, thats purely pulling apart the Fine Golf article that seemed to imply that the second course would keep wealthy tourists in Dornoch longer when I know that alone will not do the trick.  I'd just get them in an out on a heli, they would maybe take the drive from Inverness and do 36 in a day, or they would just play one and get out.


Links House is very nice but there are so few rooms, even with the new building, it doesn't come close to the scale it would need to get the wealthy guys staying there on mass a la Gleneagles, Turnberry or Old Course.....and hopefully never will.  Dornoch is just fine the way it is but its for the local people to decide that.


Clearly if it was me on a mates trip I would do it differently!  I love the place.















Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: BCrosby on September 25, 2016, 08:12:06 AM
Simon -


Thanks for the summary. Your take on things is spot on. You describe well what many of my friends look for when they book a golf trip to Scotland or Ireland.


A mystery to me is why there are not more tours of courses around London. I'm thinking Surrey and Kent. Or are there?


Bob



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on September 26, 2016, 12:21:08 PM
Simon


I can understand these guys wanting to do it in style and of course you will look to cater for their needs. From the perspective of the golf club however I wonder how much of their market comes from the 5 star brigade that you describe ? Should the club worry about catering for these guys as after all they pay exactly the same green fee as the regular punter.


The club I play at isn't on the A list but nonetheless is an Open Qualifier therefore gets a decent level of visitor income. I'm advised it was c.£200K the other year of which 75% came from UK&I visitors, 17% from continental Europe (Germans counting as the largest portion) and the rest largely from the US. It's likely that the vast bulk of the UK&I visitors won't be paying top dollar for accommodation and I suspect the same goes for the continental Europeans.


To my way of thinking, from the clubs perspective they would be much better off with good affordable accommodation being nearby rather than the top end accommodation. Arguably the 5 star guys might pay a higher green fee but are you going to get enough of them to make up for the shortfall in visitor numbers if you hiked the prices up ? Judging by the way a lot of clubs have increased their prices in recent years then possibly yes, which just shows you how solid my logic is  :-\


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on September 26, 2016, 01:11:27 PM
I see Niall's point here.
There will always be the hi-end "box-checkers" who need to play Trump, Castle Stuart and RDGC before hitting Gleneagles, etc.


But, I get the impression that the Coul Links project seeks to create an anchor for tourism in the Highlands who want to come to Dornoch as their "hub" and then have the choice to play 1. RDGC 2. Coul 3. Brora 4. Golspie 5. Castle Stuart 6. Tain 7 Nairn 8. Moray -  and perhaps even Boat of Garten or Wik  (all within 30-90 mins drive from Dornoch) all within a 15 to 90 minute drive?[size=78%]; perhaps for 2-3 nights before moving on down the road.[/size]


Yes, I've stayed at Links House and it is superlative for sure. But, in subsequent trips (with the Mrs.), we have stayed at B&Bs - specifically at No. 9 - and had a fantastic experience for less than 1/3 the price of Links House. Each time we encounter golfers from Sweden, UK, US there all seeking the same thing: value and comfort.


From my own experience, (as a US tourist) I dont need 5 star accomadations. In fact, it can be a negative if - as an example - I need to stay at "The Old Course Hotel" as part of some package to play TOC.


I think a larger questions is: will golf tourists seek to play Coul Links in Scotland instead of playing the older established courses?
Mike Keiser has always been a proponent of "destination courses". Bandon, Cabot and certainly Barnbougle are all remote and, for some, harder to access than Dornoch. In fact, I have heard that Cabot was booked SOLID all season.


Bill Coore says Coul is the best site he has ever seen. Given that his latest courses have all debuted in the "global top 100", what happens if Coul is in "Top 50"? Will golfers make a special trip to play it and RDGC or simply play it if they happen to be up there?

RDGC sees about 10,000 visitor rounds per year. I wonder what % are from "transient" tour groups. Simon, any guesses?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on September 26, 2016, 03:05:22 PM
There's a very nice post from Simon above which begs me to ask the question of whether there are
any particular times of the year when the 5-7 day big name course trip visitors tend to concentrate?

The reason I ask is they are the sort of trippers who I suspect many herein hope to avoid so details of usually quiet periods within such tour schedulings would be nice to know.

Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on October 03, 2016, 01:02:55 PM
From the Press & Journal (Aberdeen):

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1042508/developer-argues-economic-and-ecological-case-for-coul-links-golf-course/
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Brian_Ewen on August 01, 2017, 11:17:53 AM
https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1299771/major-plans-for-world-class-golf-highland-golf-course-poised-to-be-unveiled/



Major plans for world class golf Highland golf course poised to be unveiled
by JAMIE MCKENZIE
August 1, 2017


(https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2017/07/Capture-51-579x372.png)


Major plans for a new world class Highland golf course are poised to be unveiled in the coming weeks.


The US developers behind the £6-10 million Coul Links project, businessman Todd Warnock and renowned golf course developer Mike Keiser, could submit their planning application next month.


The investors had been expected to lodge the plans for the golf course – zoned for a site just north of Embo in Sutherland – at the start of this year.


Mr Warnock, who owns the Links House hotel and Carnegie Courthouse in Dornoch, said previously that Coul Links would reverse a present trend of golfers coming to play Royal Dornoch for a day but returning to their Inverness base, without staying and contributing further to the east Sutherland economy.


He also said that his team, led by renowned golf course architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, can build the course in an ecologically sensitive way.


But conservationists maintain that the development would have a negative impact on the area’s untouched coastal dune habitats.


The site is in a special protected area and has designated sites of special scientific interest.


East Sutherland and Edderton councillor Jim McGillivray, who lives in Embo, said: “It seems that September looks to be the likeliest opportunity for the plans to go in.


“We will need to wait and see what happens, as it will be up to the developer.


“There is a full appreciation of the potential of the site for an international links golf course. I think they believe also that they can overcome the environmental challenges.”


In May, experts from RSPB Scotland, Butterfly Conservation and Buglife Scotland gave public presentations on the ecological importance of the Coul Links dune system.


Residents questioned why so much was being made of the threat to Fonseca’s Seed Fly – a critically endangered species – despite no solid evidence of the species existing on the Coul Links site.


Conservationists said that studies conducted on sites at Dornoch sands and Embo sands showed the presence of the fly which, given the similar habitat, could mean it is present on Coul Links.


But Mr Warnock said previously that when plans are published there will be a clear suggestion that the habitat for this fly would be “preserved, if not strengthened,” and that only 50 acres will be turfed.


Craig Macadam, conservation director at Buglife, said: “Hopefully they have taken into account all the things that have been raised during the consultation period and public meetings.


“I find it very difficult to see how a golf course could be engineered into the landscape without having a detrimental effect on the landscape.


“I am looking forward to seeing these plans after all this time.”

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on August 01, 2017, 04:15:54 PM

Thanks for posting this Brian.


Interesting that the main objection is based on the theoretical existence of fauna not actual. This sort of thing does not help with the image. I wonder what they plan to spend £6 to £10 million on?


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Wayne_Kozun on August 01, 2017, 04:26:27 PM
Interesting that the main objection is based on the theoretical existence of fauna not actual. This sort of thing does not help with the image.
Fonseca's Seed Fly is considered fauna?  Here in Canada we consider them pests.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kirk Gill on August 01, 2017, 05:30:58 PM
It is interesting to me that this fly supposedly exists on the dornoch sands but a golf course in the Coul location would not allow the fly to survive. Are the Dornoch sands mentioned near the golf course? Anyway, here's a site devoted to protection of the fly:


https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-fonesca-s-seed-fly

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 02, 2017, 08:39:36 AM

Thanks for posting this Brian.


Interesting that the main objection is based on the theoretical existence of fauna not actual. This sort of thing does not help with the image. I wonder what they plan to spend £6 to £10 million on?


Jon


clubhouse and dormie house provision perhaps ?


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Wayne_Kozun on August 02, 2017, 08:55:09 AM
But that site doesn't mention why anyone should give a damn about whether Fonseca's Seed fly becomes extinct.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Steve Lang on August 02, 2017, 09:07:52 AM
But that site doesn't mention why anyone should give a damn about whether Fonseca's Seed fly becomes extinct.


or it's just genetic cosmic debris
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on August 02, 2017, 10:20:15 AM

Thanks for posting this Brian.


Interesting that the main objection is based on the theoretical existence of fauna not actual. This sort of thing does not help with the image. I wonder what they plan to spend £6 to £10 million on?


Jon


clubhouse and dormie house provision perhaps ?


Niall


I believe that a significant investment will be made in "local infrastructure improvements" to accommodate the new facility.
Specifically on the the road between Dornoch and Embo which, at present, is wide enough only for one car.


The developers will also build a new football pitch for the residents of Embo as well as an enhanced walking path through Coul Links for locals and tourists alike.


There will also be a practice range built.
To put in perspective, RDGC is considering the addition of a driving range and the proposed budget is just under $2M.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 02, 2017, 11:51:45 AM
Ian


I wish RDGC well but that's bonkers. Sad to see it turning even more into an American style country club, and I don't mean that as a knock to country clubs, just that they should be in the US  :)


How long is the road they are having to rebuild ?


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on August 02, 2017, 02:11:35 PM
Ian


I wish RDGC well but that's bonkers. Sad to see it turning even more into an American style country club, and I don't mean that as a knock to country clubs, just that they should be in the US  :)


How long is the road they are having to rebuild ?


Niall


Niall -


It's being voted on at this year's AGM.
RDGC has a nice looking balance sheet....;-) If the members want a driving range, then they will approve the project.


You must be present to vote so most voters are local, not overseas.


My guess is that the road from Dornoch to Embo that may need to be widened is about 1 mile long.
When David Tepper gets off the links, he can chime in with better info i'm sure...;-)


Cheers,
Ian
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on August 02, 2017, 04:09:32 PM

Niall,


the plan deliberately stated it was going for a low key development including a very basic clubhouse that might just be a glorified starters hut. I share your concern about the danger of RDGC losing it's identity.


Ian,


with the small amount of increased traffic this project will create and knowing the road a dozen passing places would cover it. I know there is the possibility that the local council might be using this as an opportunity to upgrade the road but knowing a couple of people living along it there are a lot of residents against this as it is already a race track.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 03, 2017, 08:59:50 AM
Jon


I'm assuming that the road would be a planning obligation. Depending on the spec and length of it that could be a £1m plus right there.


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: MClutterbuck on August 03, 2017, 10:45:08 AM
I hope that if this goes forward it creates the right conditions for courses like Brora to benefit. Essential to get some kind of package, 3 course-4 course, even 7 course green fee packages. Staying a few nights up north in Dornoch is a great experience and you could even market this is a full week in and out of Inverness with a new course.


Dornoch, Brora, Coul Links, Nairn, a repeat at Dornoch, and another local course and leave via Inverness aftar a round at Castle Stuart is a very compelling golf week.



I loved getting to Brora at 6pm and playing with rain and a 5 club wind. Awesome course. Many others would benefit from an additional course I believe.



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on August 03, 2017, 10:56:44 AM
"another local course"

GOLSPIE!!! ;)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on August 03, 2017, 01:07:59 PM

"another local course"

GOLSPIE!!! ;)


David,


it would be nice for some trade to be spread to some of the other local clubs. Indeed some might say that these days Golspie, Tain, Brora and their brethren offer a far more authentic Scottish golfing experience than the bigger courses.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on August 03, 2017, 01:30:53 PM
"It would be nice for some trade to be spread to some of the other local clubs."

Jon -

You are absolutely right about that. An extra 500 rounds of visitor play yearly at any of the clubs you mention would help the finances of those clubs greatly.

Sadly, it is hard to break thru the "bucket list" mentality of too many visiting golfers, who are reluctant to stray from the Top 20, 50 or 100 lists   

DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: MClutterbuck on August 03, 2017, 01:35:55 PM
"another local course"

GOLSPIE!!! ;)


I teed it up for you David but unfortunately I did not get the chance to play or see Golspie so I did not mention by name.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: MClutterbuck on August 03, 2017, 01:43:04 PM
"It would be nice for some trade to be spread to some of the other local clubs."

Jon -

You are absolutely right about that. An extra 500 rounds of visitor play yearly at any of the clubs you mention would help the finances of those clubs greatly.

Sadly, it is hard to break thru the "bucket list" mentality of too many visiting golfers, who are reluctant to stray from the Top 20, 50 or 100 lists   

DT


That is where I think the concept of flying in and out of Inverness and spending a full week in the Highlands is important. I am pretty sure that if Coul Links happens and it is really good, having 3 top courses, plus another 3-5 excellent options, and quality hotels and B&Bs will make a difference.


Lets say you are contemplating three 1-week golf trips to Scotland over your lifetime and have the means to play top courses. As things stand today, you will not spend a full week in the Highlands if you want to maximize the Scotland experience. With a succesfull Coul Links, I think you might start thinking of dedicating a full week to the North or North and Northeast.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on August 03, 2017, 01:59:28 PM
"With a succesfull Coul Links, I think you might start thinking of dedicating a full week to the North or North and Northeast."

Marcos -

If Coul Lnks does get built, I certainly hope it works out that way and visiting golfers will spend an extra day or two or three in the area to play the very worthwhile nearby local courses. Again, it is a question of overcoming the "bucket list" mentality.

DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: James Brown on August 03, 2017, 03:54:49 PM
"With a succesfull Coul Links, I think you might start thinking of dedicating a full week to the North or North and Northeast."

Marcos -

If Coul Lnks does get built, I certainly hope it works out that way and visiting golfers will spend an extra day or two or three in the area to play the very worthwhile nearby local courses. Again, it is a question of overcoming the "bucket list" mentality.

DT


Has anyone seen anything on what a new Coul Course will do to the tee sheet at RDGC?


I personally thinking building a new Keiser links just up th road from Dornoch is a bad idea that will ultimately lead to ruining the quaintness of Dornoch, but I get the reasons driving local development.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 03, 2017, 04:49:05 PM
The other courses in that immediate area are all, weather permitting, 365 days per year play. I wonder if Coul will be as well? Note - Castle Stuart isn't.
Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on August 03, 2017, 05:08:36 PM
"The other courses in that immediate area are all, weather permitting, 365 days per year play. I wonder if Coul will be as well? Note - Castle Stuart isn't."

Thomas D. -

That is because the other courses are golf clubs with local memberships who live in the area year round.

Castle Stuart is a daily fee course. It is highly unlikely CS could generate enough fee revenue over the winter months to justify the cost of staffing and operating the facility, especially given the short hours of daylight and the frequent frost delays.

I suspect Coul Links will close as well over the winter months, for the same reasons. A number of restaurants & hotels in the Dornoch also close over the winter season. 

DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on August 03, 2017, 05:20:01 PM
The other courses in that immediate area are all, weather permitting, 365 days per year play. I wonder if Coul will be as well? Note - Castle Stuart isn't.
Atb


From what I understand, Castle Stuart does not have "members". Perhaps a mistake as it cuts off a vital consistent revenue stream.
It's strictly a "pay for play" high-end venue that, in the three times I have been there, has been WIDE open.


Have they broken ground on the new "Palmer" course? I saw the site and it looked like boring farmland.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on August 03, 2017, 05:33:02 PM

The other courses in that immediate area are all, weather permitting, 365 days per year play. I wonder if Coul will be as well? Note - Castle Stuart isn't.
Atb


From what I understand, Castle Stuart does not have "members". Perhaps a mistake as it cuts off a vital consistent revenue stream.
It's strictly a "pay for play" high-end venue that, in the three times I have been there, has been WIDE open.


Have they broken ground on the new "Palmer" course? I saw the site and it looked like boring farmland.


Ian,


I think you will find CS turns a decent profit and at £185 a pop for 18 holes they have enough GFs through the summer months. As for memberships it comes with a lot of expense on extra infrastructure and I doubt they could ask more than £500 to £600 a year so not so lucrative.


I do not believe they have broken ground on the second course but when they do I am sure they will create a very good course. The present course was built on very boring farmland and a rocky shoreline.


If  Coul Links does get built I hope they ensure it has an authentic Scottish feel and not the corporate tartan that is sadly creeping into the scene.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on August 03, 2017, 08:18:03 PM
Another top notch course in the Dornoch area would be help the smaller venues imo.  I am not convinced Dornoch will benefit though as it doesn't need more visitors! 

Jon

I am not sure what authentic Scottish feel is, but I think you will not find it a new high end course.

Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 04, 2017, 07:27:05 AM

Lets say you are contemplating three 1-week golf trips to Scotland over your lifetime and have the means to play top courses. As things stand today, you will not spend a full week in the Highlands if you want to maximize the Scotland experience. With a succesfull Coul Links, I think you might start thinking of dedicating a full week to the North or North and Northeast.


Define "the Scotland Experience". Note - this isn't some sort of snidey question but genuinely interested what you think the Scotland Exeperience is or should be ? Indeed did your ideas change after your trip ?


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on August 04, 2017, 09:03:44 AM
Another top notch course in the Dornoch area would be help the smaller venues imo.  I am not convinced Dornoch will benefit though as it doesn't need more visitors! 

Jon

I am not sure what authentic Scottish feel is, but I think you will not find it a new high end course.

Ciao


Sean, when you say that you are "not convinced Dornoch will benefit", are you referring to the town or the golf club?


True, RDGC does not need more visitor rounds nor does it need any "help" attracting outside interest. However, as cited previously, following the opening of Castle Stuart, the town of Dornoch saw a net LOSS in visitor room/hotel nights. That trickles down to everyone: restaurants, shops, pubs, etc.


It became clear that golf tourism was treating Dornoch in a very transient manner that benefited RDGC, but bypassed the town. It is also well-documented that the developers of Coul Links first came to RDGC with a proposal.


Part of the appeal of the developer's proposal behind Coul is that it could add the need for 100 more hotel beds in the area. Is that good or bad? Well, it depends on your perspective. If the town of Dornoch became a golf tourism "hub" in the Highlands, instead of a "spoke" of Inverness, that could lead to a net benefit for Brora, Golspie and the town.



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on August 04, 2017, 10:41:43 AM
Another top notch course in the Dornoch area would be help the smaller venues imo.  I am not convinced Dornoch will benefit though as it doesn't need more visitors! 

Jon

I am not sure what authentic Scottish feel is, but I think you will not find it a new high end course.

Ciao


Sean, when you say that you are "not convinced Dornoch will benefit", are you referring to the town or the golf club?


True, RDGC does not need more visitor rounds nor does it need any "help" attracting outside interest. However, as cited previously, following the opening of Castle Stuart, the town of Dornoch saw a net LOSS in visitor room/hotel nights. That trickles down to everyone: restaurants, shops, pubs, etc.


It became clear that golf tourism was treating Dornoch in a very transient manner that benefited RDGC, but bypassed the town. It is also well-documented that the developers of Coul Links first came to RDGC with a proposal.


Part of the appeal of the developer's proposal behind Coul is that it could add the need for 100 more hotel beds in the area. Is that good or bad? Well, it depends on your perspective. If the town of Dornoch became a golf tourism "hub" in the Highlands, instead of a "spoke" of Inverness, that could lead to a net benefit for Brora, Golspie and the town.


I was referencing the club.


Honestly, I don't go to the Dornoch area enough to really be invested in whether or not the town could be boosted by a major new golf development.  That said, more rooms in a "resort" like place doesn't sound like it would bode well for Dornoch attracting people to spend money in the town when they visit the club. 


Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 04, 2017, 11:01:14 AM
Ian


Re: your post # 224, and in particular your comment on the nature of golf tourism becoming more transient, do you think a high end, high cost development will really change that trend ? Do you think it will increase bookings any at the Eagle Hotel ?


It seems to me that the greater the cost of the golf, the more likely it is that those paying that kind of money are the type who are doing the grand tour of must see venues, and those types aren’t going to be spending time in Dornoch, and probably not the Eagle Hotel.


The days of families going up and spending a week playing golf have long gone I suspect, unless of course they are members. The move from those that are inclined to those that can afford it, is caused not through a lack of high cost golf but because of it. That’s just my perspective.
 
Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 04, 2017, 12:05:24 PM
There is already a high end, high cost development in the Dornoch area.
It's called Carnegie/Skibo - here's Ran's profile from 2007 - http://golfclubatlas.com/courses-by-country/scotland/skibo-golf-course/
Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on August 04, 2017, 12:18:47 PM
There is already a high end, high cost development in the Dornoch area.
It's called Carnegie/Skibo - here's Ran's profile from 2007 - http://golfclubatlas.com/courses-by-country/scotland/skibo-golf-course/ (http://golfclubatlas.com/courses-by-country/scotland/skibo-golf-course/)
Atb

That is a very high end few members and visitors allowed model. It doesn't mean this nor that in the big scheme of things.

Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on August 04, 2017, 12:37:18 PM
There is already a high end, high cost development in the Dornoch area.
It's called Carnegie/Skibo - here's Ran's profile from 2007 - http://golfclubatlas.com/courses-by-country/scotland/skibo-golf-course/ (http://golfclubatlas.com/courses-by-country/scotland/skibo-golf-course/)
Atb


Exactly what Sean said.
But will add: $500+ to play, hard to get access, course done by Donald Steele. It's one of those "one and done", "check that box" courses for belt notchers.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on August 04, 2017, 02:08:23 PM
I would take issue with the notion that "high-end" golf is not a legitimate part of the fabric/history of golf in Scotland. In fact, it could be argued that the development of luxurious resorts like Gleneagles and Turnberry (and at the time Cruden Bay) introduced the notion of a traveling to a "golf resort" to the world.

Obviously the vast majority of golf in Scotland was developed to serve the local communities. But the many "golf hotels" adjacent to the first tees of many courses suggest that there were numerous golf "resorts" back in the day.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: MClutterbuck on August 04, 2017, 02:49:51 PM

Lets say you are contemplating three 1-week golf trips to Scotland over your lifetime and have the means to play top courses. As things stand today, you will not spend a full week in the Highlands if you want to maximize the Scotland experience. With a succesfull Coul Links, I think you might start thinking of dedicating a full week to the North or North and Northeast.


Define "the Scotland Experience". Note - this isn't some sort of snidey question but genuinely interested what you think the Scotland Exeperience is or should be ? Indeed did your ideas change after your trip ?


Niall


Niall,


My reference to the Scotland Experience is part geographical, part course diversity. I think you should get to know diverse towns and regions, and play in diverse types of courses. I had no interest in inland courses, but I was interested in some of the classic greats, some modern courses and some Brora type courses.   


If I were to recommend Scotland itineraries today, based on no more than three, 1-week trips to Scotland in a lifetime, I would not recommend one of those weeks is spent entirely in the Highlands. There is just too much else to see in Scotland. If Coul Links turned out to be a top 10 Scotland course, I might consider staying and recommending a full week based in Dornoch (in a small B&B not a resort) or even a 5 day stay adding 2 courses north east.


Did my trip change my ideas? Well it did in some ways. Scotland is so much better than I imagined! The trip reinforced the idea of how much fun we could have on a course rated a touch below the 9s and 10s, as well as on a Brora type course. It reinforced the idea of diversity. The 3 guys that came with me allowed me to plan 100% of the course selection and the only comments I received ahead of time were about leaving out a Carnoustie and including a Gullane #1 or a Brora. I believe today all 4 of us are extremely happy with the balance and we are planning a second trip with the same type of course diversity.


While some of the market is always going to try to play the 8 most expensive or famous courses across the whole country and maybe repeat that 5 years later, I think sticking to 1 or 2 regions per trip, covering all regions after 3 trips and playing across greater diversity of courses gives you the best Scotland Golf Experience.


M



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on August 04, 2017, 03:54:53 PM

I would take issue with the notion that "high-end" golf is not a legitimate part of the fabric/history of golf in Scotland. In fact, it could be argued that the development of luxurious resorts like Gleneagles and Turnberry (and at the time Cruden Bay) introduced the notion of a traveling to a "golf resort" to the world.

Obviously the vast majority of golf in Scotland was developed to serve the local communities. But the many "golf hotels" adjacent to the first tees of many courses suggest that there were numerous golf "resorts" back in the day.


David,


that is not what I am saying. You can offer a high end experience without it being a corporate one. Maybe a little less of the fake tartan everywhere and a starter giving the 2 minute concept speech whilst handing over the little bag of logo stuff. I am not saying there is no place for this and I do like it occasionally but it seems all the new 'resort' courses and some of the classics are doing it. I hope Coul Links comes up with something original and authentic.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on August 04, 2017, 03:56:42 PM
Jon -

Understood and agreed! But I see nothing wrong with a starter handing out complimentary course guides and offering a few welcoming words. ;)

DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on August 04, 2017, 05:16:30 PM

I would take issue with the notion that "high-end" golf is not a legitimate part of the fabric/history of golf in Scotland. In fact, it could be argued that the development of luxurious resorts like Gleneagles and Turnberry (and at the time Cruden Bay) introduced the notion of a traveling to a "golf resort" to the world.

Obviously the vast majority of golf in Scotland was developed to serve the local communities. But the many "golf hotels" adjacent to the first tees of many courses suggest that there were numerous golf "resorts" back in the day.


David,


that is not what I am saying. You can offer a high end experience without it being a corporate one. Maybe a little less of the fake tartan everywhere and a starter giving the 2 minute concept speech whilst handing over the little bag of logo stuff. I am not saying there is no place for this and I do like it occasionally but it seems all the new 'resort' courses and some of the classics are doing it. I hope Coul Links comes up with something original and authentic.


Jon


The good thing about Coul, Jon, is that you can check four other places to see what has been done by Mike Keiser and Coore/Crenshaw:


1. Bandon Dunes
2. Barnbougle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwQ4a7_MmlI
3. Cabot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THVlPhl_G-I (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THVlPhl_G-I)
4. Sand Valley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwZnxNzXs2s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwZnxNzXs2s)


Remember, there will no housing or lodging at Coul.


A few things:


a. Look at where the courses are ranked globally
b. Look at the impact the courses have had on the local economies: [size=78%]http://www.golfchannel.com/media/keisers-golf-course-saves-nova-scotia-town/ (http://www.golfchannel.com/media/keisers-golf-course-saves-nova-scotia-town/)[/size]
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on August 04, 2017, 05:30:32 PM
No talk of the golf course here.


A question:


On a sliding scale, do you think we will get a course that is closer identified as a traditional old school links.... or do you think it will tip closer to a Coore and Crenshaw style built over beautiful authentic links land?


Both of which would be excellent. But I know which I'd prefer to see - a course routed by modern masters with a great deal of restraint in the visual fireworks department.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on August 04, 2017, 05:56:46 PM
No talk of the golf course here.


A question:


On a sliding scale, do you think we will get a course that is closer identified as a traditional old school links.... or do you think it will tip closer to a Coore and Crenshaw style built over beautiful authentic links land?


Both of which would be excellent. But I know which I'd prefer to see - a course routed by modern masters with a great deal of restraint in the visual fireworks department.


I think you will see C/C's masterpiece with substantial influence from RDGC as well as the classic links courses NE of Dublin.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on August 04, 2017, 06:27:29 PM
No talk of the golf course here.


A question:


On a sliding scale, do you think we will get a course that is closer identified as a traditional old school links.... or do you think it will tip closer to a Coore and Crenshaw style built over beautiful authentic links land?


Both of which would be excellent. But I know which I'd prefer to see - a course routed by modern masters with a great deal of restraint in the visual fireworks department.


I think you will see C/C's masterpiece with substantial influence from RDGC as well as the classic links courses NE of Dublin.


So you don't believe it will be instantly recognisable as a C&C course then? Or at least as a modern links course?


Out of interest, which courses north east of Dublin and why them?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jud_T on August 04, 2017, 09:25:02 PM
Ally,


I'm not sure what you're asking.  Are you suggesting some type of tribute course?  C&C are known for their restraint. While they perhaps didn't invent the name 'minimalism', when you look it up in the dictionary, Bill Coore's picture comes up.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on August 04, 2017, 11:20:19 PM

Ally,


I'm not sure what you're asking.  Are you suggesting some type of tribute course?  C&C are known for their restraint. While they perhaps didn't invent the name 'minimalism', when you look it up in the dictionary, Bill Coore's picture comes up.


Jud,


that depends on your definition of minimalism. I think C&C understand the style of the Scottish links but will the have the nerve to produce such a course given the fact it would get less fawning from the golf press where as if they produce what is for them their box standard look I would imagine it will be much better received in the short term.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on August 05, 2017, 12:10:13 AM

Ally,


I'm not sure what you're asking.  Are you suggesting some type of tribute course?  C&C are known for their restraint. While they perhaps didn't invent the name 'minimalism', when you look it up in the dictionary, Bill Coore's picture comes up.


Jud,


that depends on your definition of minimalism. I think C&C understand the style of the Scottish links but will the have the nerve to produce such a course given the fact it would get less fawning from the golf press where as if they produce what is for them their box standard look I would imagine it will be much better received in the short term.


Jon


Jud; This is what I mean


I have written a fair bit about this. Subtlety vs eye candy. Just because C&C are minimalists, it doesn't mean that aesthetic style isn't high (top?) on their list.


The perverse thing is that for me, the most interesting part of this course will firstly be what kind of bunkering they build. And secondly how they establish the fairways. If they want the course to feel 100 years old then they might want to consider just mowing the fairways out and then bringing them on. Is that really going to happen with all the bucks behind it? Perhaps environmental restrictions might necessitate this a la Mach Dunes - that could be an unexpected benefit.


Total speculation - they'll build a fantastic course, one of the very best. But one that can be identified quite readily as being built in the modern era.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 05, 2017, 04:05:29 AM
.......Perhaps environmental restrictions might necessitate this a la Mach Dunes - that could be an unexpected benefit.
Nice wording.
Be nice if the environmental cloud could, in some circumstances, have a silver lining for golf after all.
Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on August 05, 2017, 05:00:17 AM

Ally,


I'm not sure what you're asking.  Are you suggesting some type of tribute course?  C&C are known for their restraint. While they perhaps didn't invent the name 'minimalism', when you look it up in the dictionary, Bill Coore's picture comes up.


Jud,


that depends on your definition of minimalism. I think C&C understand the style of the Scottish links but will the have the nerve to produce such a course given the fact it would get less fawning from the golf press where as if they produce what is for them their box standard look I would imagine it will be much better received in the short term.


Jon


Jud; This is what I mean


I have written a fair bit about this. Subtlety vs eye candy. Just because C&C are minimalists, it doesn't mean that aesthetic style isn't high (top?) on their list.


The perverse thing is that for me, the most interesting part of this course will firstly be what kind of bunkering they build. And secondly how they establish the fairways. If they want the course to feel 100 years old then they might want to consider just mowing the fairways out and then bringing them on. Is that really going to happen with all the bucks behind it? Perhaps environmental restrictions might necessitate this a la Mach Dunes - that could be an unexpected benefit.


Total speculation - they'll build a fantastic course, one of the very best. But one that can be identified quite readily as being built in the modern era.


Ally


Do you think these obviously modern designs will become less so in 50 years?  Of course, in some cases the moderns are built on land which immediately screams modern, but putting that aside...


Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on August 05, 2017, 06:11:10 AM

Sean,


I think what Ally is getting at is that modern courses have very smooth fairway which are unnatural. Natural land has lots of random micro-movement in it and it is something that no GCA in the last 50 years has really got right. The best example of this is if you stand on the 10th tee at Kilspindie and compare the wonderful natural contours to what has been built over the wall.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 05, 2017, 06:38:45 AM
There is already a high end, high cost development in the Dornoch area.
It's called Carnegie/Skibo - here's Ran's profile from 2007 - http://golfclubatlas.com/courses-by-country/scotland/skibo-golf-course/ (http://golfclubatlas.com/courses-by-country/scotland/skibo-golf-course/)
Atb

But isn't that the point, that at £145 a round RDGC has become a one and done for the great majority of golfers ? £145 might not be a high cost for someone who has flown over the Atlantic and is used to paying even more than that back home, but for the ordinary club golfer that kind of level of greenfee is way over the top. That's not a pop at RDGC, there are many that are worse (Western Gailes at £165 ! and the Queens course at £195 !!).

Niall


Exactly what Sean said.
But will add: $500+ to play, hard to get access, course done by Donald Steele. It's one of those "one and done", "check that box" courses for belt notchers.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 05, 2017, 06:43:33 AM
I would take issue with the notion that "high-end" golf is not a legitimate part of the fabric/history of golf in Scotland. In fact, it could be argued that the development of luxurious resorts like Gleneagles and Turnberry (and at the time Cruden Bay) introduced the notion of a traveling to a "golf resort" to the world.

Obviously the vast majority of golf in Scotland was developed to serve the local communities. But the many "golf hotels" adjacent to the first tees of many courses suggest that there were numerous golf "resorts" back in the day.

David

Absolutely correct about Cruden Bay which came before Turnberry which came before Gleneagles. All developed by the railway companies, however I think the discussion, for me anyway, is more about the level of greenfees. Back then locals and visitors alike could get on a for a reasonable cost. That's not really the case any more, and I think it is that which is alien to the Scottish golf scene.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 05, 2017, 06:46:50 AM
Jon -

Understood and agreed! But I see nothing wrong with a starter handing out complimentary course guides and offering a few welcoming words. ;)

DT

Nonsense David, there should be no such thing as a starter, just some bloke in the pro shop saying "the first is over that way and don't let me catch having practice swings on the tee !". Scottish hospitality at its best. :)

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 05, 2017, 06:58:19 AM
Ally

Setting aside the aesthetics such as bunkering style I strongly suspect that the course will, if it ever gets built, be very much modern in scale ie bigger, with free form fairways rather than the rectangular strip you get on traditional links. I expect it to be much in the CS mould with much wider fairways than trad links and with less hazards. It will be very nice !

What reason do I have to say that ? None really, just my perception of modern American built resort courses. I've never played a C&C course so perhaps/probably being totally unfair in that assumption. BTW, how much Crenshaw will be in this course ?

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 05, 2017, 07:05:50 AM

I think you will see C/C's masterpiece with substantial influence from RDGC as well as the classic links courses NE of Dublin.

Ian

You already have the RDGC influence in the design of both Kingsbarns and Castle Stuart, do you not ?

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 05, 2017, 07:19:26 AM
The trip reinforced the idea of how much fun we could have on a course rated a touch below the 9s and 10s, as well as on a Brora type course. It reinforced the idea of diversity. ...................................... I believe today all 4 of us are extremely happy with the balance and we are planning a second trip with the same type of course diversity.

M

MC

Many thanks for that, I enjoyed reading it. Picking up on some of your comments about diversity and fun to be had on lower ranked courses it reminds me of a discussion about Scotlands second tier courses being much poorer than Englands, and in a sense that is right. However in a perverse kind of way I think that also the joy of a lot of the lower ranked courses in Scotland in that they wouldn't be classified as great or even very good but at the same time they could have some great golf on them as well as some really unusual and interesting golf.

In short because of the age of a lot of those courses, the fact that many of the lower ranked/unranked courses haven't significantly altered over time due to constraints such as lack of expansion space/money/interest in making changes etc they just don't conform to standard modern thinking. I should say I'm thinking of a lot of inland courses when I say that. Perhaps when you plan your fourth trip over here you might brave the dark heartlands of Scotland  ;D

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 05, 2017, 07:58:02 AM
I think what Ally is getting at is that modern courses have very smooth fairway which are unnatural. Natural land has lots of random micro-movement in it and it is something that no GCA in the last 50 years has really got right.


When chatting with a local member at Ballyliffin I was told "The Old course was created by one man with a mower. The Glashedy course was built using big machines". And you can really see the difference.
Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Steve Salmen on August 05, 2017, 08:47:40 AM
Sand Hills is regarded as C&C's best work and on sandy soil. Are the fairways there flat? If so, did they flatten them? If they didn't flatten fairways on an American course, can anyone give a reason why they would come to Scotland and do so?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jud_T on August 05, 2017, 09:12:04 AM
Maybe instead we can get the Old Tom actor from the commercials, give him 18 sticks and a fifth of scotch, then let the sheep loose...
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on August 05, 2017, 10:52:19 AM
It's not about flattening fairways - they won't do that. Although they might strip the entire area and put a little bit of their own expert shape in to them, along with wide free-form fairways, a significant number of large blow-out style bunkers and an emphasis on maximising visual drama.


In this respect, it may resemble Castle Stuart more than Royal Dornoch.


This is not the wrong option. I'm not saying that. But I'll be interested - like Jon - on how much they tone it down.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 05, 2017, 12:06:17 PM
Although the website isn't apparently affiliated to the project, the website highlighted by David in his opening is worth looking at or revisiting for the photos of the area in the gallery section - https://www.coullinksgolf.com/ (https://www.coullinksgolf.com/)


In addition, if you look at Streetcam you can see what the nearby roads mentioned above are presently actually like and also get an inkling of the what the location and landscape involved are like -https://www.instantstreetview.com/@57.918579,-4.010837,14z,0t (https://www.instantstreetview.com/@57.918579,-4.010837,14z,0t)


Irrespective of golf, a delightful part of the world for sure.


Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on August 08, 2017, 11:13:22 AM
Some interesting perspectives from those at Skibo, RDGC, Tain, Brora and Golspie:


http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Clubs-backing-drive-for-new-championship-course-12052016.htm




Latest article says that planning applications will be submitted shortly:


http://www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/content/planning-application-for-coul-links-set-to-be-submitted-in-coming-weeks




Having walked the property extensively, I believe that total acreage is ~600 yet total proposed turf coverage will be ~50.


Preliminary routing can be seen here: http://www.coullinks.com/traffic.html
Click on map to see it in full.




Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Wayne_Kozun on August 08, 2017, 11:45:56 AM
Interesting, but that first article is now 15 months old and contains a bit of hyperbole, such as "There is nowhere else in the UK that has as many extraordinary links golf courses as closely situated as East Sutherland." - no offence to the Northern courses, but for lots of Links courses in close proximity you have East Lothian and Fife.  How many excellent links courses are within five miles of Gullane hill?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 08, 2017, 11:49:08 AM
Interesting, but that first article is now 15 months old and contains a bit of hyperbole, such as "There is nowhere else in the UK that has as many extraordinary links golf courses as closely situated as East Sutherland." - no offence to the Northern courses, but for lots of Links courses in close proximity you have East Lothian Ayrshire and Fife.  How many excellent links courses are within five miles of Gullane hill?


Once again Wayne, I've had to fix your typo.  ;)


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on August 08, 2017, 11:52:42 AM
Interesting, but that first article is now 15 months old and contains a bit of hyperbole, such as "There is nowhere else in the UK that has as many extraordinary links golf courses as closely situated as East Sutherland." - no offence to the Northern courses, but for lots of Links courses in close proximity you have East Lothian and Fife.  How many excellent links courses are within five miles of Gullane hill?


You miss the point of the article, Wayne, and the date is unimportant.
The point is to show that local courses are supportive of Coul Links and welcome it's prospects.


They underscore how another world-class venue may serve to benefit their courses as well.
(This had been discussed and debated recently here.)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on August 08, 2017, 04:11:04 PM
Interesting initial routing as it appears to have a loop of 8 and a loop of 10.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 09, 2017, 02:33:59 PM
Old farm and buildings as the Clubhouse etc later replaced by new-build.
Access road coming from the Dornoch side and across farmland etc which makes me wonder about ownership and space for another course.
Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on August 09, 2017, 02:51:07 PM
Old farm and buildings as the Clubhouse etc later replaced by new-build.
Access road coming from the Dornoch side and across farmland etc which makes me wonder about ownership and space for another course.
Atb


There is ample acreage for another course, but developers have assured one and all that there will be one course only with NO chance for homes or hotels.


The only thing to be built west of the access road will be the practice area.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on August 10, 2017, 04:03:23 AM
Old farm and buildings as the Clubhouse etc later replaced by new-build.
Access road coming from the Dornoch side and across farmland etc which makes me wonder about ownership and space for another course.
Atb


There is ample acreage for another course, but developers have assured one and all that there will be one course only with NO chance for homes or hotels.


The only thing to be built west of the access road will be the practice area.

Developers assurances mean nothing.  Things change...councils change, officers change, regulations change, owners change....Once a door is open there is no telling when it will be shut.  I don't know if this is good or bad in terms of this project...just sayin'.

Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 10, 2017, 04:11:36 AM
Old farm and buildings as the Clubhouse etc later replaced by new-build.
Access road coming from the Dornoch side and across farmland etc which makes me wonder about ownership and space for another course.
Atb
There is ample acreage for another course, but developers have assured one and all that there will be one course only with NO chance for homes or hotels.
The only thing to be built west of the access road will be the practice area.
Developers assurances mean nothing.  Things change...councils change, officers change, regulations change, owners change....Once a door is open there is no telling when it will be shut.  I don't know if this is good or bad in terms of this project...just sayin'.
Ciao


Sadly I go along with this. Assurances often/usually/normally/always don't mean much, especially in the longer term and when £, ego's etc are involved.
Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on August 10, 2017, 08:27:06 AM
Old farm and buildings as the Clubhouse etc later replaced by new-build.
Access road coming from the Dornoch side and across farmland etc which makes me wonder about ownership and space for another course.
Atb


There is ample acreage for another course, but developers have assured one and all that there will be one course only with NO chance for homes or hotels.


The only thing to be built west of the access road will be the practice area.

Developers assurances mean nothing.  Things change...councils change, officers change, regulations change, owners change....Once a door is open there is no telling when it will be shut.  I don't know if this is good or bad in terms of this project...just sayin'.

Ciao


While I do appreciate the ample dose of cynicism, it is sorely misplaced here and unfounded. While that could be said of many developers, it is hardly the case here. Sean, you know Keiser's other properties, right? He is not a "carpet bagger".


If the town does not want the course, he will not build it and will walk away to focus on other projects.


Implying doubt in their intentions is natural, I agree, but with so many projects to reference, the track record is well established.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: PCCraig on August 10, 2017, 10:17:42 AM
I just checked out the routing. I'm guessing the southern loop is the back nine with a par-3 10th?


Looks like a neat project. I like that its only going to be 18 holes on a 600 acre site. That leaves quite a bit for preservation, as compared to jamming 2 (or 3?) courses into the same amount of land.


If it turns out to be a great design, you would have to imagine Dornoch would see a big influx of additional visitors.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 10, 2017, 12:02:36 PM
Sean/Dai,
 
Plans change and plans evolve, much the same as golf courses. While you get developers who prove themselves untrustworthy and speak with forked tongue (step forward Mr Trump) the majority act in a straight forward and above board fashion. They submit a planning application to the relevant authority which decides the application in terms of a legal framework that involves public consultation.
 
In approving an application they can, and more often than not, do impose conditions on the approval. It is up to the authority to ensure that those conditions are complied with. Should the developer subsequently wish to change his plans or add to them then they have to go through the same process. A fairly democratic process I think.
 
Where it all goes wrong is where you momentarily get a couple of very large egos (Trump and Salmond) aligning and then the system gets over ridden like in some third world country. I don’t know about Mike Keiser or Todd Warnock to compare them to Trump but I very much doubt any Scottish Ministers will act as Salmond did given the outcome at Balmedie.
 
That’s just my personal view.
 
Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 10, 2017, 01:53:20 PM
Ian and Niall,
All that I have heard and read about the intended developers, their track record, etc etc, indicates integrity and an approach that gives confidence.
What happens down the line though, perhaps many, many years down the line is where the cynicism/caution is. Circumstances, ownership, £, personalities can/will change over time. Contracts, agreements etc need to be tightly written or else potentially one day.........
Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on August 10, 2017, 05:51:52 PM
Old farm and buildings as the Clubhouse etc later replaced by new-build.
Access road coming from the Dornoch side and across farmland etc which makes me wonder about ownership and space for another course.
Atb


There is ample acreage for another course, but developers have assured one and all that there will be one course only with NO chance for homes or hotels.


The only thing to be built west of the access road will be the practice area.

Developers assurances mean nothing.  Things change...councils change, officers change, regulations change, owners change....Once a door is open there is no telling when it will be shut.  I don't know if this is good or bad in terms of this project...just sayin'.

Ciao


While I do appreciate the ample dose of cynicism, it is sorely misplaced here and unfounded. While that could be said of many developers, it is hardly the case here. Sean, you know Keiser's other properties, right? He is not a "carpet bagger".


If the town does not want the course, he will not build it and will walk away to focus on other projects.


Implying doubt in their intentions is natural, I agree, but with so many projects to reference, the track record is well established.

Ian

Its not about Keiser's integrity.  Its about there being no such thing as ever or never where business is concerned. 

Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Terry Lavin on August 10, 2017, 08:12:16 PM
Keiser's "project" will leave a very light "footprint". Trust me.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on August 14, 2017, 08:30:14 PM
I'm recently back from 2 weeks in Dornoch, and I can assure readers of this thread that Coull Links is well below the radar of most locals and long-term visiting golfers such as me.


Having walked the land, and being familiar with a number of Coore & Crenshaw courses I have no doubt that a great course can be built there, but do have doubts that it will be financially feasible, unless significant infrastructure is built in and between Dornoch and Embo (where CL will be situated).  Dornoch is overwhelmed by visitors in the high season, and most of these visitors stay elsewhere because accommodation and watering holes are very limited (particularly at the high end, where CL visitors will want to frequent).  Embo is a very small village with one local shop and a large caravan park (Grannie's Heilan Hame).  I very much doubt that high-end golfing tourists will want to stay there--unless a Bandon-like reservation is built near CL.  But, of course, posts above assure us that these facilities will not be built.

Even if they could be built, would destination visitors spread much lucre over the likes of Tain, Brora and Golspie?  I doubt it, for many reasons (about which I will happily write, if anyone cares to listen).

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on August 14, 2017, 08:40:41 PM
PS--a bit about Embo....


https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/its-aloha-from-embo-sutherland-village-twins-with-hawaii/
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on August 15, 2017, 01:22:38 AM
PS--a bit about Embo....


https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/its-aloha-from-embo-sutherland-village-twins-with-hawaii/ (https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/its-aloha-from-embo-sutherland-village-twins-with-hawaii/)

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 16, 2017, 08:17:17 AM
Keiser's "project" will leave a very light "footprint". Trust me.

Terry

No offence, when someone says trust me that's when I start worrying  ;D

Also, a very light footprint in American terms won't be the same as in the UK. In golf development terms, projects over here tend to be much more modest than they are in the US, both in terms of the amount of earth shifted and the supporting "infrastructure" such as clubhouses etc.

Rich - I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the knock on effect of this proposed development.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on August 16, 2017, 11:28:25 AM

Rich - I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the knock on effect of this proposed development.

Niall


Niall--I think I expressed my thoughts well enough above.  I've been to Bandon and been to Mullen, and there has been little sustainable knock on "development" I can see at either place.  Same with Castle Stuart.   Same with Ballyliffin.  Same with etc. etc. etc.


Dornoch has had some development recently, due primarily to it's climb in the rankings but also from the effect of Skibo and it's gazillionaire clientele, and the fact that the place used to "be a contender" 100 years ago.  It also still has charm--which most of the other seaside towns in Sutherland do not have, any more than Mullen and Bandon and Inverness.


Cultural terraforming just doesn't work in the golf business these days.


Rich
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 16, 2017, 11:50:48 AM
At a slight tangent perhaps, but I'd be interested to hear what effect cruise ship golf is having on golf in the area. That is cruise ships berthing at Invergorden and passengers disembarking to play golf at the surrounding area clubs.
atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on August 16, 2017, 12:04:03 PM
Thomas D. -

The emergence/development of Invergordon as a cruise ship port over the last 5-10 years has been a real boost to tourism (golf and otherwise) in the Highlands. I remember reading about the impressive number of ships that docked there in 2016, but I can't remember exactly what that number was. The promotion of the North Coast 500 route around the Highlands is likewise having a positive impact on tourism.

As far as golf, the ongoing issue (in my mind at least) is getting visitors to think beyond the "bucket list" courses and turning them on to courses like Brora, Golspie, Tain, Muir of Ord, Fortrose, etc.       

DT

P.S. Just found this article on the subject. Looks like 63 cruise ships with 96,500 passengers arrived at Invergordon last year:

http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/xxx-18082016.htm
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 16, 2017, 12:12:53 PM
Thanks David.
I guess that in a few years the buses from the cruise ship will be heading for Coul/Embo as well!
Nice if they also stopped at the other splendid courses you mention although I can already envisage the "Play both Royal Dornoch and Coul Links in one day" advertising on the cruise company websites.
atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ken Moum on August 20, 2017, 04:46:35 AM
Other than Goodale, how many people here have been on the ground at Coul Links?


I ask because my wife and I were doing our laundry at Grannie's Hielan Hame yesterday and I took a bike ride around Embo that included a look at Coul Links from the Embo side. Later we rode from David's flat out to Embo and I took her over to have a look as well.


I know Rich said he has no doubt a great course could be built there, but looking at the routing map for the holes in the area I cannot figure out how they'll build a course that's playable while moving the small amount of sand they say they will.


I've played a fair number of the better links courses, including Royal Dornoch; Old, New, Jubilee and Eden at St. Andrews; North Berwick,; Gullane 2 and 3; Moray Old; Nairn and Nairn Dunbar; well, you get the idea.


Here's the thing none of them look remotely like Coul Links.  The closest might be a couple of the most crazily undulating holes at Fraserburgh and Tain.


I don't suppose a knucklehead like me has much of a position to question Coor and Crenshaw, but just because some folks want to do something and they say they will do it without ruining what's already there doesn't mean they're right.


Bicycle riding around some of the places I've been in Scotland has taken me past several pieces of linksland that look like golf courses before being touched by the hand of man.  I remember thinking that about the sandhills of Nebraska as I drove through them a decade or more before C&C got out there to "discover" the holes that ultimately became Sandhills GC.


At Coul, I just don't see it... without the application of bulldozers.


Edit -- while out on the links we ran into a guy who's been an RDC member for 30+ years and lived in Embo for 20.  He, along with a bunch of other folks, was walking a dog in the links.  He said some Embo residents thought the project was a good idea, but there were plenty who weren't wild about it.


K
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ken Moum on August 20, 2017, 04:59:58 AM
Thanks David.
I guess that in a few years the buses from the cruise ship will be heading for Coul/Embo as well!
Nice if they also stopped at the other splendid courses you mention although I can already envisage the "Play both Royal Dornoch and Coul Links in one day" advertising on the cruise company websites.
atb


When I was in Nairn last week I got introduced to the CEO of Nairn GC by a member while watching the British Boys Amateur. After he walked away she told me he was "in charge" of a deal between Nairn GC, Castle Stuart and Royal Dornoch. That would be http://www.highlandgolflinks.com/package/royal-dornoch-nairn-castle-stuart-golf-package/.


Just add Coul Links and you've got your package.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on August 21, 2017, 01:47:59 PM
@ Ken Moun -


I have walked Coul extensively.
It is an incredible site.



I dont want to comment on your comments as I get you are expressing an opinion.


Thankfully, those with vision do "get it".
Bandon, Cabot, Barnbougle, Sand Valley, Sand Hills.....that, to me, is a whole helluva lot of "getting it".


Starting to get dark here in Chicago at 12:37 PM CT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ken Moum on August 21, 2017, 03:42:20 PM
@ Ken Moun -


I have walked Coul extensively.
It is an incredible site.



I dont want to comment on your comments as I get you are expressing an opinion.


Thankfully, those with vision do "get it".
Bandon, Cabot, Barnbougle, Sand Valley, Sand Hills.....that, to me, is a whole helluva lot of "getting it".


Starting to get dark here in Chicago at 12:37 PM CT


I agree that it's an incredible site.  My point was that I couldn't see how it ends up being a playable golf course with liberal application of bulldozer.


I have to assume that the parts of it I couldn't see have some natural corridors for fairways...


K
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on August 21, 2017, 03:49:42 PM
Ken -


Caveat: I am NOT an expert by ANY means.


But...;-)...I would say that "natural corridors for fairways" are usually created by Mother Nature, not bulldozers....;-)
The subtle mounds and irregularities of links golf cannot be produced by man.

Coul Links has plenty of natural interest. Let's see what happens in the coming weeks....
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on August 21, 2017, 05:19:03 PM
Good points, Ken and Ian


The Dornoch/Castle Stuart/Nairn winter offer has been on the go for several years.  Very good value for money, but less so for members at Dornoch.  Whether or not Coull Links makes the threesome into a foursome, I doubt that there will be any deals in the high season. as per now.  CL will be a great golf course, but a great investment/great economic engine?  Good Luck!


Rich
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on August 22, 2017, 02:53:13 AM
I recall Trump Aberdeen driving significant additional business for Cruden Bay and Royal Aberdeen...at least in the immediate aftermath of the Trump opening.  Is business still booming for these clubs on the back of Trump Aberdeen?  I suspect the same could happen for Coul Links.  People forget about the draw of a name.

Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 22, 2017, 05:50:51 AM
Ken -


Caveat: I am NOT an expert by ANY means.


But...;-)...I would say that "natural corridors for fairways" are usually created by Mother Nature, not bulldozers....;-)
The subtle mounds and irregularities of links golf cannot be produced by man.

Coul Links has plenty of natural interest. Let's see what happens in the coming weeks....


Ian
 
If you don’t mind me saying, that is quite a romantic view that doesn’t really reflect the history of how a lot of classic links have evolved. Back in the day they might have only being using manual labour and horse drawn scoops but they still managed to shift a fair bit of soil/sand/earth. Even if they didn’t leave the land completely flat they would have for instance reduced the height of moguls and partly filled in the gaps between to make the course more walkable/playable.


Arguably it was easier to end up with a more natural looking result back then with the limited machinery compared to today but even then if you look at Martin Eberts work in creating a new fairway in the first half of the 15th at Royal Troon, I think you would find it very hard to distinguish old from new.


Getting back to Ken’s point, and indeed the question that Ally posed, how much soil are they going to shift and what will it look like afterwards. The work may extend over 50 acres but that doesn’t tell you the volume.


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 22, 2017, 07:51:20 AM
Back in yee olde days men and horses and the like cost money just like men and machines do now.
I can't imagine that back in yee olde days the folk paying the bills, back then groups of members not developers, were not as tight with the cash as they are nowadays.
Hence whenever the terrain permitted mow it out and move as little sand/soil as possible, which I imagine is why some yee olde courses have a good deal of eccentricity and uniqueness about them.
atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ken Moum on August 22, 2017, 01:53:08 PM
I recall Trump Aberdeen driving significant additional business for Cruden Bay and Royal Aberdeen...at least in the immediate aftermath of the Trump opening.  Is business still booming for these clubs on the back of Trump Aberdeen?  I suspect the same could happen for Coul Links.  People forget about the draw of a name.

Ciao


I can see the probability of delivering someone to Aberdeenshire for Trump's course and getting them to play the Royal Aberdeen, which is world famous, and Cruden Bay which has been on a lot of Americans check list ever since Dan King wrote about it on the Web 25 years ago. (His words were the sole reason it was in my itinerary for my first trip in 2006.)

I wonder (doubt?) if Tain, Golspie and Brora will get added to the checklist.  Trump Aberdeen and Cruden bay certainly haven't done squat for Fraserburgh.

And I doubt if Nairn GC's stream of coaches full of golfers has done much for the course on the other side of town.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 22, 2017, 02:13:27 PM
Tie-ins between clubs in events are becoming more common - http://www.golfempire.co.uk/features/aberdeen-coast-links-championship.htm


atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ken Moum on August 22, 2017, 03:24:00 PM

@ Ken Moum -

I have walked Coul extensively.
It is an incredible site.

I dont want to comment on your comments as I get you are expressing an opinion.


Thankfully, those with vision do "get it".
Bandon, Cabot, Barnbougle, Sand Valley, Sand Hills.....that, to me, is a whole helluva lot of "getting it".


Okay, I am actually surprised my naive comments haven't actually drawn any more ire than they have.  I suppose it's because almost no one has actually seen the place from the ground and a most of those who have drove by on the closest road, which doesn't offer much of a view, especially since it's singletrack where you best be paying attention.

Whatever, we went out there on bicycle again today from Dornoch, and this time we pressed on down the abandoned railway line that runs from just north of Dornoch well past Embo. We didn't quite make it to Loch Fleet, but I climbed one of the bigger dunes on the west side to get a much better view.

I have to admit that the northern portion of the property most definitely looks like a site that any golf course architect would love to get his hands on.

But to to refer to my earlier comments, does it look like a golf course?

Ummm, no. It looks like a place where you could build a HELL of a golf course. Build, not "find."

The great links courses I've seen and played are actually mostly flat... Their undulations often are hard to see even from a couple of hundred yards away. Places like TOC only show their real contours for photographers in the raking like of sunrise or sunset.

Coul doesn't appear to be  like that. If they've found enough flattish ground for fairways good on 'em.

FWIW, I just went back and re-read the first 3 or 4 pages of posts in this thread, and now I can't decide if I think building  a course here is a good idea or not.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ryan Farrow on August 22, 2017, 09:59:50 PM

@ Ken Moum -

I have walked Coul extensively.
It is an incredible site.

I dont want to comment on your comments as I get you are expressing an opinion.


Thankfully, those with vision do "get it".
Bandon, Cabot, Barnbougle, Sand Valley, Sand Hills.....that, to me, is a whole helluva lot of "getting it".


Okay, I am actually surprised my naive comments haven't actually drawn any more ire than they have.  I suppose it's because almost no one has actually seen the place from the ground and a most of those who have drove by on the closest road, which doesn't offer much of a view, especially since it's singletrack where you best be paying attention.

Whatever, we went out there on bicycle again today from Dornoch, and this time we pressed on down the abandoned railway line that runs from just north of Dornoch well past Embo. We didn't quite make it to Loch Fleet, but I climbed one of the bigger dunes on the west side to get a much better view.

I have to admit that the northern portion of the property most definitely looks like a site that any golf course architect would love to get his hands on.

But to to refer to my earlier comments, does it look like a golf course?

Ummm, no. It looks like a place where you could build a HELL of a golf course. Build, not "find."

The great links courses I've seen and played are actually mostly flat... Their undulations often are hard to see even from a couple of hundred yards away. Places like TOC only show their real contours for photographers in the raking like of sunrise or sunset.

Coul doesn't appear to be  like that. If they've found enough flattish ground for fairways good on 'em.

FWIW, I just went back and re-read the first 3 or 4 pages of posts in this thread, and now I can't decide if I think building  a course here is a good idea or not.


I know someone that thinks this is a really great site for a golf course. I really hope it happens.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Scott Champion on August 23, 2017, 08:09:08 AM


@ Ken Moum -

I have walked Coul extensively.
It is an incredible site.

I dont want to comment on your comments as I get you are expressing an opinion.


Thankfully, those with vision do "get it".
Bandon, Cabot, Barnbougle, Sand Valley, Sand Hills.....that, to me, is a whole helluva lot of "getting it".


Okay, I am actually surprised my naive comments haven't actually drawn any more ire than they have.  I suppose it's because almost no one has actually seen the place from the ground and a most of those who have drove by on the closest road, which doesn't offer much of a view, especially since it's singletrack where you best be paying attention.

Whatever, we went out there on bicycle again today from Dornoch, and this time we pressed on down the abandoned railway line that runs from just north of Dornoch well past Embo. We didn't quite make it to Loch Fleet, but I climbed one of the bigger dunes on the west side to get a much better view.

I have to admit that the northern portion of the property most definitely looks like a site that any golf course architect would love to get his hands on.

But to to refer to my earlier comments, does it look like a golf course?

Ummm, no. It looks like a place where you could build a HELL of a golf course. Build, not "find."

The great links courses I've seen and played are actually mostly flat... Their undulations often are hard to see even from a couple of hundred yards away. Places like TOC only show their real contours for photographers in the raking like of sunrise or sunset.

Coul doesn't appear to be  like that. If they've found enough flattish ground for fairways good on 'em.

FWIW, I just went back and re-read the first 3 or 4 pages of posts in this thread, and now I can't decide if I think building  a course here is a good idea or not.


I walked parts of the property in September last year, spending most time in the area closest to the ocean where the back 9 is proposed. Parts reminded me of Fraserburgh (holes 10-17) and it certainly has potential to produce great golf. I have no doubt that C&C will produce a course of very high quality - and frankly, anything less would probably be disappointing (note: assuming the environmental restrictions are not unduly restrictive).


As for how much shaping is needed (or allowed), a look into Mach Dunes could provide some answers. They were allowed to move whatever they wanted within greens area as the authorities had counted this area as being 'lost' anyway. Fairways were a different story as they incorporated many of the existing grasses on site and shaping was mostly not permitted. Parts of this site are in a similar category of environmental protection (SSSI).


I hope they find a way to reach an Approval - it's an exciting project and would further boost that region's golf offerings (not that you need any other reason to already visit!).


(http://i1079.photobucket.com/albums/w502/scottchampion/Embo1_low_zpshuuuti9i.jpg)


(http://i1079.photobucket.com/albums/w502/scottchampion/Embo3_low_zps9bez2dzw.jpg)


(http://i1079.photobucket.com/albums/w502/scottchampion/Embo4_low_zpsqrlcxqgx.jpg)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on August 23, 2017, 03:32:16 PM

Scott,


I was discussing this project with Ken this morning whilst playing Tain. I am of the opinion that the dunes within 50 yards of the beach will not be useable but the rest is very mowable without much if any work. Outside the greens and tees there is no reason to do any else other than mow the current sward, overseed and put in drainage where needed. Many on here will not agree or understand this point of view but then many on here confuse faux natural look with being minimalist.


It is a great site and it will be a positive for the area but if another great course is needed in that area why not do something about Struie?


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 23, 2017, 03:52:14 PM
....I am of the opinion that the dunes within 50 yards of the beach will not be useable but the rest is very mowable without much if any work. Outside the greens and tees there is no reason to do any else other than mow the current sward, overseed and put in drainage where needed....
Thanks for this Jon. Nice to hear.
Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on August 23, 2017, 04:19:17 PM

Scott,


I was discussing this project with Ken this morning whilst playing Tain. I am of the opinion that the dunes within 50 yards of the beach will not be useable but the rest is very mowable without much if any work. Outside the greens and tees there is no reason to do any else other than mow the current sward, overseed and put in drainage where needed. Many on here will not agree or understand this point of view but then many on here confuse faux natural look with being minimalist.


It is a great site and it will be a positive for the area but if another great course is needed in that area why not do something about Struie?


Jon


Jon,


Funny that you say that about the Struie for that was, in fact, the original intent. The GCA who walked the Struie in the spring of 2015 concluded that you simply could not make the requisite changes to transform the course into a "world class venue". There just isnt enough land there.


Almost as an afterthought he was asked to drive north to Embo and look at Coul Links.


Cheers,
Ian

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on August 23, 2017, 06:00:09 PM

Ian,


firstly, it depends what is meant by so called world class. Also, there is a vast area out there in the area where the Struie course is. Thirdly, if you were to confine the area to the present footprint of the Struie then you might struggle to build a 7000+ yard course but does golf really need yet another one of these. Finally, if I were in charge of such a project and the GCA came back to me saying they could not build a great course on the land where the Struie is my conclusion would be either the remit is terribly flawed or  the GCA was the wrong person for the job.


I will repeat that I think that Coul Links, if it is built will be a very positive addition to the area but I just hope that Mr. Coore builds something that uses the natural feature of the land. It would be good if one of the planning restrictions was that there could be no alteration of the through the green areas and no use of  earth moving machinery in these areas.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on August 24, 2017, 11:06:28 AM

Ian,


firstly, it depends what is meant by so called world class. Also, there is a vast area out there in the area where the Struie course is. Thirdly, if you were to confine the area to the present footprint of the Struie then you might struggle to build a 7000+ yard course but does golf really need yet another one of these. Finally, if I were in charge of such a project and the GCA came back to me saying they could not build a great course on the land where the Struie is my conclusion would be either the remit is terribly flawed or  the GCA was the wrong person for the job.


I will repeat that I think that Coul Links, if it is built will be a very positive addition to the area but I just hope that Mr. Coore builds something that uses the natural feature of the land. It would be good if one of the planning restrictions was that there could be no alteration of the through the green areas and no use of  earth moving machinery in these areas.


Jon


Jon


I'm generally in agreement with you that the upgrading of the Struie should be the primary strategic objective of RDGC, but the powers that be disagree, and have so for the past 15 years that I have posited this.  Sigh....


As for Coull Links, I don't think that a "great" course could be built there without the assistance of some heavy equipment.  A very quirky one could maybe be created with hand mowers, maybe--Old Ballyliffin 25 years ago comes to mind--but that's not what the posh punters would want to pay and play.


IMHO


Rich
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on August 24, 2017, 12:00:04 PM

Ian,


firstly, it depends what is meant by so called world class. Also, there is a vast area out there in the area where the Struie course is. Thirdly, if you were to confine the area to the present footprint of the Struie then you might struggle to build a 7000+ yard course but does golf really need yet another one of these. Finally, if I were in charge of such a project and the GCA came back to me saying they could not build a great course on the land where the Struie is my conclusion would be either the remit is terribly flawed or  the GCA was the wrong person for the job.


I will repeat that I think that Coul Links, if it is built will be a very positive addition to the area but I just hope that Mr. Coore builds something that uses the natural feature of the land. It would be good if one of the planning restrictions was that there could be no alteration of the through the green areas and no use of  earth moving machinery in these areas.


Jon


Jon


I'm generally in agreement with you that the upgrading of the Struie should be the primary strategic objective of RDGC, but the powers that be disagree, and have so for the past 15 years that I have posited this.  Sigh....


As for Coull Links, I don't think that a "great" course could be built there without the assistance of some heavy equipment.  A very quirky one could maybe be created with hand mowers, maybe--Old Ballyliffin 25 years ago comes to mind--but that's not what the posh punters would want to pay and play.


IMHO


Rich


Jon and Rich are getting to the basis of the questions I was asking. Building on links land in GB&I is a true test of minimalism.... I'm not saying that true minimalism is always the best answer, just that there is a world of difference between most of Eddie Hackett's projects versus most of Gil Hanse's projects.


I'd like to see the expertise a Gil Hanse (in this case C&C) using some of the methodologies of an Eddie Hackett. In other words, do the work as if the budget is miniscule.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 24, 2017, 02:11:24 PM
Man and mower at Ballyliffin Old, as mentioned by Rich, and separately Eddie Hackett's approach, as mentioned by Ally, were thoughts that entered my mind as well.


Or alternatively......how about.......


(http://golfclubatlas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/rma.jpg)
(http://golfclubatlas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/WP_20160407_11_51_55_Pro.jpg)


Go on Bill and Ben. It's only sand. I dare you!


atb

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on August 25, 2017, 02:58:28 AM

Rich,


what I suspect we might end up with at Coul Links is the design being imposed onto the landscape rather than the other way round. I disagree with you on a golf course that uses the natural landform as not being able to attract the posh punter as it is image that attracts the punter. Image is something you can create out of thin air through marketing and convince punters they really want it.


I would hope that in this case the developer will be innovative and create something new and not another corporate golf facility.


Ally,


I agree 100%. but does Mr. Coore have the ability or vision to do this or will we end up with another frilly bunker course?


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ken Moum on August 26, 2017, 05:25:59 AM
Thank you, gentlemen. The last few posts, especially Rich's are getting to the point of what I was trying to say.


Although I didn't get down into the middle on foot, I did get a decent look at a lot of the area from the disused railway and I stand by what I said initially. It doesn't look like the great links courses I've been on.  I said what Rich said, a fairly liberal use of heavy equipment would (could?) produce a great course.


But here's what's funny. I was prepared to come on here this morning and mostly retract my comments... because I played Brora yesterday. I've long said it's my favorite course in Scotland and standing on the first tee I remembered why.


To be honest, Coul does look a little bit like the links at Brora. It hasn't got the large flat-ish areas for fairways that Dornoch, St. Andrews, the Ayrshire coast, East Lothian, etc. have. The second of Scott's photos is what I was talking about.


Even Prestwick isn't one hump or bump after another.


Jon W. HAS walked the links and says he sees a golf course in the mold of Machrihanish Dunes (IIRC) but is that the "world class" course that everyone is talking about? And would that be what the guys in Tour buses coming from Castle Stuart, RDC, Nairn, Royal Troon, Turnberry, Muirfield and TOC be looking for"


I LOVE, LOVE, Brora. But it's got a lot of blind shots, despite what they've done to it to make it a lar 71, it's still a really good par 69.  And you know they felt the "had" to do that to attract more tourist money.


Proof of it was the couple that played behind us yesterday who are Canadian members of Troon Golf Club in Arizona.  They've played Royal Troon, Prestwick (which she didn't like), Western Gailes and Royal Dornoch. Played Brora on someone's (a caddy maybe) recommendation. Playing Castle Stuart today.


To be fair, though, they like "real" links golf and are headed south to play Crail and Lundin.


K
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on August 26, 2017, 05:54:35 AM
So, if give permission to do so, why should it matter if heavy machinery is used to create what the archie believes to be a better course?  It seems to me that if the land shown in pix is to be used, it must be shaped for the intended purpose. 

Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ken Moum on August 26, 2017, 04:02:00 PM
So, if give permission to do so, why should it matter if heavy machinery is used to create what the archie believes to be a better course?  It seems to me that if the land shown in pix is to be used, it must be shaped for the intended purpose. 

Ciao


Because it's been suggested that this team won't do that....



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on August 26, 2017, 05:10:55 PM

Ken,


Brora has two problems. One is it is too far north for easy access and secondly it does not have enough publicity exposure.


I have a question for you. Do you really believe that they should create another 'same old same old' course at Coul Links?


I would like to see the developer have the courage to do something innovative like at Bandon which was pilloried at the beginning for been the wrong concept in the wrong location.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ken Moum on August 27, 2017, 04:29:15 PM

Ken,


Brora has two problems. One is it is too far north for easy access and secondly it does not have enough publicity exposure.


Well, they can't move it, but it's only 17 miles from Royal Dornoch, so that seems like a pretty small obstacle. Exposure is another matter, unless someone writes "A Season in Brora," and then it would take time for the people who aren't currently going there to find out about the book.  (Hopefully I'll be done traveling before it does.)


I have a question for you. Do you really believe that they should create another 'same old same old' course at Coul Links?


I suppose the fact that I was one of the first posters on this thread and I selfishly said I hoped it never got built answers that question.  But if I had an actual voice I'd be less concerned about that happening than I would be about the possibility of building another Kingsbarns or Castle Course.

I my mind the most special thing about playing golf here is how utterly un-American the experience is. (FWIW, I'm currently in a B&B across A9 from Skelbo Forest)

On your urging, we played Wick today, and it is the epitome of what I'm talking about.  Despite there being staff in the bar, and collection of members around, we ended up putting our cash in an envelope that we stuffed in the honesty box.  The trolleys they had were a ridiculous collection of what appeared to be cast-offs from the members. And tee times? Well, who needs them?

And as I expected when we finished a little after 5 p.m. the clubhouse was dark.

The other end of "Scottish" golf is at the courses with tee sheets full of visitors. Where there's someone to greet you, a goody bag of stuff, etc., etc.  And as some here have said, that's all fine.  But I just can't see the need, and I sure as hell don't want to have to pay for it.

I would like to see the developer have the courage to do something innovative like at Bandon which was pilloried at the beginning for been the wrong concept in the wrong location.

Jon


I don't recall the negative reaction, probably because I wasn't paying attention. But I do recall what it cost to play there in the early years.  And I'm not going begrudge them for charging what the traffic will bear but it makes me a little sad that using price as a way to limit demand also means most of my friends will never be able to afford places like that.

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on August 27, 2017, 05:28:30 PM
Ken,


There is no question that a project of this magnitude will attract criticism and skepticism. It's only natural.
But there are two factors here that can perhaps be objectively debated: the GCA for Coul and the developer.


C/C's body of work speaks for itself globally. The most recent (public access) courses to look at: Sand Valley, Cabot Cliffs, Streamsong, Barnbougle/Lost Farm,  Pinehurst #2 restoration.


Fair to say that Coul may follow similar styles but I would guess that Bill Coore knows that it will be judged closely given its location. I would also guess that, unlike some of these other new links courses, Coul may offer: local and overseas memberships, discounted rates for locals, very low off-season rates, and a laid back understated feel that is a hallmark (no pun intended) of all Keiser projects.


Cheers,
Ian
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on August 27, 2017, 06:38:04 PM
So, if give permission to do so, why should it matter if heavy machinery is used to create what the archie believes to be a better course?  It seems to me that if the land shown in pix is to be used, it must be shaped for the intended purpose. 

Ciao


Because it's been suggested that this team won't do that....

Sorry, I didn't realize that C&C don't intend to push some sand about. 

Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Howard Riefs on September 27, 2017, 09:11:48 AM
Coore optimistic for building approval in Scotland
http://www.golfchannel.com/video/coore-optimistic-building-approval-scotland/

And accompanying article
http://www.golfadvisor.com/articles/scotland-coul-links-keiser-coore-crenshaw-16561.htm




(fixed links...)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on September 27, 2017, 09:55:04 AM
Update on Coul Links with phone interview of Bill Coore by Matt Ginella.


http://www.golfadvisor.com/articles/scotland-coul-links-keiser-coore-crenshaw-16561.htm#slide-article-67965 (http://www.golfadvisor.com/articles/scotland-coul-links-keiser-coore-crenshaw-16561.htm#slide-article-67965)


Bill Coore is cautiously optimistic and calls the Coul Links site, in context of all of C&C's 31 year history, "None more special than this one."


Oops....just saw Howard's post above. But I think his links may be broken.

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on September 28, 2017, 11:47:33 AM
The development team of the Coul Links project today has issued a 4-page press release (in PDF format) describing the project and their plans in some detail. Perhaps the best news it contains is the announcement that Chris Haspell has joined the team as the project manager. Chris has been the head greenskeeper at Castle Stuart since it opened and was a key figure in the building & development of the course. 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on September 28, 2017, 01:16:12 PM
Coul/Embo, somewhere for a look-see Buda 2018 time.....right to roam?
atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on September 28, 2017, 01:46:17 PM
"Coul/Embo, somewhere for a look-see Buda 2018 time.....right to roam?"

Thomas D. -

If you read Ken Moum's recent posts on this thread, you will see that many of the locals do indeed roam across portions of the Coul Farm property. If you drive into "downtown Embo" and park at Grannie's Heilan Hame, you should be able to walk north on the beach on to the property.

http://www.parkdeanholidays.co.uk/scotland-holidays/grannies-heilan-hame/grannies-heilan-hame-holiday-park.htm

DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Steve Salmen on September 28, 2017, 02:35:13 PM
David,


With respect to the caravan park, where would the south end of the golf course be located?


Steve
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on September 28, 2017, 02:41:42 PM
Steve -

There is a link to a map of the proposed routing of the course (and the whole property) back a couple of pages. To save you the trouble of finding it, here it is again. ;)

http://www.coullinks.com/traffic.html

DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Steve Salmen on September 28, 2017, 03:39:17 PM
Thank you, David
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Brian_Ewen on September 29, 2017, 04:06:49 AM
https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1332364/but-not-all-are-in-favour-of-the-development/


Coul Links: Why not all are in favour of the development
by JAMIE MCKENZIESeptember 29, 2017


(https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/09/Todd-Warnock-e1506622195820-492x372.jpg)


In the past two years, many have protested against the idea of building of a new golf course at Coul Links.


Four conservation charities – Scottish Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Buglife and Plantlife – held public meetings in Dornoch earlier this year to highlight the ecological importance of the coastal habitat for wildlife at the Coul Links SSSI.


And not all local residents are in favour of the development, which has drawn petitions both for and against.


Not Coul campaign group member, John Duhigg, lives in Skelbo and overlooks the proposed site for the golf course.


In a letter yesterday to The Press and Journal, he stressed the area does not need another golf course as there are six existing on the 20 miles of coast from Brora to Tain, adding that economic activity in the area is beginning to increase due to other contributors such as the NC 500, hiking and cycling.


And Mr Duhigg said the site is one one of the – if not thee – most protected pieces of dune environment in the whole of Scotland, if not Europe and the world.


He added: “Why should this change just because a development group presents a plan and development money?”


He also queried the economic benefits the development would bring and whether a “part-time, high end American style links development” would draw more people to the area when Royal Dornoch is there already.



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on September 29, 2017, 04:49:22 AM

Mmmmm,


I am all for protecting SSSIs and I would hope that SNH & SEPA will ensure that the project does not damage or degrade the status of this site. However the statement from Mr. John Duhigg claiming that the Coul Links is 'most protected pieces of dune environment in the whole of Scotland, if not Europe and the world' smacks of over egging the case and does little to further the argument against.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on September 29, 2017, 05:11:34 AM

Mmmmm,


I am all for protecting SSSIs and I would hope that SNH & SEPA will ensure that the project does not damage or degrade the status of this site. However the statement from Mr. John Duhigg claiming that the Coul Links is 'most protected pieces of dune environment in the whole of Scotland, if not Europe and the world' smacks of over egging the case and does little to further the argument against.


Jon


Spot on. I'd have thought if you were against this development the best thing to do would be to highlight some of the laughable claims made by the developer and in doing so avoid entering into any hyperbole of your own.


From the developers perspective I'd have thought leading on the ecological benefits, if any, might be a better tack than playing simply to your potential customer base ie. US travelling golfers, unless of course you think that you already have planning in the bag. Unfortunately this current government have form for ignoring any planning issues and simply going with the famous name/money as the granting of planning to Trump at Balmedie or Judy Murray near Stirling shows.


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on September 29, 2017, 11:53:04 AM
Article in today's Northern Times:

http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Developers-put-in-for-planning-permission-for-Coul-Links-Golf-Course-28092017.htm (http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Developers-put-in-for-planning-permission-for-Coul-Links-Golf-Course-28092017.htm)

Here is the official press release:

https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21AAYYKdDBZ%5FJOrOo&cid=5856C87CE4A4DADF&id=5856C87CE4A4DADF%21758&parId=5856C87CE4A4DADF%21150&o=OneUp
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on October 03, 2017, 03:10:04 PM
Move from Joe Passov:

http://www.golf.com/courses-travel/2017/10/03/next-great-scottish-golf-course-coul-links-inching-closer-reality?xid=nl_news&utm_source=golf.com&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=forecast&utm_content=2017100302PM
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on October 03, 2017, 03:31:04 PM
Move from Joe Passov:

http://www.golf.com/courses-travel/2017/10/03/next-great-scottish-golf-course-coul-links-inching-closer-reality?xid=nl_news&utm_source=golf.com&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=forecast&utm_content=2017100302PM (http://www.golf.com/courses-travel/2017/10/03/next-great-scottish-golf-course-coul-links-inching-closer-reality?xid=nl_news&utm_source=golf.com&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=forecast&utm_content=2017100302PM)


Wow...nice photo credit "courtesy"...;-)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tom_Doak on October 03, 2017, 03:39:37 PM

Wow...nice photo credit "courtesy"...;-)


Did you give them the picture?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Bob Montle on October 03, 2017, 03:53:36 PM

Ken,


Brora has two problems. One is it is too far north for easy access .....
Jon

I'm not sure I understand.  On my last trip I spent several days in Inverness and Brora made for an easy day trip.

Or were you meaning the Inverness area being far north from Glasgow/Edinburgh?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ken Moum on October 03, 2017, 10:33:48 PM

Ken,


Brora has two problems. One is it is too far north for easy access .....
Jon

I'm not sure I understand.  On my last trip I spent several days in Inverness and Brora made for an easy day trip.

Or were you meaning the Inverness area being far north from Glasgow/Edinburgh?


For the guys that are playing the "checklist," Dornoch seems like the end of the earth.


I have talked to groups of Americans about going to Brora when they are in Dornoch,a couple of times.  The reaction I got one time sums it up, I think. The guy said, "North of Dornoch" I didn't think there was anything north of Dornoch."
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on October 04, 2017, 03:43:00 AM


Ken,


Brora has two problems. One is it is too far north for easy access .....
Jon

I'm not sure I understand.  On my last trip I spent several days in Inverness and Brora made for an easy day trip.

Or were you meaning the Inverness area being far north from Glasgow/Edinburgh?


Bob,


you might say both. I am always amazed that people on golfing holidays (mainly US visitors) are quite happy to do insane distances in a car dashing from one side of the land to the other notching up a long list of big names, paying stupidly high greenfees and yet will not go an extra 20 minutes to play a great course such as Brora (or Golspie, or Tain, or Fortrose, or Moray, or ........). Most are not like you or Ken who are interested in experiencing Scottish golf.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Dave McCollum on October 13, 2017, 11:32:02 AM
Jon--your last comment reminded me of a chat I had with a member in the Machrihanish clubhouse.  He asked me where I played.  I told him and said that I had put 1500 miles on my rental in the previous week.  He looked at me like I was completely mad.  I am still pleased with courses I chose and, yes, Brora was one.  The only Open rota course was TOC.  I live in the western US and we think it's normal to jump in a car and drive 500 miles.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on October 13, 2017, 12:00:50 PM
Should anyone be in the Dornoch area in the coming weeks, note that there will be a public meeting regarding the Coul Links project at the Dornoch Social Club on Sunday, October 22 and another one at the Embo Community Centre on Monday. October 23.

My understanding is Bill Coore will be speaking at both meetings.

From the Aberdeen Press & Journal of October 12:

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1339576/new-highland-golf-course-would-be-in-worlds-top-50-and-attract-thousands/ (https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1339576/new-highland-golf-course-would-be-in-worlds-top-50-and-attract-thousands/)

From The Herald of October 12:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15592298.Charities_step_up_campaign_against_golf_course_development/
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on October 23, 2017, 04:14:36 AM
Was at the info evening last night at Dornoch where the developer's made a very good presentation. Having seen the information and talked to several of the experts present I am more convinced than ever this project will be positive for the area.


There is another info evening tonight in Embo for those interested.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on October 25, 2017, 01:42:59 PM
Latest press release from the development group:

Strong Local Support for Coul Links
Public Meetings held in Dornoch and Embo
Developers Present Net Environmental Enhancement of SSSI
88% of Surveys Expressed Support, 8% Neutral and 4% Opposed


Coul Links developers held their 5th and 6th public meetings this week in Dornoch and Embo
and received exceptionally strong public support and feedback. Specifically, business entrepreneur
Todd Warnock, land owner Edward Abel Smith and Embo Trust, (Urras Euraboil) sponsored public
meetings to profile their recently filed Planning Application. Presentations were delivered by Mr.
Warnock outlining the economic benefits of the development as well as several important strategic
environmental initiatives which will improve the SSSI site. Dr. Peter Cosgrove summarized his
ecological assessment including a Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) report provided in the Planning
Application. The conclusion of the BNG report is the project would deliver “clear and substantive
biodiversity net gain across a number of habitats”.


The developers presented strong and compelling evidence the SSSI at Coul Links will be environmentally enhanced not degraded by the golf development. Mr. Warnock said “We believe the attendees were quite impressed with the scientific
assessment that the migrating and breeding bird populations would be strengthened by our
strategies. I think this data as well our commitment to a comprehensive Site Management Plan for
Coul Links in conjunction with SNH, gave the public confidence we take the subject of environmental
stewardship seriously”. World-renown golf architect Bill Coore spoke emotionally of his belief he and
partner Ben Crenshaw had never worked on a site as special as Coul Links. Coore said “the
opportunity for great golf at Coul Links is extreme and we are excited and frankly humbled by the

prospect of building a course in the home of golf.”

The response of the local communities was exceptionally positive. The developers asked
students from the Highlands & Islands Golf Management Program to welcome attendees of the
meetings and asked them to complete a short survey. On Sunday night October 22nd, an estimated
120 people attended the meet held at the Dornoch Social Club. Of the 87 attendees who completed
the survey, 74 were in favor of the golf development (85%), 6 were neutral and 7 were against (8%).
On Monday evening, October 23rd an estimated 100 people attended the meet held at the Embo

Community Centre. Of the 86 attendees who completed the survey, 79 were in favor of the golf
development (92%), 7 were neutral and 0 were against (0%). Todd Warnock, the co-developer said
“we were exceptionally honored our positive message resulted in such overwhelming support. Mike
Keiser and I have always said we only want to build a golf course at Coul Links with community
support and these results clearly demonstrate the community’s excitement for the project”.
The developers highlighted several environmental initiatives regarding invasive species
management, remediation of a felled tree plantation, expansion of the habitat adjacent to the SSSI
toward Embo as well as public access and education/information plans all of which will improve the
environmental integrity of the site. The developers noted the golf course will include 22.7 ha of
tees, fairways and greens of which 14.0 ha are within the SSSI, 8.7 are outside the SSSI. Further, the
developers have committed to remediate a 5.7 ha felled tree plantation inside the SSSI which is
environmentally compromised. They have also committed to expand the habitat adjacent to the
SSSI via the purchase, remediation and management of 14.3 ha near Embo which is currently the
source of significant invasive species migration onto the SSSI. The net result of these efforts is to
offset the 14.0 ha of golf course within the SSSI with 20.0 ha of environmentally improved habitat all
under the proposed Site Management Plan.

You can't blame the developers for putting a positive spin on things (or can you?). ;)

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1346852/coulnotcoul/
 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ben Stephens on October 27, 2017, 12:34:08 PM
Link to Planning Portal with all the drawings and associated documents


http://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=OX1OGYIHH0I00


The masterplan was drawn by STRI


Cheers
Ben
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on October 27, 2017, 01:04:46 PM
You can't blame the developers for putting a positive spin on things (or can you?). ;)




Now there's a challenge !!! 


DT


When you're issuing a press release about creating local jobs it might be an idea to use a local PR company or at least one that doesn't use American spellings and phrases  ;)


That aside, very pleased to see that they have majored on the argument about the environmental benefits of golf courses in terms of more varied habitats although I note the comment in the papers suggests that the developers expert got a hard time.
 
Incidentally, I note Todd Warnock suggesting that 33 courses have been built on SSSI land in this country (presumably he means Scotland ?). I'm very surprised at that number and can think of maybe a handful.


Perhaps what he means is that there are 33 courses situated on SSSI land which is an altogether different matter. It is one thing having a course on land that subsequently becomes designated as a SSSI and quite another to get permission and build a course on land that is already designated. Perhaps it's another claim to go along side the one about there being nowhere else in the country having 2 such quality links courses so close together  :o


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Howard Riefs on October 27, 2017, 01:34:37 PM
http://golfweek.com/2017/10/25/coul-links-could-add-some-sizzle-to-northern-scotlands-golf-landscape/ (http://golfweek.com/2017/10/25/coul-links-could-add-some-sizzle-to-northern-scotlands-golf-landscape/)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ben Stephens on October 28, 2017, 04:01:15 AM

Niall,


My home course Rutland Water is on a SSSI and was built 10-15 years ago


Cheers
Ben

You can't blame the developers for putting a positive spin on things (or can you?). ;)




Now there's a challenge !!! 


DT


When you're issuing a press release about creating local jobs it might be an idea to use a local PR company or at least one that doesn't use American spellings and phrases  ;)


That aside, very pleased to see that they have majored on the argument about the environmental benefits of golf courses in terms of more varied habitats although I note the comment in the papers suggests that the developers expert got a hard time.
 
Incidentally, I note Todd Warnock suggesting that 33 courses have been built on SSSI land in this country (presumably he means Scotland ?). I'm very surprised at that number and can think of maybe a handful.


Perhaps what he means is that there are 33 courses situated on SSSI land which is an altogether different matter. It is one thing having a course on land that subsequently becomes designated as a SSSI and quite another to get permission and build a course on land that is already designated. Perhaps it's another claim to go along side the one about there being nowhere else in the country having 2 such quality links courses so close together  :o


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on October 28, 2017, 10:51:23 AM
Ben

Interesting. Which part of Scotland is Rutland Water in ?  ;D

Off-hand I can think of the following;

Balmedie
St Andrews Bay
Mach Dunes

and then possiby

Askernish ?
Durness ?
Where then new holes at Renaissance SSSI ?

Quite a short list. I suppose you could add in courses on SSSI that had alterations perhaps ? I'm struggling to see how you'd get up to 30 plus but you never know. I'd be interested to see a list if anyone has one.

Niall
 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tom_Doak on October 28, 2017, 12:16:00 PM
Were the new holes at Renaissance SSSI ?



Partly.  The 9th hole and 10th tee were in the SSSI ground.  I believe the 10th fairway was out of it.  The 11th hole was definitely not in the SSSI. 


There did not seem to be a fundamental objection to work in the SSSI, as long as we avoided the critical areas flagged by Scottish Natural Heritage, which in our case were large communities of moss that prevented any fairways from being built in the dunes area.  Except for the 10th tee, everything we built on had been covered by buckthorn, an invasive which SNH insisted we remove ... so they couldn't really object to planting that area with fescue and using it for the golf.


Those mossy patches we were asked to avoid are quite common on links sites in the UK and Europe ... I have noticed them in the roughs of several famous courses since then, and you can bet some used to be in the fairways, too.  Avoiding them on a full 18-hole project would be very difficult, if everyone is being held to the same standard.  They're the primary reason the routing at Machrihanish Dunes is disjointed, I presume.


Interestingly, we discovered during the permitting process that a bit of the original 18 holes were built on SSSI land -- the boundary of the SSSI was not quite the same as the property line, but no one had noticed.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on October 28, 2017, 12:18:51 PM
Niall,


I don't know if it was a miss quote because at the Dornoch presentation Todd Warnock clearly said 30 plus Scottish courses in SSSI's not new builds. This I would imagine to be the case.


Jon



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Marty Bonnar on October 28, 2017, 05:36:49 PM
A tiny aside re removal of Sea Buckthorn.
Playing North Berwick a few weeks ago, I/we was/we’re amazed/delighted/surprised to see the massive amounts removed along the dune ridge at the tenth and eleventh holes. It’s really going to look phenomenal when it’s covered with only marram grass.
Well done, NB!


F.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Dave McCollum on October 29, 2017, 02:33:09 PM
As I recall (but am far too lazy to go back and look) that this thread started with some rather pious environmental arguments based upon some assessments by regulatory authorities.  I’m quite pleased the discussion has advanced to more what the locals want.  I personally don’t believe that golf courses mess up local wildlife as long as habitat is provided.  Our course seems to have much more diverse populations than the surrounding native areas.  I also believe it’s pretty rare that folks want to screw up their own back yards.  Farmers and ranchers want to make money, but they also want pass their land down to their children in good shape and that also means environmental sustainability.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ben Stephens on October 30, 2017, 04:11:21 AM

Hi Niall,


33 courses in a SSSI is quite a lot for a country if you mean Scotland


Rutland is outside Scotland and an independent county  ;D  and Rutland Water itself is only 40 years old having been a man made lake and a 'young' SSSI there were no issues achieving planning


Cheers
Ben


Ben

Interesting. Which part of Scotland is Rutland Water in ?  ;D

Off-hand I can think of the following;

Balmedie
St Andrews Bay
Mach Dunes

and then possiby

Askernish ?
Durness ?
Where then new holes at Renaissance SSSI ?

Quite a short list. I suppose you could add in courses on SSSI that had alterations perhaps ? I'm struggling to see how you'd get up to 30 plus but you never know. I'd be interested to see a list if anyone has one.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Galbraith on October 30, 2017, 05:10:30 AM
A tiny aside re removal of Sea Buckthorn.
Playing North Berwick a few weeks ago, I/we was/we’re amazed/delighted/surprised to see the massive amounts removed along the dune ridge at the tenth and eleventh holes. It’s really going to look phenomenal when it’s covered with only marram grass.
Well done, NB!


F.


I believe SNH were instrumental in demanding this happen as part of a wider conservation effort the clubs are undertaking to protect the dunes. There was also a lot of sea buckthorn removed behind the 13th green (Pit). As 'F." said, I think it will be a big improvement once the marram takes.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on November 04, 2017, 07:31:52 AM
Tom


Thanks for the comment on Renaissance and dealings with SNH.


Dave


"Pious environmental arguments". Really !!


Scotland has a fantastic natural environment however it is a very small country compared to the US and we don't have limitless expanses of SSSI sites to treat them without due regard. And while the locals appear to have got behind the scheme, have you considered that might be because the developers have acknowledged the "pious environmental arguments" as you call them and dealt with the concerns raised ?


Niall



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on November 05, 2017, 04:14:58 AM

Niall,


I would suggest the developers have addressed the environmental issues more than satisfactorily. The main objections seem to come from those who are objecting just because they are against any change. I think the development will be a win-win for the local community in terms of increased economical trade and jobs with better local facilities to boot. For the ecology with increased and managed SSSIs plus better research into what is actually there.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on November 07, 2017, 01:58:23 PM
The latest news:

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1354163/conservation-groups-lodge-joint-objection-to-coul-links-golf-course-plans/
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on November 07, 2017, 03:38:18 PM
David,

the conservationist were always going to object. However, having talked to some of them none of them were really able to put any facts behind the 'it will be bad for the site'. I would be surprised if the plans are not approved first time.

Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on November 07, 2017, 03:52:04 PM
The world is going mad.  Fortunately, when Coull Links becomes a juniper forest, we'll have local G&T's to drown our sorrows.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on November 07, 2017, 05:51:07 PM
Short piece on BBC Scotland tonight about the proposal.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Dave McCollum on November 08, 2017, 06:15:25 PM
Nial, I confess to have a biased view of environmental regulatory agencies, having once been fined over $400K for what essentially was a paperwork typo.  My negotiated settlement was much less, but still 5 figures.  My advice is to view the positions of these agencies with the same skepticism as one would the developers.  My view is that they don't make positive contributions to the environment.  They make and enforce rules, essentially a bureaucratic or political function.  Of course my experience is the USA, however its not hard to imagine the same is true across the pond.     
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on November 09, 2017, 10:43:54 AM
Dave
 
I’m not involved in the environmental industry and have only come across SNH in development situations such as this although none involving a golf course. While it can be frustrating, time consuming, and ultimately expensive to deal with depending on what they require you to do, there is no doubt that there is a need for an environmental authority in the planning process. I also believe they have the general public support beyond the usual tree-hugger activists.
 
Yes, you can come across arrogance and the occasional intransigent zealot within these organisations but generally they are OK to engage with. It certainly pays to work with them rather than ignoring or fighting against them. Getting them onside can pay dividends in getting public support. That said, the banging the table and the “do you know who I am ?” approach seems to work well with the current Scottish government if you are prepared to take your application all the way in appeal to the Scottish ministers (ref. Trump at Balmedie and Judy Murray at Dunblane).
 
I tend to think though in the long run it would be better for the image of the game and the environment if golf developers embraced the need to protect and enhance the environment which is what they seem to have done at Embo.
 
Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Dave McCollum on November 09, 2017, 02:47:01 PM
Seems reasonable to me.  My beef with the EPA is that I have to have the same permit for my fish ponds that Dow Chemical would have for a plant.  Same fine structure as well:  up to $19K a day.  The only EPA guys I've dealt with were all enforcement types.  Same with everyone I know.   
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Brian_Ewen on November 12, 2017, 10:36:15 AM
http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/15653122.Support_for_out_local_hero/



Support for out local hero

Letters


TO counter a one-sided view presented by some environmental agencies this week, here is the local view (“Conservation groups oppose new luxury golf project in Highlands”, The Herald, November 7). Todd Warnock has already demonstrated his commitment to Dornoch by saving our courthouse when it was abandoned by Scottish Court Services. He lives here and works with the community. There is no comparison with Donald Trump other than they are American.


If your readers care to study the substantial documentation submitted with planning application for Coul Links they will see that the environment will be better off if the development goes ahead. This is because a managed and funded scheme would be in place to protect the Site of Special Interest which there has not been to date. Where have the agencies been while birds have been shot for sport and invasive species have taken over the site?


The main endangered species in the Highlands is our young people, who for generations have had to move south in search of jobs. This project has the potential to reverse rural depopulation and transform the economic landscape to provide meaningful and well paid jobs for our children and grandchildren. The local community trust is so committed to this vision that it will financially invest in Coul Links and have a seat on the board if this project is given the go-ahead.


If the environmental agencies’ misinformed attacks on Coul Links result in the loss of the largest single investment in Sutherland ever, I hope they will come and explain to our young people why they wrecked their future.


Joan Bishop,

Whinhill, Dornoch.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on November 15, 2017, 02:22:26 PM
The debate continues:

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1356246/locals-attack-green-msps-golf-course-protests/
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on November 15, 2017, 02:35:39 PM
The debate continues:

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1356246/locals-attack-green-msps-golf-course-protests/ (https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1356246/locals-attack-green-msps-golf-course-protests/)


Indeed....from both sides:

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1357336/coul-links-objectors-exaggerating-impact-on-bird-life/

http://dpsmconsultants.com/coul-links-announces-planning-submission/ (http://dpsmconsultants.com/coul-links-announces-planning-submission/)



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on November 15, 2017, 04:35:37 PM

It is nice that John Finnie comes up here to spend some of his free time. It is just a shame he and his party show so little interest in the lives of the residents that he/they couldn't even be bothered to put up a candidate for in the general election this year. Seems to me he is more interested in protecting his holiday play ground than caring for the region and how it fares.



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on November 16, 2017, 01:30:25 PM
Has anyone actually spent time on the planning portal reading the planning application submissions ? Well worth a read, especially the Economic Case. Mind you it will be better once they have finished it !! It seems from comment from the wildlife and environmental interests that the environmental submissions made by the developer were also in something like draft form.


Incomplete and unfinished submissions, the hiring of Chris Haspell now rather than after planning, all suggests the developer is confident they have the planning in the bag perhaps ?


Niall


 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on November 25, 2017, 04:19:06 PM
Discouraging news here:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15683255.Golf_course_plan_suffers_new_blow/?ref=twtrec
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on November 25, 2017, 06:59:10 PM
The world continues to go mad.....
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on November 26, 2017, 07:43:02 PM
Yet another voice is heard from:

http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Confidence-in-Coul-Links-golf-project-prompts-Royal-Golf-expansion-plans-23112017.htm
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Robert Thompson on November 26, 2017, 08:08:40 PM
Worth noting that they said they couldn't "fully support" the project. That's not exactly the same as being completely opposed. I'm guessing this is the start of a negotiation.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 26, 2017, 08:30:57 PM
David -

with your link re the Royal Golf Hotel, it occurred to me that folks like you and Rich Goodale deserve a tip of the hat. If I've been reading your posts correctly, you both support the Coul Links project. And you support it for the benefits you believe it'll bring to the broader community/economy -- even though I assume it comes at a personal cost to both of you.

It seems like only yesterday that I read Lorne Rubenstein's A Season in Dornoch; and the picture he paints of his experiences aligns well with Rich's posts over the years about Dornoch in his earlier days, and even with your more (relatively) recent experiences.

And yet that's the very experience that seems to be slipping away by the day; one that, if Mr. Sutherland is right about Coul Links bringing significantly more golfers to the area and to your beloved golf course, will soon be mostly a pleasant memory of times past.

But despite knowing this -- as both of you surely do, obviously much better than I -- you support the cause of change & growth, because you believe the area/the people need it.

I deeply appreciate the game of golf, and I value wonderful golf courses (even if I can enjoy them only vicariously, or only from afar); and yet I'm also unsettled by the large-scale-elite-destination model of current golf course development -- no matter how good those courses are deemed to be/how highly they rank. Nonetheless, I do think your positions admirable; and so, for what it's worth coming from an outsider, a tip of the hat to you both.

Peter


       
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on November 26, 2017, 08:37:09 PM
Worth noting that they said they couldn't "fully support" the project. That's not exactly the same as being completely opposed. I'm guessing this is the start of a negotiation.

The main issue will be the officer recommendation for the Council.  To me it is very odd that a full application has been submitted prior to outline approval.  How has the principle of the proposed plan been agreed in principle?  Usually, when it gets to the full application stage is when the nitty gritty is worked out...or not., but at least the principle that a development of some sort can take place is agreed. 

Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on November 27, 2017, 04:28:39 AM

Sean,


the planners will often advise not to bother with OPP as it is just another process in an already clogged up system. Full planning permission (FPP) is the part where you might have to do some more detailed work on mitigation but often if you have done your homework correctly you will get FPP with conditions attached to address this.


OPP is used a lot by developers buying land and getting change of use without the expense of FPP.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on November 27, 2017, 04:47:31 AM

Sean,

OPP is used a lot by developers buying land and getting change of use without the expense of FPP.

Jon

Cha-ching...which begs the question...do the developers think this is a shoe-in project to warrant not dipping the toe?  Very strange imo to submit the application, follow up on the decision and then not resubmit.  In my experience, for anything potentially conroversial developers like to slip in the outline app to help guide the full app. I can only guess the developers feel they received enough info from the Council and consultees to think there aren't any major obstacles.  My guess is the application in some form will be approved should Keiser want to carry on.  As always, I am keen to read the officer recommendation.  I am often amazed at how much of a dark art that is the UK planning system.

As an aside...I am surprised by the 805 acres...is that a starting point whose number will be cut through negotiation?

Ciao 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on November 27, 2017, 10:36:16 AM
This article presents an interesting perspective that also challenges the "Not Coul" movement with stepping up and doing something about the mismanaged SSSI in the event the project is not approved. It also draws attention to the damage that has happened recently by allowing hunting and "quad bikes and SUVs" on the sensitive areas.


Plus, it seems that some of the "Not Coul" proponents were actually part of the team that saw Trump's project get approved.


"The poacher turned gamekeeper" as the article says...;-)



http://www.northern-times.co.uk/Opinion/Letters/Can-we-not-have-a-sensible-debate-about-Coul-Links-golf-23112017.htm



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on November 27, 2017, 11:41:26 AM
Wonderful stuff. Who are those "independent experts" referred to ? The ones being paid by the developer perhaps ?  ::)


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on November 27, 2017, 12:17:35 PM
Sean


You will likely be able to read online the planners recommendations in their report to Committee in due course, assuming the report doesn’t go up as a Confidential report. Different Councils have different attitudes with regards that with most going with the “open and transparent” approach so I suspect you will be able to read it online.


With regards the 805 acres, that presumably includes the land they propose to remediate or would be affected by the development and not just the land for the golf course itself. That would have been agreed between the planners in the local authority and the planning consultants acting for the developer.


As for the actual application, this would be treated as a major application and therefore I’m not sure there is such a thing as outline planning any more (could be wrong). With a major application, applicants are “encouraged” to undertake pre-application discussions with the Council that will involve input from the likes of SNH, SEPA etc. They will also have to undertake a public consultation which the developer has done, before actually submitting the application.


The Council may or may not give them a steer as to whether the application is likely to be successful but the idea is that the applicant is made aware of all the relevant policy, views of the statutory consultees such as SNH etc.


Whether or not they have been given the thumbs up by the Council I don’t know but I can guess. If I was betting man I’d put money on them getting their consent with conditions. I can’t imagine they would be hiring staff, and that those staff would agree to join, unless there was a pretty clear indication that it was going to happen. In any case, as I’ve said before, given how the Scottish Ministers bent over to allow the Trump and Judy Murray applications you’ve got to think they would be a shoe in at appeal.
 
Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on November 27, 2017, 12:24:51 PM


Sean,

OPP is used a lot by developers buying land and getting change of use without the expense of FPP.

Jon

Cha-ching...which begs the question...do the developers think this is a shoe-in project to warrant not dipping the toe?  Very strange imo to submit the application, follow up on the decision and then not resubmit.  In my experience, for anything potentially conroversial developers like to slip in the outline app to help guide the full app. I can only guess the developers feel they received enough info from the Council and consultees to think there aren't any major obstacles.  My guess is the application in some form will be approved should Keiser want to carry on.  As always, I am keen to read the officer recommendation.  I am often amazed at how much of a dark art that is the UK planning system.

As an aside...I am surprised by the 805 acres...is that a starting point whose number will be cut through negotiation?

Ciao


OPP is usually used for a speculative application which Coul Links certainly isn't hence FPP which is the most sensible option. I also do not believe there is any attempt being made to slip anything controversial past the planners. Generally if you are straight with the planners then they are straight with you up here in the Highlands. Also, up here we deal with the Scottish Planning System which is a bit different to south of the border (No UK planning system).
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on November 27, 2017, 10:17:25 PM
Pedro
.......Rich's posts over the years about Dornoch in his earlier days, and even with your more (relatively) recent experiences...... 


Fake News, Pedro!


I've physically and emotionally been connected to Dornoch for 40+ years, and know more than any other poster here regarding it's past, present and future.  You might be advised to read my book, "Experience Royal Dornoch", or at the very least my free IMO on this site.


All the best


Ricardo
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 27, 2017, 10:34:23 PM
Hi Rich -
I read your essay and knew of your (continuous) connection to Dornoch from back in the late 70s/early 80s; so I was referencing the  "earlier days" at the course, when it was less universally well-known and revered and less a destination for overseas golfers.  It is those days/those experiences that I mean are becoming a thing of the past. 
Peter

   
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on November 27, 2017, 10:46:37 PM
Nae problemo, Pedro


I just wanted to check my pulse to see if I was still alive!


BTW, Josie and I will be up in Dornoch with family and friends over Hogmanay.


Slainte


Ricardo
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: James Boon on November 28, 2017, 03:43:10 AM
A couple of brief points regarding the planning system (though the Scottish system is slightly different to down here in England) that may be relevant...

Firstly, developers will often be discouraged or indeed not able, to apply for Outline Planning Permission on sensitive sites. This is because the detail of how the development will impact on the sensitive and significant site (with my experience its historic buildings, but in this case its the SSSI etc) are such a key and material consideration.

Also, many of the reports produced to accompany an application such as this (in this case mainly the various ecological surveys and the impact on the SSSI) may be paid for by the developer, but the professional consultancy producing them does have their own professional integrity that means they will tell it how it is, not how the person paying the bills wants it to be. If I had a pound for every developer that complained about a report they had paid for not supporting their application I'd be a very wealthy man!  8)

Cheers,

James
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on November 28, 2017, 06:48:28 AM
James
 
You are quite right to stick up for professional integrity but I think we both know that rarely are things black and white and that different professionals can take a different view on certain issues. In that respect the clients who were disappointed in the advice perhaps should have been more astute in who they appointed or perhaps a bit more circumspect in what they asked them to do.
 
Either way, you couldn’t call them independent since their advice would have been framed by the instruction given to them by the client. 
 
Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on November 28, 2017, 09:12:01 AM
Hot off the presses:

http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Coul-Links-developers-welcome-SNH-objection-27112017.htm
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on November 28, 2017, 09:25:05 AM
Hot off the presses:

http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Coul-Links-developers-welcome-SNH-objection-27112017.htm (http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Coul-Links-developers-welcome-SNH-objection-27112017.htm)


And even hotter....;-)...:


http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-42143171




Have been amazed to read that supposed "nature groups" are all up in arms over the possible harm the course could inflict on native bird species. Yet these "concerned entities" somehow turn their backs every year as hunters descend on the property to legally blow the birds out of the sky.


I may have interpreted it incorrectly, but have also read that ALL of the environmentally concerned groups have been invited to walk the property and engage in a productive dialogue but have all declined.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on November 28, 2017, 12:38:17 PM
Ian
 
I appreciate you’re a stooge for the developer but perhaps you could give some thought before you spout such shite.
 
Unlike the US we don’t have a gun culture over here. Anyone wandering about discharging a loaded firearm in an area open and relatively accessible to the public is likely to get their collar felt fairly quickly, particularly if they don’t have the consent of the landowner.
 
Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: John Connolly on November 28, 2017, 01:17:54 PM
Ian
 
I appreciate you’re a stooge for the developer but perhaps you could give some thought before you spout such shite.
 
Unlike the US we don’t have a gun culture over here. Anyone wandering about discharging a loaded firearm in an area open and relatively accessible to the public is likely to get their collar felt fairly quickly, particularly if they don’t have the consent of the landowner.
 
Niall

Hey, Niall C.,

We Americans will let you know when we need you to further characterize an entire nation of people. What a stupid thing to spout off about - you sound like a stooge for ignoramuses everywhere.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on November 28, 2017, 01:34:21 PM
.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on November 28, 2017, 02:13:54 PM
Ian
 
I appreciate you’re a stooge for the developer but perhaps you could give some thought before you spout such shite.
 
Unlike the US we don’t have a gun culture over here. Anyone wandering about discharging a loaded firearm in an area open and relatively accessible to the public is likely to get their collar felt fairly quickly, particularly if they don’t have the consent of the landowner.
 
Niall


Niall -


So, what say you....is Embo resident Catrionna Grigg also a stooge for the developers?
With almost 90% local approval, she makes a case for why it matters to the LOCALs:


http://www.thenational.scot/news/15684904.Letters__A_new_links_course_will_benefit_the_local_community_in_Embo/



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on November 28, 2017, 02:48:48 PM

Ian, John,


I am not sure how it can be denied that the US has a gun culture or why you both have gotten so upset by it been mentioned.


Ian,


I do not think you are a stooge for the developer or that you have any connection professionally with the project. However, there are no hunters descending on the site but rather it is the landowner who has the right to shoot ducks through the winter which he does. What is so galling about the attitude some of the eco groups (though not NSH) is the fact that they have never shown any interest in the SSSI site here nor objected to it being slowly ruined by mismanagement nor have they ever offered any maintenance plan or money. The RSPB is basically a rich, political lobbying group who object to almost anything.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on November 28, 2017, 03:14:24 PM
Niall, old friend.


Ian is generally right and I am not a stooge for anybody, particularly Todd Warnock.


Rich
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: John Connolly on November 28, 2017, 03:25:38 PM

Ian, John,


I am not sure how it can be denied that the US has a gun culture or why you both have gotten so upset by it been mentioned.


Ian,


I do not think you are a stooge for the developer or that you have any connection professionally with the project. However, there are no hunters descending on the site but rather it is the landowner who has the right to shoot ducks through the winter which he does. What is so galling about the attitude some of the eco groups (though not NSH) is the fact that they have never shown any interest in the SSSI site here nor objected to it being slowly ruined by mismanagement nor have they ever offered any maintenance plan or money. The RSPB is basically a rich, political lobbying group who object to almost anything.


Jon

Jon,

This specific cultural characterization is not even the point. That anyone would cast such a generalization about the nature of a nation's people is at best dim-witted and at worst imbecilic. That's a fairly narrow window to work within.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on November 28, 2017, 03:35:43 PM

Ian, John,


I am not sure how it can be denied that the US has a gun culture or why you both have gotten so upset by it been mentioned.

Jon


Jon, "we" are not upset for when facts and context are presented accurately, they stand on their own.


Shooting birds in Embo and gun culture in the US are two asynchronous, disconnected pieces of info that were very poorly correlated by Niall - thus the analogy lacked any relevant context whatsoever. Do you see the difference?


Citing cultural cliches in a discussion is a piss-poor lazy substitute for real discourse and original thought.


It's like "us" saying that of course Niall does not want the golf course because all Scots are stubborn and cheap....;-)


Dr. John C. and I are thoroughly horrified by the gun culture in the US. But, then again, we are "Northern elites"....;-)
The US is a nation founded on insurrection and violence and....guess what....it started with Europeans.... ;D
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on November 28, 2017, 04:06:48 PM

Ian, John,


maybe it is one of the problems of the written word in that unlike spoken communications there is no tone to give context to comments. I certainly did not read Niall's post comment about 'gun culture' as been a general slur on all Americans nor a cliches. That you both seem to be so touchy on the point shows that you are anti guns and a credit to you both. I suspect that Ian's ill informed 'hunters descending' comment might be in the same vain.


Jon.



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on November 28, 2017, 04:24:58 PM

Ian, John,


maybe it is one of the problems of the written word in that unlike spoken communications there is no tone to give context to comments. I certainly did not read Niall's post comment about 'gun culture' as been a general slur on all Americans nor a cliches. That you both seem to be so touchy on the point shows that you are anti guns and a credit to you both. I suspect that Ian's ill informed 'hunters descending' comment might be in the same vain.


Jon.


Jon, it's my understanding that, once a year, hunters may venture on property at Coul Links and "trim the flock" with firearms. I read that (yesterday, in fact) and hence cited it. My use of context was also poor as I was using that as an analogy to show how environmentalists, who "cut and paste" their outrage to fit their own narratives without any active involvement in a solution, can reek of hypocrisy.


If "you" were so concerned about the birds, why aren't "you" showing up to protect them? Oh, that's right, "you" dont live there....;-)....you live in Glasgow or London....or Chicago...;-)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on November 28, 2017, 04:42:59 PM
"There is shooting of wild fowl in the key winter breeding period – why have RSPB and others allowed this to carry on for years?"

This is where I read it:


http://www.northern-times.co.uk/Opinion/Letters/Can-we-not-have-a-sensible-debate-about-Coul-Links-golf-23112017.htm (http://www.northern-times.co.uk/Opinion/Letters/Can-we-not-have-a-sensible-debate-about-Coul-Links-golf-23112017.htm)

It was in an article already posted for everyone to read.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: John Connolly on November 28, 2017, 05:04:41 PM

Ian, John,


maybe it is one of the problems of the written word in that unlike spoken communications there is no tone to give context to comments. I certainly did not read Niall's post comment about 'gun culture' as been a general slur on all Americans nor a cliches. That you both seem to be so touchy on the point shows that you are anti guns and a credit to you both. I suspect that Ian's ill informed 'hunters descending' comment might be in the same vain.


Jon.





Jon,

You not reading Niall's comment as a "general slur" speaks not to me being "touchy" but to your willingness to characterize it as you see fit. You have no clue whatsoever as to my position on guns and for you to bring it up again only reinforces that you've misrepresented my objection in the first place.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on November 28, 2017, 05:10:01 PM

Ian,


I as far I am aware from reading the various reports, planning permission documents and talking with a few of the locals there are no hunters 'venturing' on the property but rather it is the landowner himself using his right to hunt. The reason the RSPB and others are doing nothing about it is because they have no right to do so.


'If "you" were so concerned about the birds, why aren't "you" showing up to protect them? Oh, that's right, "you" dont live there....;-)....you live in Glasgow or London....or Chicago...;-)'

Not sure what you mean by the above quote. Probably to dim :P


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on November 28, 2017, 05:25:08 PM


Ian, John,


maybe it is one of the problems of the written word in that unlike spoken communications there is no tone to give context to comments. I certainly did not read Niall's post comment about 'gun culture' as been a general slur on all Americans nor a cliches. That you both seem to be so touchy on the point shows that you are anti guns and a credit to you both. I suspect that Ian's ill informed 'hunters descending' comment might be in the same vain.


Jon.





Jon,

You not reading Niall's comment as a "general slur" speaks not to me being "touchy" but to your willingness to characterize it as you see fit. You have no clue whatsoever as to my position on guns and for you to bring it up again only reinforces that you've misrepresented my objection in the first place.


John,


firstly, I was neither representing or MISrepresenting your objections but just saying how I saw what Niall had read. I based my comment of your position on guns on Ian's comment 'Dr. John C. and I are thoroughly horrified by the gun culture in the US' but maybe I misunderstood that too?


I hope you find comfort in your certainty.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Marty Bonnar on November 28, 2017, 06:56:36 PM
Just to help clarify for everybody. That letter in the NT contains at least some "fake news".
For example, Winter is most assuredly NOT "the key breeding season" for Scottish waterfowl.
That is either a typo, a lie or a mistake.
In fact, wildfowling takes place all over this country throughout the winter (roughly September to January). The close season to allow breeding covers those months when birds are able to rear young - i.e., mostly the spring and summer.
Cheers,
F.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on November 29, 2017, 01:39:16 PM
John C.
 
No attempt to characterize an entire nation of people on my part. What I said was that the US had a gun culture which seems to me to be a pretty self-evident fact judging from your constitutional right to bear arms, the routine arming of your law enforcement, the general level of gun crime, as well as that of gun ownership and of course the prevalence of gun use in US popular culture as evidenced by your TV and films. Admittedly my viewpoint might be coloured by the fact that on one of my few visits to the States I was held up at gunpoint.
 
However the fact that you and Ian are against gun use in some shape or form, which is what you both seem to be saying, while commendable (IMO) is neither here nor there in terms of whether there is a gun culture in the US. That appears pretty self-evident as I said.
 
However I suspect the real reason my post has caused such a reaction from most and in particular Ian is my reference to him being a stooge for the developer. While my language could have been more temperate there are times when you are just as well calling a spade a spade.
 
Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on November 29, 2017, 02:05:34 PM
Niall, old friend.


Ian is generally right and I am not a stooge for anybody, particularly Todd Warnock.


Rich


Rich


I never thought you were. I greatly value your opinion and insights even if at times I don't agree with you. They are always well reasoned and worth listening to.


All the best


Niall



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on November 29, 2017, 02:27:45 PM

Fellow GCAers - yes, I do know the developers personally yet I have ZERO involvement in the project. In a private email exchange with Niall, I told him that several weeks ago after he publicly asked me. He continued to ask me questions over private emails and I politely indulged him.

I asked for his confidence and discretion which he gave readily. For that courtesy, in Niall's mind, I am now a "stooge".

Others, please use your own caution. A "PM" with Niall should be accompanied by a signed Non-Disclosure Agreement.



Ian


I can't recall asking you on this forum whether you had a personal interest in the development but happy to accept I did. I strongly suspect however it was you who contacted me off-line and continued to do so. Certainly it was you who initiated the recent emails and I merely responded to some of them. I recall you wanted to keep the content of the exchange private and I believe that is what I've done unless you can show me otherwise ? I'm not sure I've even referenced our offline exchanges but perhaps again you could advise.


In my time on GCA there has been a number of personal feuds between others which have been unseemly and I suspect most could readily do without them. I really am not interested in ending up in one of those situations. However in expressing my opinion you have taken offence and while I can see why I really don't feel I want to or need to withdraw or apologise for that remark. What I will undertake to do is not add to it.


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on November 29, 2017, 02:32:15 PM

Lastly:

I called you a piece of shite it is true and I am sorry for it.

Punctuate it yourself....;-)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Simon Holt on November 29, 2017, 03:30:04 PM
Its good to have your inside scoop, much as it is Niall's knowledge on the planning governance in Scotland given his background.  I'm guessing I'm not the only one who wants the he said/she said to stay offline. 














Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on November 29, 2017, 03:37:03 PM
.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: John Connolly on November 30, 2017, 07:59:27 PM
While my language could have been more temperate there are times when you are just as well calling a spade a spade.
 

Couldn't agree with you more.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on December 01, 2017, 04:59:58 PM
The battle rages on. I was half expecting this gca.com thread to be cited when I read the headline for this article. ;)

http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Battle-to-prevent-Coul-Links-golf-course-development-going-ahead-goes-viral-30112017.htm
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on December 01, 2017, 05:21:15 PM
An interesting scenario was put forward during a recent general golf discussion which involved amongst other things talking about this project. I don’t know the answer. Anyone posting herein care to put forward their thoughts? Scottish regulations remember.


What would happen, indeed would anything happen at all, if the current owner just went around his/her land with a club hitting a few balls? Nothing? Something....if so what?
And then after a while he invites a couple of mates to join him...it’s his land.
And a while later a few more mates join in.
And after a while, maybe quite a while, a precedent is established....
And then.......
I’m sure you get the drift :)
Just curious.
Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on December 03, 2017, 08:06:58 AM
Dai


I think basically what you are asking relates to the planning situation. At some point they would need to get panning permission for development or change of use depending on how intensively they played golf, or more to the point sought to change the landscape. I'm no expert but there is a limit to the amount of much shifted when you need to get planning permission. Likewise doing anything that effects the SSSI.




Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on December 03, 2017, 12:18:37 PM

At some point they would need to get panning permission for development

Niall


If you are concerned about "panning" permission, you need to visit Helmsdale and their golden burns  I think Chuckie Windsor has financial interests there.  There is also a 9-hole golf course that spawned one of the greatest amateur players in the north of Scotlandi in the past 40+ years, Stuart Shaw,

Rich

Rich
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on December 03, 2017, 04:04:23 PM
Dai


I think basically what you are asking relates to the planning situation. At some point they would need to get panning permission for development or change of use depending on how intensively they played golf, or more to the point sought to change the landscape. I'm no expert but there is a limit to the amount of much shifted when you need to get planning permission. Likewise doing anything that effects the SSSI.




Niall


In general, an SSSI (British designation) is easier to get round than an SAC (European designation).


The British never did follow the European guidelines on this. Another amazing reason why The UK is leaving Europe. They've always ignored the things they didn't like anyway.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 04, 2017, 03:44:33 AM



The British never did follow the European guidelines on this. Another amazing reason why The UK is leaving Europe. They've always ignored the things they didn't like anyway.


Like every other country in the EU and the EU itself or there would be no Eurozone Ally not even the Germans met all the prerequisites  ::)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on December 04, 2017, 07:59:28 AM

At some point they would need to get panning permission for development

Niall


If you are concerned about "panning" permission, you need to visit Helmsdale and their golden burns  I think Chuckie Windsor has financial interests there.  There is also a 9-hole golf course that spawned one of the greatest amateur players in the north of Scotlandi in the past 40+ years, Stuart Shaw,

Rich

Rich


Me and my fat fingers !


Re Helmsdale - I did a drive by a couple of years ago but didn't play as it looked a bit of a field to be honest. Did I miss much ?


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 04, 2017, 04:39:30 PM

Niall,


Helmsdale is what it says on the tin namely a small nine holer in small coastal village. It is not going to set the golf world on fire but then again the greenfee reflects this and I would recommend playing it if you have the time to spare. Courses like Helmsdale will be far more grateful for your greenfee money and almost certainly spend it more wisely than many of the bigger clubs.


James Boon did a short course tour on the linked thread though it appears the photos are no longer showing. Just scroll up a few posts and maybe they will be showing for you.


http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,58483.msg1375768.html#msg1375768 (http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,58483.msg1375768.html#msg1375768)


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Howard Riefs on December 05, 2017, 11:34:08 AM
Coul Links was covered on Golf Channel's 'Morning Drive' today...


http://www.golfchannel.com/video/design-week-news-royal-dornoch-and-coul-links/ (http://www.golfchannel.com/video/design-week-news-royal-dornoch-and-coul-links/)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Andrew Simpson on December 07, 2017, 07:07:41 PM
Pedro
.......Rich's posts over the years about Dornoch in his earlier days, and even with your more (relatively) recent experiences...... 


Fake News, Pedro!


I've physically and emotionally been connected to Dornoch for 40+ years, and know more than any other poster here regarding it's past, present and future.  You might be advised to read my book, "Experience Royal Dornoch", or at the very least my free IMO on this site.


All the best


Ricardo
Will that be the opinion from within the Dornoch cocoon about RD and not it's standing within the rest of the North East golf community.
 I don't think that's changed a lot in the last 40 years either :-)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on December 07, 2017, 07:36:20 PM
My observation, Andrew is that RD is not well looked upon by the rest of the NE golfing fraternity, for various reasons.  When I started spending serious time in the area in the early 1980's, the best golfers of Brora, Golspie and Tain played the in the big competitions (Carnegie Shield, Sinclair Cup, etc.) and vice versa.  In the last 10-20 years this camaraderie seems to have disappeared.  Alas.  Any theories why?


Rich
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on December 08, 2017, 06:57:45 AM
Rich

As a matter of interest, how easy is it to get into the Carnegie Shield, Sinclair Cup etc ? The reason I ask that is I now that when I was at Moray, getting into Moray Open week took a bit of doing. Not making excuses for there non-participation but I know at Moray it was almost like dead mans shoes.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on December 08, 2017, 07:21:52 AM
Yo Niall


The Carnegie Shield is a lottery, unless you are a 3HCP or less.  The higher handicap group is 8-9HCP and above and more foregiving.  The Sinclar Cup used to be open to all, but it is now an elite event with SGU points for the leaders.  7-8 is possibly the cut off.  One of the best opens is the Burghfield Cup/  Teams of 3, best two of the three (net) wins the cup.   Each team needs at least one 12HCP and below and one 13HCP and above..  Cheap as chips with another Open (for the Hangover Trophy) on Sunday.  Only cup in the Clubhouse that has my name on it.  Do you know any 13+ bandits who are also good company?


In all cases, check into the RDGC website ASAP and be ready to put in an entry as soon as the gates open.


Slainte


Rich
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on December 08, 2017, 07:56:25 AM
Played in an Open at Dornoch about a zillion years ago....£10....persimmon and blades and balata. A Sunday and very quiet as I recall, mind that was perhaps because of the rain on the day.
atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jerry Kluger on December 10, 2017, 10:56:41 AM
I was just watching a replay of the Golf Channel on gca and apparently Arnold Palmer Design is starting on a second course at Castle Stuart in 2018 - does that affect anyone's opinion on the construction of Coul Links?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 10, 2017, 12:29:53 PM

Jerry,


I have not heard of that having any effect on the Coul Links project. Different planning areas for a start and different land type I would imagine.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on December 10, 2017, 12:37:39 PM
Is a Coul development likely to have any effect, either directly or indirectly, on Skibo/Carnegie or vice versa? Just wondering.
Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on December 10, 2017, 02:48:32 PM
Is a Coul development likely to have any effect, either directly or indirectly, on Skibo/Carnegie or vice versa? Just wondering.
Atb


I'm sure there will be some sort of financial linkage between Coull and Skibo in terms of reciprocal access, but not much more.


Slaingte
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Lou_Duran on December 10, 2017, 02:50:23 PM
One of the best opens is the Burghfield Cup/  Teams of 3, best two of the three (net) wins the cup.   Each team needs at least one 12HCP and below and one 13HCP and above..  Cheap as chips with another Open (for the Hangover Trophy) on Sunday.  Only cup in the Clubhouse that has my name on it.  Do you know any 13+ bandits who are also good company?

I can get there.  How much time do I need?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jerry Kluger on December 10, 2017, 04:48:07 PM
Lou: You definitely are a bandit. ;)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on December 10, 2017, 06:55:17 PM
Lou


Don't try to play your next 20 rounds left handed to get you up from 3 to 13 by May.  There are other strategies available.


Rich
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: James Boon on December 13, 2017, 04:45:24 PM
If I turn up to Buda in May and Lou is claiming a 13 handicap, I'll quit golf  ;D


Cheers,


James
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Brian_Ewen on December 15, 2017, 10:05:00 PM

[size=78%]https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/our-positions-and-casework/casework/cases/coul-links/[/size]
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adam Lawrence on December 16, 2017, 04:05:48 AM
http://www.golfpunkhq.com/news/article/coul-links-responds-to-rspb-statement (http://www.golfpunkhq.com/news/article/coul-links-responds-to-rspb-statement)


Here's the response from Coul to the RSPB
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 18, 2017, 04:29:37 AM
I am afraid the RSPB is more a political lobby group only interested in preventing any sort of development. I am unsurprised by the inaccuracies in their report. There is a reason they are disliked by most highland landowners.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on December 21, 2017, 12:35:37 PM
Fine Golf (Lorne Smith) is for it:

http://www.finegolf.co.uk/2017/12/15/coul-links-welcomed/
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: jeffwarne on December 21, 2017, 05:45:18 PM
I am afraid the RSPB is more a political lobby group only interested in preventing any sort of development. I am unsurprised by the inaccuracies in their report. There is a reason they are disliked by most highland landowners.


It would help if Trump hadn't bastardized the land and landowners around his course when he developed it.
Scotland certainly would be better off without that monstrosity/conduct and its understandable how those looking at Coul could be gun shy-especially if they haven't done their homework on Keiser and lump him into a bad American developer basket.





Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on December 21, 2017, 06:31:18 PM
Jeff W. -

Todd Warnock wrote a column published yesterday in The Scotsman that discusses exactly what you are talking about.

https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/todd-warnock-how-i-discovered-trump-is-fueling-anti-us-feeling-1-4642586 (https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/todd-warnock-how-i-discovered-trump-is-fueling-anti-us-feeling-1-4642586)

http://www.geoffshackelford.com/homepage/2017/12/19/coul-links-co-developer-how-i-discovered-trump-is-fueling-an.html

DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Marty Bonnar on December 21, 2017, 07:04:09 PM
I’m afraid I didn’t find Mr Warnock’s explication any more compelling than any previous material.
Scotland still has more than enough golf courses as it is.
Regards,
Mr M Bonnar.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 23, 2017, 03:33:42 PM
Jeff,


What is ironic is that one of the main opponents to the development at Coul Links was Trump's environmental expert at Aberdeen which he backed.


Marty,


Whether Scotland has enough golf courses or not is personal opinion and certainly no way to decide if the project should be given the green light or not. Coul Links is going to do a lot more for the area around Embo than just bring another golf course.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: jeffwarne on December 23, 2017, 07:52:57 PM
Jeff,


What is ironic is that one of the main opponents to the development at Coul Links was Trump's environmental expert at Aberdeen which he backed.





I'm guessing he's been paid by Trump on both counts
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on December 23, 2017, 08:47:25 PM
The battle lines are drawn:

http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Coul-row-hots-up-22122017.htm (http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Coul-row-hots-up-22122017.htm)

The funny thing is, a whole new dunesland/links ecosystem is building up on the north side of the Dornoch Firth (south of the Dornoch caravan park) with sand that I think is being washed down from the coastline up by Golspie. Who knows, maybe someone will want to build a course there in another 20 or 30 years (or maybe that land will be designated an SSSI). ;)   
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Daryl David on December 24, 2017, 12:09:58 PM
A question for David and others in the know. If Vegas had a line, what would be the odds for getting this project done?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: John Connolly on December 24, 2017, 12:39:10 PM
I’m afraid I didn’t find Mr Warnock’s explication any more compelling than any previous material.
Scotland still has more than enough golf courses as it is.
Regards,
Mr M Bonnar.

Hey, Marty, could please also tell us what the best color is? Thanks.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Marty Bonnar on December 24, 2017, 01:07:19 PM
I’m afraid I didn’t find Mr Warnock’s explication any more compelling than any previous material.
Scotland still has more than enough golf courses as it is.
Regards,
Mr M Bonnar.

Hey, Marty, could please also tell us what the best color is? Thanks.


No, but the correct spelling is coloUr. You’re welcome.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Joe Schackman on January 16, 2018, 01:07:49 PM
The Verge has their own piece on the potential environmental impact of Coul Links. And how that weighs against potential economic benefit.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/16/16892904/not-coul-links-scotland-golf-course-mike-keiser-conservation
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on January 16, 2018, 01:49:34 PM
Joe S. -

Thanks for the link.

DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on January 16, 2018, 02:03:51 PM
I've been lately curious to know what exactly a "fonseca fly" actually is...
Is it a gnat, a pest....is it a valuable part of the ecosystem?


This article is better than most in that it does actually raise the issue of protecting a fly as a priority over economic development.


So, I Googled "Fonseca" and, I must admit, I was surprised by what I found:


https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fonseca (https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fonseca)


Sounds like that is exactly what is going on here.... ;D ;)


 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on January 16, 2018, 02:26:30 PM

The Verge has their own piece on the potential environmental impact of Coul Links. And how that weighs against potential economic benefit.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/16/16892904/not-coul-links-scotland-golf-course-mike-keiser-conservation (https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/16/16892904/not-coul-links-scotland-golf-course-mike-keiser-conservation)


Just for clarity Tom Dargie as a paid environmental expert actually backed the Trump course. He is also the main man behind the 'notcoul' group. Also, have they not also found said rare fly up the coastline going north (Helmsdale, Wick, etc.)? An interesting piece but obvious where the bias lies.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on January 16, 2018, 04:40:24 PM

The Verge has their own piece on the potential environmental impact of Coul Links. And how that weighs against potential economic benefit.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/16/16892904/not-coul-links-scotland-golf-course-mike-keiser-conservation (https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/16/16892904/not-coul-links-scotland-golf-course-mike-keiser-conservation)


Just for clarity Tom Dargie as a paid environmental expert actually backed the Trump course. He is also the main man behind the 'notcoul' group. Also, have they not also found said rare fly up the coastline going north (Helmsdale, Wick, etc.)? An interesting piece but obvious where the bias lies.


Jon


For those interested in seeing the two viewpoints expressed online:


The detractors: www.notcoul.com


The proponents/rebuttal: https://www.coullinks.co.uk/not-coul-not-correct


And, for those who want to check for updates on the project in general, this site is helpful as it aggregates all publications and provides dates and links:


https://www.coullinksgolf.com/



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on January 16, 2018, 05:14:48 PM


The Verge has their own piece on the potential environmental impact of Coul Links. And how that weighs against potential economic benefit.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/16/16892904/not-coul-links-scotland-golf-course-mike-keiser-conservation (https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/16/16892904/not-coul-links-scotland-golf-course-mike-keiser-conservation)


Just for clarity Tom Dargie as a paid environmental expert actually backed the Trump course. He is also the main man behind the 'notcoul' group. Also, have they not also found said rare fly up the coastline going north (Helmsdale, Wick, etc.)? An interesting piece but obvious where the bias lies.


Jon


For those interested in seeing the two viewpoints expressed online:


The detractors: www.notcoul.com (http://www.notcoul.com)


The proponents/rebuttal: https://www.coullinks.co.uk/not-coul-not-correct (https://www.coullinks.co.uk/not-coul-not-correct)


And, for those who want to check for updates on the project in general, this site is helpful as it aggregates all publications and provides dates and links:


https://www.coullinksgolf.com/ (https://www.coullinksgolf.com/)


Ian,


it would be nice to read an article by a journalist who was not obviously pushing one side or the other. Whilst it is to be expected that developers will present things in a way that is favourable to their plans it is extremely sad that the opponents made up of supposed expert bodies and individuals put forward arguments that are so void of facts as to not stand up to even the most cursory of examination.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on January 16, 2018, 06:41:58 PM
Jon-


Amen...we are in agreement!!
Fair and balanced journalism is rare these days, especially here in the US.


My take from afar is that the coverage of this hot issue is extremely partisan.
It’s yet another “carpet-bagging” American (or other) ruining the environment vs. economic development and supposed progress. This has been playing out globally for years.


My view now is the same as it was when this thread started:


Let the locals decide. It’s their town, the land is owned locally, and the jobs will impact them the most.
If the locals value the fly over the potential jobs and revenues, then so be it.


Cheers,
Ian
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on January 16, 2018, 07:45:22 PM
To be fair to Mr. Dargie, he does claim in the most recent article that he advised against the Trump Aberdeen project, even though he was a paid consultant on the project.

"Dargie is no stranger to Scottish golf courses planned by American billionaires. He was employed by Trump to produce an ecology report on the dune-straddling course at Menie. He concluded that Trump’s course would adversely impact biodiversity in the area, but he thought that a portion of the habitat would also see a small net benefit. At a public inquiry, Trump announced that Dargie was “a big fan” (http://www.gov.scot/resource/doc/212607/0067709.pdf) of the project — a claim Dargie says he found “jaw-dropping.” “They knew from the outset, I told them, ‘I am against this development (https://www.scotsman.com/news/trump-ignored-own-expert-on-golf-plan-1-1173063), please do not develop in the dunes,’” he tells me."
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on January 17, 2018, 03:33:09 AM

Ian,


wouldn't it be nice :)


Just to be clear the vast majority of locals are in favour of the project going ahead and the vast majority of objectors are not local even to the Highlands many coming from outside of Scotland.

David,


that's exactly my point. Yes, Mr. Dargie was an environmental expert for Trump at Menie and yes he did object to the project once he was no longer part of it but his report was very much in favour of the Menie project going ahead so on paper he was more 'big fan' than 'against'. Balanced journalism would have picked up on this in my opinion. If Mr. Dargie was always against developing the dunes at Menie why did he produce a report backing their development?


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on January 17, 2018, 04:39:46 AM
Planning regulation largely over-rides opinion polls  8) I am assuming the presumtion in this case is against development, but not necessarily.  This application will come down to a heated planning committee meeting.  Much will depend on how well member supporters and detractors "network" and the mood of the room.  Of course...the officer reco will be important as well....assuming there is one.  I have seen applications which should never have earned approval get the OK based on the mood of the room and how well the officer (usually very matter of fact as it is no skin off their nose either way) and other public speakers present their case.  This is when the direct member can be hugely important.  Our Council, on occassion, has spoon fed the local member on his public presentation.... :o  There is also something to be said for appeal....there are many councils that do not wish to be caught in appeals because it costs money and man-hours.  All these cases are complicated, but often come down to the same ingredients....sometimes unseen and unwritten.   

Do they have officer recommendation for this kind of stuff in Scotland? 

Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on January 17, 2018, 07:58:23 AM

Sean,


though there is the planning officer's recommendation here in Scotland the planning process is different to that in England. Opinion polls do not affect the vote but LOCAL opinion does which is overwhelmingly in favour of the project. I would be surprised if it does not get permission.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on January 17, 2018, 08:37:48 AM
[quote author=Jon Wiggett link=topic=62771.msg1561307#msg1561307 date=1516177989

David,


that's exactly my point. Yes, Mr. Dargie was an environmental expert for Trump at Menie and yes he did object to the project once he was no longer part of it but his report was very much in favour of the Menie project going ahead so on paper he was more 'big fan' than 'against'. Balanced journalism would have picked up on this in my opinion. If Mr. Dargie was always against developing the dunes at Menie why did he produce a report backing their development?


Jon



Jon,


This is complete conjecture and nothing but a guess, but I would be not at all surprised if:


1. Mr. Dargie made a proposal to the Trump Org for...let’s say...25,000 pounds to produce an enviornmental report.
2. The report was used as ammunition to seek project approval.
3. The project was approved.
4. Mr. Dargie submitted an invoice.
5. Oh my God, he was ignored by Trump sons.
6. He resubmits invoice.
7. He is sent 5,000 pounds and told to piss off or he will be sued and that he should be thankful that he was allowed the opportunity to be associated with the project.


Either that or he is a shameless opportunist who now has such a guilty conscious over getting used by the Trumps that he is now seeing Coul through some new corrective lens....;-)...and he seeks to soothe his own bruised reputation.


How can someone really call themselves an environmentalist after putting his name behind Trump Aberdeen? Everyone who comes in contact with Trump is permanently stained. Mr. Dargie is trying desperately to wash that away at Coul.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on January 17, 2018, 08:39:02 AM
Oops
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on January 17, 2018, 09:04:20 AM
Sean
 
For smaller applications planning officers have delegated powers to decide them. Where it is technically a major application, and this is for several reasons, then it needs to be decided at Committee. I’m not sure whether the planning officer is required to give a recommendation in his report to Committee but then I’ve never heard of one who hasn’t.
 
That said you are right to say that this is more likely to be a political decision reflecting local councillors own interests rather than one based on policy. I would imagine the local Councillors, and they generally are the only ones that matter given their colleagues tend to defer to them on local matters, would have had their ears bent by the developers and various supporters and possibly some groups against the development and will have a view one way or the other going into the meeting.
 
My interpretation of the “facts” from afar are that the local Councillors are on board to approve the scheme, and while Scottish Ministers could then call it in, it’s probably a good bet that they are unlikely to do that given their track record at Balmedie and at Dunblane.
 
Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on January 17, 2018, 09:05:46 AM

Sean,


though there is the planning officer's recommendation here in Scotland the planning process is different to that in England. Opinion polls do not affect the vote but LOCAL opinion does which is overwhelmingly in favour of the project. I would be surprised if it does not get permission.


Jon
That's interesting that local opinion counts in Scotland in England it is purely about ticking boxes, if you tick them local opinion means absolutely zero. People that make comments normally go 'off the point and quote hearsay or nonfact', you really have to raise an objection that is going to conflict with a policy. I would say getting the parish council onside is worth it's weight in gold but that's England.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on January 17, 2018, 09:53:09 AM
Adrian
 
The vast majority of planning applications will be decided in line with policy. It is only the contentious and emotive applications that tend to go against policy. By that I mean applications like Trump at Balmedie and Judy Murray at Dunblane that I referenced earlier. And while I wouldn’t compare Donald Trump to Mike Keiser (or indeed Judy Murray) directly, they all basically are playing the same game in how they are going about getting planning permission which is give us consent or we’ll take our ball away.
 
Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on January 17, 2018, 10:21:13 AM
Adrian
 
The vast majority of planning applications will be decided in line with policy. It is only the contentious and emotive applications that tend to go against policy. By that I mean applications like Trump at Balmedie and Judy Murray at Dunblane that I referenced earlier. And while I wouldn’t compare Donald Trump to Mike Keiser (or indeed Judy Murray) directly, they all basically are playing the same game in how they are going about getting planning permission which is give us consent or we’ll take our ball away.
 
Niall
In fairness to those three, that approach is probably the only way to get things through if you are low on box ticking.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on January 17, 2018, 12:19:06 PM


Sean,


though there is the planning officer's recommendation here in Scotland the planning process is different to that in England. Opinion polls do not affect the vote but LOCAL opinion does which is overwhelmingly in favour of the project. I would be surprised if it does not get permission.


Jon
That's interesting that local opinion counts in Scotland in England it is purely about ticking boxes, if you tick them local opinion means absolutely zero. People that make comments normally go 'off the point and quote hearsay or nonfact', you really have to raise an objection that is going to conflict with a policy. I would say getting the parish council onside is worth it's weight in gold but that's England.


Adrian,


I am confused in that you say in England it is purely a box ticking exercise meaning local opinion is not important but then say getting the Parish Council onside is worth it's weight in gold ??? As Niall says most projects are decided by the planning officer's discretion including some golf ones but big projects are usually decided by committee where the planning officer gives an opinion. In the latter case any local councillor would be foolish not to take local opinion into account especially when it is overwhelming which it is in this case.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on January 17, 2018, 12:44:50 PM
Jon - Local opinion I thought your were meaning the locals could have their say. In England you have the right for any person to comment on a planning application. You can do that regardless of what country you live in, so our law is, if you live in New Zealand you can object to someone extending their house. Usually people mess it up and say things irrelevant, occasionally someone can highlight a breach of planning policy or find some genuine case law from appeals, which is exactly what a good planning consultant will do.


The steps in English planning law are that once an application is received it is made public and it goes out for consultation, perhaps to as many as 20 different bodies, one of whom is the parish council. The consultants are asked to give their opinion on the proposal and note the affect and a possible way of mitigation if any. The Parish council is important because they understand to some degree planning law and maybe case law and won't often object even if they don't like something if they think their objection cannot be sustained under a minister, sometimes they might just say 'No comment' often this means they are uneasy but know they are going to lose. Getting support from a Parish council for something more problematic and perhaps with 'unticked boxes' is what is worth it's weight in gold. 200 local people having a whine and moan is not worth much if the box is ticked.


Primarily though the most important aspect is to tick the box then they can't refuse and that is why so many more applications are dealt with by delegated powers and even some very big ones now.


I am quoting how it is in England though so, if you say it is different in Scotland I will believe you.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on January 17, 2018, 01:06:11 PM
The two planning systems are VERY similar.  Here is the thing...it is not as if "local opinion" is accurately polled or measured.  So far as I am concerned, when folks talk about strong local opinion it is hearsay.  Local opinion is "expressed" in local councils and during the Planning Meetings...hence my mood of the room comment.  It is unwise to assume the loudest folks represent the most people.  Usually, it will take something very emotive to go against officer recommendation...or if it is a grey area (a case such as this one) where officer recommendation is (will be) weighted by interpretation (which again...this is when a local authority member can really change the game).  Still, members normally want to support their officers...as many members are clueless and/or don't give a shit either way.

It has come to the point now where a lot of Councils request their local authority member to call in applications, even if it is one house!  This process essentially takes some power out of officer hands where decision-making becomes less predictable because members can be influenced by emotive issues.  It is incredibly important how assertive parish councils and local authority members are and how well they work together. 

I think this application will pass just because of what has already happened, but you never know  8)

Adrian

As the Clerk for our parish, it is very, very rare for the Council to back a planning application because I very, very rarely recommend the Council to do so.  Most of the time it is a no objections jobbie (try to stay neutral if possible) with a few issues hopefully considered for conditions of approval.  Because you are right, it can be very difficult for a parish council to come up reasons to object based on planning regulation.  Most of the time cllrs go off on emotive reasons or try to look for technical reasons...which rarely works because the local authority takes care of technical aspects.  My advice to them is represent themselves in replying to the consultation because that is not really where the Council should be coming from.  Of course, cllrs need to be careful because they are meant to attend meetings with an open mind to their decision-making.  So making public declarations prior to a council meeting is unwise to say the least  ;D

Once in a while our council digs in if it feels something is amiss and we will spend serious money to engage barristers because barrister opinion can stop local authorities in their tracks and get them to re-examine the issues at hand.  BUT...this approach takes a lot of work on the part of the Clerk and cllrs so it is fairly rare.  Nearly 20% of our precept is budgeted for legal fees (read money to fight planning applications)!  Things will change once the Neighbourhood Plan is approved...the parish council will have more power in planning and seek further power with plan reviews.  It will take time, but localism will become much more of a force. 

Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on January 17, 2018, 01:16:12 PM
Sean - No Objection is what we are looking for when we submit a planning application.


I have had applications with Parish support and one with a mitigation proposal to support which actually contradicted planning law. The officer took no opinion of the Parish council on that occasion.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on January 17, 2018, 01:59:43 PM

Adrian,


generally you will have talks with all the required bodies and get where possible their approval prior to putting in for planning. If you get this then the planning officer in the vast majority of cases will pass it without going to committee. Sean is correct about there being no official polls taken of local opinion but it is a stupid councillor who does not check out local opinion on big cases and most will not go against it if they want to be re-elected. Local groups and organisations are canvased for their input but this is not part of the official decision making. SEPA, SNH, Highland Council's diverse departments and neighbouring landowners.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on January 17, 2018, 05:34:43 PM
Sounds as if the Scottish system is either very different or your talking total shite.


The English system is pretty much about ticking the boxes. Comply you get planning permission if you don't it is a real problem.


The English system does not do polls of local opinion that I am aware of, if there are any I think they are bootleg. There is a portal to comment and it is available to all. A consultation period is allowed for local bodies to make their comments on the application, if they have problems that can't be mitigated they can object and their opinion if strong, in the overall decision process, they can easily reflect into a refusual and it can be ONE SINGLE THING. If it can be mitigated then suggestions can be conditioned into the decision notice.


A parish council is really just a consulting body. It's recommendation must still be sustainable against planning law or it is worthless though they are likely to influence the planning committee to call it in which results in a planning committee decision.  The applicant is weak against strong planning law and vice versa. It is almost always Applicant versus the PPGs in England.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on January 18, 2018, 03:48:41 AM

Adrian,


Of course the Scottish planning system is quite a bit different to the English one. Scotland has always had its own laws and this affects the planning system too. Different building regs and standards, different controlling bodies and different application processes. Less of a case of talking 's#~*e' and more a case of pig ignorance perhaps ;) .
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tim Gallant on January 18, 2018, 04:10:09 AM
Apologies if this has been covered before, but does anyone know when the decision is likely to come? I have heard middle of January / End of January. Any specific dates?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on January 19, 2018, 12:34:31 PM
The latest news:

https://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/controversial-highland-dunes-golf-course-moves-a-step-closer-1-4665258 (https://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/controversial-highland-dunes-golf-course-moves-a-step-closer-1-4665258)

https://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Developers-claim-progress-on-Coul-LInks-plan-19012018.htm (https://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Developers-claim-progress-on-Coul-LInks-plan-19012018.htm)

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1395422/snh-could-remove-one-of-its-objections-to-controversial-coul-links/
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on February 04, 2018, 12:13:46 PM
The latest, latest news:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15918692.American_tycoon__getting_cosy_with_Scottish_Government_over_golf_course_plans___can_this_be_happening_again_/?ref=mr&lp=6

https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scottish-government-holds-secret-talks-over-controversial-golf-course-1-4681976 (https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scottish-government-holds-secret-talks-over-controversial-golf-course-1-4681976)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on March 26, 2018, 09:10:03 AM
Newest news:

https://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/SEPA-withdraw-objections-to-Coul-Golf-Course-development-25032018.htm (https://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/SEPA-withdraw-objections-to-Coul-Golf-Course-development-25032018.htm)

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1441251/sepa-withdraws-coul-links-objections/
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on March 26, 2018, 11:50:34 AM
Another important hurdle taken. SNH should also soon follow.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on March 30, 2018, 10:02:58 PM
"Stringent Conditions" are attached to that green light:

https://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/SEPA-confirm-stringent-conditions-on-withdrawing-their-objection-to-Coul-Links-golf-course-plans-29032018.htm

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Brian_Ewen on May 30, 2018, 01:39:43 AM
http://www.thenational.scot/news/16254669.Coul_Links_golf_development_close_to_being_given_green_light/





Coul links gold development edges closer to approval from SEPA
National Newsdesk
29th May


SCOTTISH Natural Heritage (SNH) has removed all but one of its objections to a controversial golf course plan, according to the developers behind the project.


They say the move, coupled with the removal of all objections by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), means there is now virtually no statutory opposition to the proposed Coul Links Golf Development at Embo, near Dornoch.


The finalising of SNH’s response concludes a three-year consultation and the plans will go before councillors mext week.


Coul Links co-developer Todd Warnock said: “We are thankful for the extraordinary support and co-operation from almost everyone in the Highlands, especially the local community, as well as the diligence and professionalism of Highland Council, Sepa and SNH.


“After three years of effort we eagerly look forward to the June 5 planning committee.”


The aim is to make Coul Links one of the world’s premier courses, combining economic opportunity and ecological integrity


The developers will not build a hotel on the site, in part so economic benefits can flow to local businesses. They say the project is estimated to deliver 250 jobs and add £60 million gross value to the local economy over the first 10 years.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Marty Bonnar on May 30, 2018, 05:15:19 PM
And then again...:
https://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/trump-rival-s-plan-for-golf-course-on-rare-scottish-dunes-at-risk-1-4747421 (https://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/trump-rival-s-plan-for-golf-course-on-rare-scottish-dunes-at-risk-1-4747421)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on May 30, 2018, 05:23:43 PM
Hilarious.


Trump is a "rival" to Mike and Co?   ;D ;D
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on May 30, 2018, 06:09:26 PM
And then again...:
https://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/trump-rival-s-plan-for-golf-course-on-rare-scottish-dunes-at-risk-1-4747421 (https://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/trump-rival-s-plan-for-golf-course-on-rare-scottish-dunes-at-risk-1-4747421)


This cute little "newsy video" had approximately ZERO to do with Coul Links yet was 100% dedicated to Donald Trump.
Finally read the "article" which has no real news, research or - for that matter - journalism associated with it whatsoever.


It is more of a last-ditch puff-piece written by a novice who did nothing more than a Google search on the topic from her kitchen table... ;D


For a small contrast, please see the list of organizations, companies, tour groups and LOCAL businesses that are FOR Coul Links:


https://www.coullinks.co.uk/single-post/2018/05/30/SUPPORTING-COUL-LINKS


For "real journalism" on the topic, please let me refer you to Adam Lawrence:


http://www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/content/coul-links-preparing-for-planning-hearing-set-for-5-june



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Brian_Ewen on May 31, 2018, 02:49:28 AM
https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1487017/councillors-face-huge-decision-over-controversial-highland-golf-course-plans/



Councillors face huge decision over controversial Highland golf course plans
by Jamie McKenzie May 31, 2018


(https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2017/09/421574257278_23567801-Read-Only-496x372.jpg)


Councillors face a huge decision next week after their officials recommended refusing the controversial Coul Links golf course in east Sutherland.


Proposals for the 18-hole championship course by Embo have drawn more than 1,600 objections, with conservationists arguing it will damage dune habitat and wildlife in a designated site of special scientific interest (SSSI).


The plans are being spearheaded by US businessman Todd Warnock and renowned golf course developer Mike Keiser, who say the local environment can be enhanced.


Yesterday, the chairman of local opposition group Not Coul, Tom Dargie, welcomed the council planner’s recommendation and described it as one of “the most unpopular applications” in the history of Highland Council.


But Sutherland Independent Group councillor Jim McGillivray, who lives in Embo, fears his area could lose out on a “once in a century economic opportunity” in a village which, like many others in the north, have “endured generations of poverty, neglect and emigration”.


The planner’s report, unveiled yesterday ahead of next Tuesday’s North Planning Committee, said the Coul proposals go against Highland-wide development plan policies on “sustainable design” and “natural, built and cultural heritage” by causing a “significantly detrimental impact” on the SSSI and an internationally protected wetland site.


The report, written by Gillian Webster, said: “In particular, the Coul Links support some of the best quality SSSI dune slack habitats in Scotland and the proposal, in its current format, will result in significant and permanent loss of sand dune habitat, particularly dune heath and dune slacks and impacts to other species which depend on it.”


The official report, referencing Scottish Natural Heritage’s objection, says although mitigation has been proposed by the developers, the “residual losses are extensive and likely to be permanent” and that natural dune processes will be disrupted, fragmenting habitat.


It also says that “translocation” of dune habitat is “unlikely to be successful” and not an appropriate technique to safeguard an area of such environmental complexity.


But Ms Webster acknowledged that the application represents a “significant development proposal” for Sutherland and that there is clear support for the project locally.


Dornoch Area Community Council say the 34 acres of SSSI directly affected would be better managed and that this, together with the economic benefits, outweighs the environmental concerns.


The developers have repeatedly argued that creating another “world class” golf course close to Royal Dornoch would encourage golfers to stay longer in the east Sutherland area, generating more local jobs and significantly boosting the economy.


Last night Mr Warnock said: “As is customary, Highland Council is required to recommend refusal when a statutory body objects. In this case the single objection from a statutory body is narrow and Highland Council is clear in the absence of that they would be supportive. They also acknowledge the broad local support and significant economic benefit of the project.”


Mr Warnock also thanked the local authority for their “professionalism and dilligence” and said he looks forward to next week’s meeting.


But Mr Dargie said next week’s decision will “set a precedent” as to whether or not Scotland’s designated conservation areas are “for sale at any price,” and urged the developer to put forward an “environmentally responsible” course design instead of making councillors choose between jobs, which he argues would be low paid and seasonal, and a sensitive dune habitat.


Scottish Natural Heritage chief executive Jonny Hughes said the SNH objection demonstrates that the effect on the SSSI goes beyond the area that would be directly damaged, and that the true scale of the impact is still unknown.


Mr Hughes stressed that coastal sand dunes are one of the world’s fastest disappearing habitats and that it would be “extraordinary” if councillors approved the development.


RSPB Scotland also described the council planner’s recommendation as a “major blow” to the Coul Links plans, while Buglife Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland also welcomed the planner’s official report recommending refusal.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on May 31, 2018, 04:58:58 AM
The recommendation for refusal should come as no surprise.  However, it isn't all that uncommon for members to go against recommendation especially if there isn't much concern about an expensive appeal. 

Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on May 31, 2018, 05:10:30 AM
But Mr Dargie said next week’s decision will “set a precedent” as to whether or not Scotland’s designated conservation areas are “for sale at any price,” and urged the developer to put forward an “environmentally responsible” course design instead of making councillors choose between jobs, which he argues would be low paid and seasonal, and a sensitive dune habitat.

The precedent has already been set at Balmedie, furthermore Trump was urged to use less sensitive land there and refused. The Scottish Government then stepped in to ensure the development got planning. I can't see this being any different even if the local authority planning committee vote against it.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Marty Bonnar on May 31, 2018, 06:12:49 AM
Although interestingly Niall, I was wondering if the abject failure to deliver on everything (except the golf course development) at Balmedie will play into the minds of those in power over this proposal.
Time will tell.
F.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on May 31, 2018, 06:43:27 AM
FBD

The proposed Embo development is far more modest than was proposed/promised at Balmedie. Balmedie was to be a two course development (second course hasn’t happened), was to include a 500 bed hotel (hasn’t happened) and a large housing development (hasn’t happened).  I’m not sure whether the proposed clubhouse has now been built, it may well have.

In contrast, at Embo the proposal doesn’t include a hotel or any housing. The developers are also claiming a far smaller economic benefit (£60m from memory compared to the £0.5 billion dollars/£0.5 billion pounds/£1 billion dollars/£1 billion pounds depending on which Trump quote you went by).

One of my gripes on the Balmedie development was how little scrutiny appeared to go into the economic claims. Hopefully that’s not the case at Embo but I do wonder if the supposed economic benefit is a best case scenario. Judging by comment from some of our US friends at BUDA over the weekend, they were a bit sceptical whether it would make much difference in encouraging people to stay in the area for longer and whether there would be a spin off for the likes of Brora and Golspie. I have the same doubts.

Niall 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on May 31, 2018, 09:12:47 AM

I would be surprised if the project did not get approval despite the recommended refusal from the planners as this is standard procedure for when one of the statutory bodies has an objection (slight in this case).


I think that what will go against the likes of RSPB and SNH is the fact that they have spent absolutely zero pounds on this SSSI site in the years since it was declared such despite both admitting the scale of degradation it has suffered since then. Both organisations have more than enough finance to do something about this decline and the fact that they haven't to date nor that they have proposed to in the future speaks volumes.


Lets be honest. The RSPB is objecting because it objects to everything that happens in the Scottish countryside unless it is one of their projects. SNH has raised a minor objections about something that is going to happen anyway if the project does not go ahead and Mr. Dargie is the man behind the ecology at Balmedie but who did not get the job at Coul Links but I am sure that has nothing to do with it.


Niall,


the key thing to begin with will be to get some to stay overnight in the Dornoch area even if they do not visit Golspie, Tain, etc.... At the moment most stay in Inverness and make a day trip up. I suspect the other courses will benefit from European and UK golfers who might stay for a longer time on a multi greenfee ticket such as offered in St.Andrews for those wanting access to Dornoch & Coul Links at a reasonable price.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adam Lawrence on May 31, 2018, 09:20:37 AM
I think it will _probably_ get approved, because there is no doubt that local opinion is very strongly in favour, and it is the local council that will take the decision. Not Coul is all outsiders; check out some of the addresses on their petitions and objectors. But it is not cut and dried; such are the ways of democracy  :)


I don't see the project getting called in by the Scottish Executive. Partly because they got badly burned over Balmedie, and partly because Messrs Warnock and Keiser have made it clear throughout that they are not interested in a drawn-out planning battle. If the council votes no, they walk away.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on May 31, 2018, 09:21:16 AM
FBD

In contrast, at Embo the proposal doesn’t include a hotel or any housing. The developers are also claiming a far smaller economic benefit (£60m from memory compared to the £0.5 billion dollars/£0.5 billion pounds/£1 billion dollars/£1 billion pounds depending on which Trump quote you went by).

One of my gripes on the Balmedie development was how little scrutiny appeared to go into the economic claims. Hopefully that’s not the case at Embo but I do wonder if the supposed economic benefit is a best case scenario. Judging by comment from some of our US friends at BUDA over the weekend, they were a bit sceptical whether it would make much difference in encouraging people to stay in the area for longer and whether there would be a spin off for the likes of Brora and Golspie. I have the same doubts.

Niall


This is one of the central points at the genesis of the project and it is not often discussed.


In 2008, after Castle Stuart opened, the town of Dornoch experienced a measurable drop in tourist revenue and hotel night stays.
Financial crisis was first blamed but the trend continued. Tour operators openly admitted that RDGC was now a day trip for their clients who stayed in Inverness as a "hub" and ventured out from there.


Skepticism is always a healthy part of any debate. But, in this one, the TOWNs of Dornoch and Embo see Coul Links as a way to 1) get back to where they WERE pre-2008 and 2) incrementally add to local revenue (hotels, restaurants, retail, adjacent courses) by positioning Dornoch as a "golf and tourist hub" and gateway to the Highlands.


A tangible result has already materialized as a London-based real estate investor purchased the 105 room Dornoch Bay Hotel last year from Shearrings. If Coul is approved, I believe they intend to refurbish the hotel which sits on a fantastic piece of property bordering RDGC's first hole. It is precisely the kind of intended investment touted by the developers - especially as, in contrast to "His Orangeness", Coul will NOT have any housing associated with it.


However, if Coul is not approved, the LOCAL construction/hospitality/golf tourism (incremental) revenue and jobs potentially derived from this one project will vaporize into the North Sea.


For additional "proof points" to the economic skepticsm rightly expressed at BUDA, it may be helpful to look at not one, but three examples and results of the economic impact of a Mike Keiser development at locations arguably more difficult to get to than Dornoch:


1. Bandon Dunes in Bandon, OR


https://theworldlink.com/news/south-coast-strong/bandon-dunes-boosts-entire-south-coast-economy/article_b3a1c52c-cc3b-5df5-864a-543ab5a69448.html (https://theworldlink.com/news/south-coast-strong/bandon-dunes-boosts-entire-south-coast-economy/article_b3a1c52c-cc3b-5df5-864a-543ab5a69448.html)


https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1472397/coul-links-would-be-good-for-the-economy-and-environment-says-us-mayor/ (https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1472397/coul-links-would-be-good-for-the-economy-and-environment-says-us-mayor/)


2. Cabot Links in Inverness, NS


http://www.thecasket.ca/archives/24454 (http://www.thecasket.ca/archives/24454)


https://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/01/sports/golf/golf-course-transforms-mining-town-in-nova-scotia.html (https://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/01/sports/golf/golf-course-transforms-mining-town-in-nova-scotia.html)


https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=887994 (https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=887994)


3. Sand Valley in Natossa, WI


http://wrcitytimes.com/sand-valley-to-bring-jobs-and-five-star-golf-to-the-area/ (http://wrcitytimes.com/sand-valley-to-bring-jobs-and-five-star-golf-to-the-area/)


http://www.golf.com/courses-and-travel/2017/09/11/wisconsin-approves-4-million-airport-near-sand-valley-after-architects-donation (http://www.golf.com/courses-and-travel/2017/09/11/wisconsin-approves-4-million-airport-near-sand-valley-after-architects-donation)


http://www.sandvalleygolfresort.com/news/2018/2/13/the-wisconsin-wonder-1 (http://www.sandvalleygolfresort.com/news/2018/2/13/the-wisconsin-wonder-1)


And then there's this:


https://www.golfchannel.com/video/keisers-golf-course-saves-nova-scotia-town/ (https://www.golfchannel.com/video/keisers-golf-course-saves-nova-scotia-town/)






Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adam Lawrence on May 31, 2018, 09:25:14 AM
Ian -- we know on here what impact Bandon and Cabot have had on their localities, and Sand Valley is starting to have. But there is a fundamental difference between those and Coul -- they are resorts, not standalone golf courses.


Now fwiw I think that Coul will probably do much of what its proponents are hoping. But it's hard to assert proof from the examples you give, because of the difference in the operations.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on May 31, 2018, 10:04:45 AM
Ian -- we know on here what impact Bandon and Cabot have had on their localities, and Sand Valley is starting to have. But there is a fundamental difference between those and Coul -- they are resorts, not standalone golf courses.


Now fwiw I think that Coul will probably do much of what its proponents are hoping. But it's hard to assert proof from the examples you give, because of the difference in the operations.


Adam - Fair point...I think..


The differences lie in what, in fact, you correctly point out.


The success of the three prior Keiser properties bring tangible economic benefits to the are (of course) but also to Keiser (and sons/associates) who run the resorts.


In the case of Coul, the incremental hospitality revenue will (theortically) go the existing (or future) independent infrastructure stakeholders in the surrounding area - exactly as intended further underscoring the potential benefit to locals not just outside investors.


But, you are right...time will tell.
From what I have read (and heard when there), there is very strong local support and Coul is seen as a "once in a century" opportunity.


Given that there has been the complete absence of funds, oversight and stewardship of the existing SSSI, and that Keiser has pledged 50K pounds/yr. for environmental assistance, I often wonder about the possible local backlash if the project is scuttled successfully by those who will never be impacted one way or another.


Adam, was there an equal (local, national or group) resistance to this new course: [size=78%]http://www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/content/New-Dumbarnie-Links-course-on-Scottish-coast-gets-green-light (http://www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/content/New-Dumbarnie-Links-course-on-Scottish-coast-gets-green-light)[/size]  ?
 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adam Lawrence on May 31, 2018, 10:35:17 AM
Dumbarnie has flown below the radar throughout. They started construction last week, but you'd never know it... (it's also not on an SSSI, so far as I am aware).
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on May 31, 2018, 10:52:19 AM
Jon

More often than not the planners will recommend refusal if the statutory consultees make strong enough objections but that’s not a given. Sometimes they won’t because there might be mitigating factors. Effectively they look at in the round.

With regards to the notion that the planning committee will vote it through simply because RSPB and SNH haven’t spent money, I think that very, very, fanciful to say the least. Firstly those bodies aren’t that well financed that they can throw money about willy-nilly, and secondly I think it fundamentally mis-understands the role of SNH at least. SNH is an advisory body that has in its remit the stated aim to: “secure the conservation and enhancement of, and to foster understanding and facilitate the enjoyment of, the natural heritage of Scotland.” That doesn’t mean they throw money at private landowners.

Whatever lease agreement that the RSPB had with the landowner is over, and you can’t expect them to spend money on land they have no agreement on. And while we’re being honest, your issue with RSPB didn’t originate with their objections over Embo  ;)

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on May 31, 2018, 11:23:00 AM

Niall,


I am well aware of SNH's role and that they can be instrumental in securing funding for the upkeep of an area if it is of significance which might otherwise be lost were nothing to be done. As for the RSPB, you are sadly misinformed if you do not know that they are a very well financed lobby group. I understand what you are saying about not spending money on a property after the lease they had was over but that does not change the fact that they didn't spend a penny even when they had said agreement.


I have yet to meet a landowner with a good thing to say about the RSPB which speaks volumes.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on May 31, 2018, 11:31:23 AM
My wife and I walked the Coul Links again last month, and IMHO the land is good for golf but not great.  The shoreline dunes are not fit for golf and the internal land is boggy and needing significant improvement.  That being said, a link of links courses from Portmahamock to Tain to Skibo to Struie to Dornoch to Coul to Golspie to Brora to Helmsdale would be unique.


But would this links of links be adequate to rejuvenate southeast Sutherland?  I very much doubt it.  Dornoch as a destination died when the Burghfield House Hotel died in the early 90's.  The Royal Golf Hotel has been in intensive care for 10+ years and the Golf Hotel can be renovated only with mega bucks.  Mr. W's places are OK but small and expensive.  Long term visitors, such as my extended family, rent out houses when need be.


Sic transit gloria mundi......


Rich
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on May 31, 2018, 01:07:34 PM
"Dornoch as a destination died when the Burghfield House Hotel died in the early 90's."
Rich -

I know you have a sentimental attachment to the Burghfield. But, sitting here in Dornoch today, it sure looks like the town is booming.

The closed courthouse is now a commercial emporium featuring 3 new businesses plus the tourist office. The Cocoa Mountain cafe/chocolate shop has opened on Castle Street. There is a new restaurant opening next week on the High Street. There is a beauty spa opening in the business park. The University has built a sizable dormitory building. There are two new upscale B&B's (albeit small ones) in addition to the Links House complex. The dreary Spar grocery on Castle Street has become a "foodie" deli. Luigi turns away multiple would-be customers at dinner nightly.

My guess is at least 100 new homes have been built here in the last 5 years. There is a new residential development taking shape on the road towards Embo (which has been widened to 2 lanes for most of the way). Construction of the 24 two-bedroom apartments in front of the Royal Golf Hotel is nearing completion and about half the apartments have already been sold (at rather stiff prices ;) ).

I am often surprised by how many non-golf visitors pass thru Dornoch on any given day.
No doubt the town needs more accommodations and more capable people to work in these places. The challenge will be to make a large enough profit over "the season" to ride out the dark and dreary winter months.

DT 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on May 31, 2018, 01:38:57 PM
I've read all 20 pages of this thread, and most of the various articles that were linked including the lengthy environmental impact ones.  I know there is rarely a consensus in this biz, but I can't recall another proposed site where the opinions are all over the map than this one.


Between its special designation status, some who think it'd be a crime to build a course here, and others who think the land is just OK. Contrasted with all the comments from the other side of it being an epic location, terrific addition to the area, being a potential top 100 in the world, (and I know Mike K has a great track record with picking his sites and all.)


Just hard to make heads or tails of this one from where I sit...
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Marty Bonnar on May 31, 2018, 05:00:33 PM
Honestly, I'm pretty ambivalent about the whole project, but my blood really boils when I see some arsehole on FB say, and I quote: "let's turn this wilderness into something worthwhile".
Ignorance of the highest order.
F.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adam Lawrence on May 31, 2018, 05:03:01 PM
Honestly, I'm pretty ambivalent about the whole project, but my blood really boils when I see some arsehole on FB say, and I quote: "let's turn this wilderness into something worthwhile".
Ignorance of the highest order.
F.


Well, that's Facebook for you!
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on May 31, 2018, 05:18:47 PM
"Dornoch as a destination died when the Burghfield House Hotel died in the early 90's."
Rich -

I know you have a sentimental attachment to the Burghfield.



David


You are right about the first sentence in your reply.  As to the rest of your reply, you do not know what Dornoch was like in the 70s and early 90s.  It was Nirvana.  Yes it is "booming" now, but for all the wrong reasons.


C'est la vie...


rfg
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Marty Bonnar on May 31, 2018, 05:39:58 PM
Honestly, I'm pretty ambivalent about the whole project, but my blood really boils when I see some arsehole on FB say, and I quote: "let's turn this wilderness into something worthwhile".
Ignorance of the highest order.
F.


Well, that's Facebook for you!


Yes,
If it's not some eedjit making stupid comments about golf course development, it's some other eedjit asking about leftover chicken!
 ;D ;)
F.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on May 31, 2018, 05:58:35 PM
"Dornoch as a destination died when the Burghfield House Hotel died in the early 90's."
Rich -

I know you have a sentimental attachment to the Burghfield.



David


You are right about the first sentence in your reply.  As to the rest of your reply, you do not know what Dornoch was like in the 70s and early 90s.  It was Nirvana.  Yes it is "booming" now, but for all the wrong reasons.


C'est la vie...


rfg


Indeed.
I feel your pain there, Rich.


Lots of places were nirvana in the 70's. Too many to list like: Nantucket, MA, Naples, FL, Carmel, CA, Harbor Springs, MI.
Now, big money dominates there.


But, global population was 4B in 1975.
Today, it's damn close to 8B.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on June 01, 2018, 03:27:34 AM
Despite my reservations on this project, Adam’s article did get me quite excited.


The idea of the varied vegetation, including a few holes through dune heather, could make for a lovely course if dealt with well.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on June 01, 2018, 05:50:02 AM
"As to the rest of your reply, you do not know what Dornoch was like in the 70s and early 90s.  It was Nirvana.  Yes it is "booming" now, but for all the wrong reasons."

Rich -

As the saying goes, "nostalgia just isn't what is used to be." ;)

You are right. I don't know what it was like in Dornoch 30-40 years ago. I don't see why that matters.   

My point is the town is thriving today. For reasons you may or may not care for, it is attracting new residents, new businesses and a growing stream of visitors.

If the Coul Links site is as good as Bill Coore has said it is, I have every expectation the course to be built there will be be a success both artistically and commercially. (assuming of course it gets planning approval)

DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 01, 2018, 06:45:08 AM
I think one of the points Rich is trying to make, and I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm wrong, is that a lot of the visitor business is transient whereas before Dornoch was more of an end destination where people stayed for a week or so. That of course is one of the arguments put forward in favour of the development in that it will possibly encourage visiting golfers to stay longer. I'm not at all convinced that that will be the case.

I tend to think that the visits of golfers will still be somewhat transient and if they stay long enough to play a second course like Embo, it will be at the expense of somewhere like Brora or Golspie, and then having had their second round they will swiftly move on.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on June 01, 2018, 06:51:21 AM
I think one of the points Rich is trying to make, and I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm wrong, is that a lot of the visitor business is transient whereas before Dornoch was more of an end destination where people stayed for a week or so. That of course is one of the arguments put forward in favour of the development in that it will possibly encourage visiting golfers to stay longer. I'm not at all convinced that that will be the case.

I tend to think that the visits of golfers will still be somewhat transient and if they stay long enough to play a second course like Embo, it will be at the expense of somewhere like Brora or Golspie, and then having had their second round they will swiftly move on.

Niall


Do you think folks will move on if they have more choice of lodgings?  To me, this has always been a problem with Dornoch.  Its a decent enough town, but eating, drinking and lodging are a bit limited.  Many folks can forgive the eating and drinking issues, but not the lodgings...especially if they are booked through a tour company.


Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 01, 2018, 08:21:51 AM
Sean

That's a good question. When I think back to family holidays when I was kid and we stayed in the Burghfield House Hotel, the holiday largely revolved around golf with mainly games at Dornoch (championship course for my dad and eldest brother, and Struie for myself mum and other brother) with the odd day trips to Golspie or Rosemarkie. Obviously I've no way of saying now what the relative costs were back then but I'd imagine the cost of the golf would have been quite modest compared to now, with the cost of the accommodation probably being the major consideration.

These days, it's generally the other way about especially with greenfees well over £100 a round. Dornoch does have cheaper accommodation (Eagle Hotel I think it's called which I've stayed at and is OK) so there is a cheaper option there. I just tend to think that when on a golf trip and paying that kind of money for a round of golf, you tend to have an over-riding urge to try another course with the law of diminishing returns and all that.

That seemed to be borne out by many at BUDA who didn't seem to be playing a lot of courses on repeat (BUDA of course excepted) while on their travels.

Niall

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on June 01, 2018, 09:09:57 AM
Niall -

At the risk of being rude, do you seriously think the circumstances of how you & your family visited Dornoch 30+ years ago is really relevant to how people visit Dornoch for golf today? Was the bridge across the Dornoch Firth even built back then?  ;) Were the courses open for play on Sundays? ;)

Things have changed appreciably in the 15 years I have been coming here. There are now direct flights to Inverness from London (at least 3-4 a day), Dublin, Amsterdam and Bergen, Norway. Most of these flights did not exist even 10 years ago.

DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 01, 2018, 10:44:36 AM
David

That's not rude at all, a fair question. However that was my point, the difference between then and now and why things are different (IMO). I've no idea about bridges and sunday golf but I can tell you things were a lot more informal. There were no starters at RD for a start, no tee sheet, and if the pro (singular) wasn't around when you teed off you squared him up when you finished the round. And you didn't need to bust the bank to do it either.

I also totally appreciate the difference a good air connection makes, or indeed the lack of it. For example the Ayrshire clubs lost an awful lot of visitor greenfees when Prestwick and Glasgow lost a lot of the Scandinavian routes. My question to you though is with modern visitong golfers, do you think they are basing themselves elsewhere or are they more or less moving about as they go from course to course ?

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on June 01, 2018, 11:01:39 AM
Niall,


Nothing really stays the same, it all evolves into something else for better or worse.  I understand the nostalgia for old times and all, but even then we usually have a selective memory for how things actually were.


I think the only context this potential new project should be considered in is the present and future.


P.S.  I will admit my own bias in that when I hear stuff like the "good old days" it often feels too close to "Make America Great Again"
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on June 01, 2018, 11:12:41 AM
Niall -

Clearly the golf course is now a major commercial engine for the town and even for the county of Sutherland. During the summer season, anywhere from 50 to 100+ local people could be working in some capacity at the course on any given day. The course now needs 30-50 caddies almost every day!

Assuming Coul Links does get built (and assuming it ascends to a top 25-50 in GB&I rankings), there may or may not be a "spillover" effect for the other local courses (Tain, Brora & Golspie). My guess is the tour bus crowd and the "belt-notchers" will come play RD/CL on day 1, have dinner and stay the night in town and play the other course the next day. Maybe some of them will be so taken with the courses and the area they will come back again to spend a week and play some of the other nearby courses.

But there are plenty of flats, apartments, houses, etc. that are rented on a weekly basis to visiting golfers and are heavily booked. As I mentioned earlier, there are 24 two-bedroom flats overlooking the 1st tee at RD now under construction that will be available for rent in the coming months.

Given RD's large non-resident membership, no doubt many of the weekly rentals are made by visiting RD members. But many of those visiting members bring their friends along to play at RD and elsewhere.

Just this past week there were 8 guys here from Minnesota. I think 3 of them are RD members. They come in May almost every year to spend a week playing at RD and the other local courses. They almost always bring along enough guys to round out two 4-balls.

DT
P.S. Even if the tour groups and belt-notchers stay in Dornoch for just one night (and don't play any of the other local courses), another 30-50 people having dinner there and staying in a hotel or B&B nightly is bound to have a positive impact on the financial well-being of the town. Whether that is enough to justify the building of Coul Links on that site from an environmental perspective is not for me to say.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 02, 2018, 07:00:10 AM
Kalen

It was no mere exercise in nostalgia for me, although it is nice to remember happy times. My point was the change in what visitors did then and what they generally do now, notwithstanding DT's comments above. If you like the short version;

Then - maw, paw and weans stay for a week playing some golf while availing themselves of all the other attractions Dornoch has to offer, spending money in bars, restaurants, shops etc.

Now - golfers arrive, play golf, and then tend to move on. Will another course change that ?

David

The golf course has always been a big attraction for the town so no change there.  I'm also not doubting that RD has an almost unique place in the affections of many north American visitors and many like you join the club and take advantage of longer stays. The question however is whether this is going to make any difference to the transient golfer ? And as a supplementary question what knock on effect will it have on the other courses, good or bad ?

Time will tell.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 02, 2018, 07:15:44 AM
I think it will _probably_ get approved, because there is no doubt that local opinion is very strongly in favour, and it is the local council that will take the decision. Not Coul is all outsiders; check out some of the addresses on their petitions and objectors. But it is not cut and dried; such are the ways of democracy  :)


I don't see the project getting called in by the Scottish Executive. Partly because they got badly burned over Balmedie, and partly because Messrs Warnock and Keiser have made it clear throughout that they are not interested in a drawn-out planning battle. If the council votes no, they walk away.

Adam,

Like you I think it will get approved. I'm less convinced of the Scottish Ministers actions if it doesn't, or indeed if it does ! In theory they could call it in if the Council give approval which would be a fairly bold step. In my experience when Scottish Ministers "call in" an application it is usually because the council have granted consent for an application that goes against policy. Balmedie is the only exception to that that I know of (the Council turned down the application) although I dare say there have been other examples.

In the unlikely (IMO) event the council refuses consent then I don't think Mr Keiser and Mr Warnock will be that quick to pack their bags and head home. While they say they wouldn't be interested in getting into a long drawn out planning appeal (Trump said the same thing if I remember correctly, just saying  :D) I've got to think that's a negotiating stance. To get to this stage they will have spent a fair amount of money, and I suspect they have received some generally supportive noises from Edinburgh.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on June 02, 2018, 07:36:55 AM
Sean

That's a good question. When I think back to family holidays when I was kid and we stayed in the Burghfield House Hotel, the holiday largely revolved around golf with mainly games at Dornoch (championship course for my dad and eldest brother, and Struie for myself mum and other brother) with the odd day trips to Golspie or Rosemarkie. Obviously I've no way of saying now what the relative costs were back then but I'd imagine the cost of the golf would have been quite modest compared to now, with the cost of the accommodation probably being the major consideration.

These days, it's generally the other way about especially with greenfees well over £100 a round. Dornoch does have cheaper accommodation (Eagle Hotel I think it's called which I've stayed at and is OK) so there is a cheaper option there. I just tend to think that when on a golf trip and paying that kind of money for a round of golf, you tend to have an over-riding urge to try another course with the law of diminishing returns and all that.

That seemed to be borne out by many at BUDA who didn't seem to be playing a lot of courses on repeat (BUDA of course excepted) while on their travels.

Niall

Niall

I guess my belief is that the if another course is built there will be more spill-over play for the smaller clubs in the area....IF Dornoch can provide the amenities to keep the tourists in town. The Trump Aberdeen deal didn't have anywhere near the lodging issue of Dornoch because of Aberdeen down the road, but the other nearby clubs did very well with more visitor bookings.  Of course, imo, this should have nothing to do with the actual building of the proposed course because in the big scheme of things we are talking tourism peanuts compared to the (imo) very high risk of permanently damaging a special site.  Plus, the developer has little if any control over the increae of amenities in the area.  I think approval is a much closer call than some do...50-50 because a paid professional the Council engages made a recommendation for refusal.  It will really come down to a few cllrs pushing things along with powers of persuasion and to some degree that depends upon how much localized groups are getting in their ears.  Many cllrs will be open-minded enough to be persuaded to go against recommendation, but it depends on the persuasive powers.

Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on June 02, 2018, 08:03:51 AM

I think for Coul Links to succeed in its stated goal of getting people to stay longer in the area and play some of the other courses is dependent on getting a multi-play ticket that gives UK based golfers the chance to access RD and CL at a reasonable price not the £100 plus rack rate. For this to be a reality it needs the locals in Dornoch, Golspie, Brora and Tain to really step up their game to offer enough, decent quality, value for money accommodation and attractions. Dornoch is leading the way and Tain is on the way but Golspie has a long way to go and Brora is simply dismal.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 02, 2018, 08:37:20 AM
Sean

We've spoken off line about Councillors and the respective local political systems either side of the border so you know my views. You will also appreciate I can't say too much on here in that respect but lets just say I don't quite share your thoughts on Councillors.

I do however 100% share your sentiment about whether it is worth sacrificing a special environment for the projected returns, especially when less sensitive land is available adjacent.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 02, 2018, 08:52:55 AM
Jon

I fully agree with your comments on cost of greenfees etc but then I'm speaking selfishly although I am also probably typical of a fairly sizeable demographic in terms of golfers. Budget/low rent accommodation will be important in this regard as you rightly point out.

It does occur to me though that the advent of the North Coast 500 will potentially bring in a lot more visitors than the golf will, although whether they would hang around for more than a day is also debateable.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adam Lawrence on June 02, 2018, 09:30:02 AM
I think it will _probably_ get approved, because there is no doubt that local opinion is very strongly in favour, and it is the local council that will take the decision. Not Coul is all outsiders; check out some of the addresses on their petitions and objectors. But it is not cut and dried; such are the ways of democracy  :)


I don't see the project getting called in by the Scottish Executive. Partly because they got badly burned over Balmedie, and partly because Messrs Warnock and Keiser have made it clear throughout that they are not interested in a drawn-out planning battle. If the council votes no, they walk away.

Adam,

Like you I think it will get approved. I'm less convinced of the Scottish Ministers actions if it doesn't, or indeed if it does ! In theory they could call it in if the Council give approval which would be a fairly bold step. In my experience when Scottish Ministers "call in" an application it is usually because the council have granted consent for an application that goes against policy. Balmedie is the only exception to that that I know of (the Council turned down the application) although I dare say there have been other examples.

In the unlikely (IMO) event the council refuses consent then I don't think Mr Keiser and Mr Warnock will be that quick to pack their bags and head home. While they say they wouldn't be interested in getting into a long drawn out planning appeal (Trump said the same thing if I remember correctly, just saying  :D ) I've got to think that's a negotiating stance. To get to this stage they will have spent a fair amount of money, and I suspect they have received some generally supportive noises from Edinburgh.

Niall


You could of course be right, and only time will tell, but I honestly don't think so. Obviously they have spent money, but it's a drop in the ocean for Mr Keiser, and he's got plenty on his plate with Sand Valley and his other new project. Mr Warnock may have a different view, I don't know -- and he has certainly been the front man so far, inevitably I guess given that he lives here -- but whether he'd be prepared to go on alone if his partner pulled out must surely be open to question.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 02, 2018, 09:45:50 AM
In the unlikely event that planning gets refused next week then it's very possible that the Scottish Government could call it in without prompting from Mr Keiser or Mr Warnock. If so, if you were them you would be as well at least just sitting on your hands and seeing where it goes. Although I agree that that speculation is likely to be academic.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on June 03, 2018, 06:54:38 AM
There is no doubt in my mind that approval of Coul Links would be good for the local economy, but I doubt that it will be significant, due to the lack of high end accommodation.  Much more time and money has been spent, over 35+ years, developing Skibo into a destination resort for the gliterati and wannabes and even it doesn't get filled up for most of the year.  Coul will be good for the Links Hotel (Mr. Warnock's place) and the Royal Golf Hotel, both of which need more paying customers.  I suspect that if CL goes through, the belt-notchers will be relegated to Grannie's Heilan Hame in Embo (the obligatory caravan site for great links courses).  It ain't bad.  I've spent a couple of nights there and many more evenings in the adjacent local music venuee bar (before my marriage!).  They used to have regular night time bus service between Dornoch and Embo, particularly in the summer and on the weekends.  Does it still exist?


Rich
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on June 03, 2018, 09:17:04 AM
"They used to have regular night time bus service between Dornoch and Embo, particularly in the summer and on the weekends."

Rich -

The last I heard the Coul Links team's plan is to encourage their golfers to park in Dornoch. They intend to run a shuttle bus between the square in Dornoch and the Coul Links course.

Somehow I can't quite see the Coul Links golfers staying at Grannies. ;)   

DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on June 03, 2018, 11:59:19 AM

Rich,


the lack of accommodation is one of the things that the 'locals' need to address. Having said that I do not see the growth coming from the US golfer but rather the UK golfer so it needs decent B&B as well as self catering. Actually, good quality statics would fit the bill pretty well. On top of this the other towns need to improve dramatically. I always wonder what the good folk of Brora are thinking when I drive through as the place is not enticing which is a shame as it could be very attractive.


Have you not thought the reason why Skibo is not full might be because that is the business model ::)


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on June 03, 2018, 01:40:24 PM
jon


The gazillionaire who owns Skibo now needn't care about chump change (i.e. a few million here or there)but he sold Sunderland FC recently, which tells me that he doesn't like losers.  His current strategy reminds me of what a local worthy said to me in Dornoch in the mid 80's when itwas mostly barren "I'm happy that we have so many overseas members now, but I'm very glad too that they pay their dues and cross the pond rarely."


Rich
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adam Lawrence on June 03, 2018, 02:03:03 PM
jon


The gazillionaire who owns Skibo now needn't care about chump change (i.e. a few million here or there)but he sold Sunderland FC recently, which tells me that he doesn't like losers.  His current strategy reminds me of what a local worthy said to me in Dornoch in the mid 80's when itwas mostly barren "I'm happy that we have so many overseas members now, but I'm very glad too that they pay their dues and cross the pond rarely."

Rich


Mr Short sold Sunderland after writing off £126 million of debt that the club owed him (because no purchaser would take on the club with the debt). Which tells me he's not as much of a gazillionaire as he was a few months ago  :)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on June 03, 2018, 02:34:32 PM
Interesting, Adam


Short made his gazillions by shorting (no pun intended) South Korean bonds in the Asian collapse in the late 90's and early naughties.  Hope for his sake he is no longer short (Short?) given what might happen (or not) in Singapore on June 12.


Rich
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on June 03, 2018, 03:03:56 PM

Rich,


the lack of accommodation is one of the things that the 'locals' need to address. Having said that I do not see the growth coming from the US golfer but rather the UK golfer so it needs decent B&B as well as self catering. Actually, good quality statics would fit the bill pretty well. On top of this the other towns need to improve dramatically. I always wonder what the good folk of Brora are thinking when I drive through as the place is not enticing which is a shame as it could be very attractive.


Have you not thought the reason why Skibo is not full might be because that is the business model ::)


Jon


Have mentioned this twice before, but - from what I heard, a London-based real estate firm purchased the Dornoch Bay Hotel for a song speculating that Coul was going to happen.


http://old.christie.com/en/property/bay_dornoch_hotel_dornoch_highlands_for_sale_49009[/font]

Great bones in this place and a near perfect location.[/font]
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on June 03, 2018, 07:42:51 PM
Hope you are right, Ian.  There are great bones and great history at the Dornoch Hotel.  In the 50's (even before Niall C. and I visited!) I am well informed that there were many Lords and Ladies who visited Dornoch via the spur railway and Dunrobin and then quick rides up to the Dornoch, the Royal Golf and the Burghfield from Rolls Royces  waiting for them at the local station.  Now that there was the day!
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on June 05, 2018, 01:53:24 AM

jon


The gazillionaire who owns Skibo now needn't care about chump change (i.e. a few million here or there)but he sold Sunderland FC recently, which tells me that he doesn't like losers.  His current strategy reminds me of what a local worthy said to me in Dornoch in the mid 80's when itwas mostly barren "I'm happy that we have so many overseas members now, but I'm very glad too that they pay their dues and cross the pond rarely."


Rich


Rich,


possibly true but not very relevant.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adam Lawrence on June 05, 2018, 04:24:34 AM
Planning committee meeting starts at 10.30 this morning.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 05, 2018, 04:48:59 AM
For those that are interested I suspect you will be able to watch it online through the Council website.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Marty Bonnar on June 05, 2018, 05:23:30 AM
For those that are interested I suspect you will be able to watch it online through the Council website.

Niall


Yep.
There you go:
https://highland.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/354088 (https://highland.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/354088)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Marty Bonnar on June 05, 2018, 05:25:57 AM
Mr Warnock certainly seems to enjoy Dornoch. Saw him out dining at adjacent table on Sat evening and playing on Sunday.
I’ll post a few up to date pics of the new 7th soon.
F.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Marty Bonnar on June 05, 2018, 07:16:18 AM
Deferred for another two weeks approx pending the SEPA reply to the Not Coul objection.
The joys of our system!
F.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 05, 2018, 07:29:07 AM
Sounds like they bottled making a decision ?

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Marty Bonnar on June 05, 2018, 07:34:14 AM
Not Coul have fired in a last-minute wobbly.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adam Lawrence on June 05, 2018, 07:43:44 AM
Last minute objection from Not Coul and the need to wait for SEPA response to it has required the council to defer a decision by about two weeks. However 7 members of the 15 member committee indicated in debate they would vote in favour. Story on http://www.golfcoursearchitecture.net (http://www.golfcoursearchitecture.net) in a few minutes
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 05, 2018, 07:44:00 AM
FBD

I've just been on the planning website and read the Not Coul email of 21st May. They basically charge Dornoch Area CC of not following the proper procedures. Whatever the truth of that, given the email arrived over two weeks ago, you'd have thought that they would have dealt with the matter before taking it to committee.

As an aside, I note they also refute the claim of overwhelming local support which is interesting.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 05, 2018, 07:44:39 AM
Adam

Were you there or did you watch the webcast ?

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adam Lawrence on June 05, 2018, 07:45:24 AM
Webcast and subsequent conversation with Chris Haspell
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adam Lawrence on June 05, 2018, 08:14:58 AM
Story: http://www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/content/decision-on-coul-links-deferred-for-two-weeks (http://www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/content/decision-on-coul-links-deferred-for-two-weeks)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 05, 2018, 09:48:35 AM
Aha, not the 21st May email as I'd thought. Is the last minute communication available anywhere to see ?

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adam Lawrence on June 05, 2018, 10:59:12 AM
I don't think so, unless Not Coul have published it. It ought to be on the Highland Council planning portal in principle, but I suspect they haven't got round to uploading it yet. Here's the page: https://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=OX1OGYIHH0I00&activeTab=summary (https://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=OX1OGYIHH0I00&activeTab=summary)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on June 05, 2018, 02:42:17 PM
I doubt it can be anything of substance as if it were 'not coul' would have splashed it up all over the place. Suspect it is a last gasp attempt to frustrate but time will tell.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on June 20, 2018, 12:30:23 PM
Just a quick post to say that the Coul Links' application was approved by the Highland Council today.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Howard Riefs on June 20, 2018, 01:11:56 PM
Just a quick post to say that the Coul Links' application was approved by the Highland Council today.


Great news...


https://www.coullinks.co.uk/single-post/2018/06/20/COUL-LINKS-PLANS-PASSED-BY-COUNCILLORS (https://www.coullinks.co.uk/single-post/2018/06/20/COUL-LINKS-PLANS-PASSED-BY-COUNCILLORS)


https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-44537876 (https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-44537876)



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on June 20, 2018, 01:13:11 PM
https://www.scotsman.com/news/controversial-highland-dunes-golf-course-gets-green-light-1-4757394
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on June 20, 2018, 01:26:59 PM
There is now a 28 day review period where government can get involved.
I would imagine that there will be appeals and protests filed.


Keep in mind that Trump's project was shot down initially but then went to parliament (I think) where it was overturned and approved during this 28 day period.



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tim Gallant on June 20, 2018, 01:38:13 PM
Admittedly, I would like to see this go ahead, but that Scotsman article is the most biased piece of writing I have seen in a very long time. It talks so little about the overwhelming support by the locals and the councillors, and instead, makes it sound as if the opposition is indeed larger than it actually is.


Further, they clearly have an agenda when they start a sentence 'Wealthy American golf moguls...'. How does the developers being wealthy have anything to do with the controversy?! Would it be less controversial if they were poor? I imagine they add this in to try to strengthen the nonexistent link between Coul Links and Trump Aberdeen.


Very sad from a paper I respect so little in the first place.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 21, 2018, 06:09:14 AM
Tim

In fairness every environmental group I can think of was against it in principle and there was a petition with 90,000 signatures against the development. Furthermore the Council’s own planners recommended refusal so however you look at it that is a fair degree of opposition.

As for the wealthy American golf moguls comment, well they are wealthy American golf moguls are they not ? It’s just unfortunate for them that in this country Donald Trump has given wealthy American golf moguls a bad name.

The only difference I can see in the tone of the coverage is that it is slanted a bit more towards the opposition whereas before it was more slanted towards the developer. That’s just how the press works, build them up and then knock them down. I don’t think that’s peculiar to the Scotsman.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on June 21, 2018, 07:41:18 AM
Having admittedly been sitting on the fence about whether this project would go ahead or not.... I can now say that I will be planning a 2020 trip to the area.


Was due to return anyway but very keen to see what a C&C course on genuine links land will look like...


So now excited on the go.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tim Gallant on June 21, 2018, 07:43:11 AM
Tim

In fairness every environmental group I can think of was against it in principle and there was a petition with 90,000 signatures against the development. Furthermore the Council’s own planners recommended refusal so however you look at it that is a fair degree of opposition.

As for the wealthy American golf moguls comment, well they are wealthy American golf moguls are they not ? It’s just unfortunate for them that in this country Donald Trump has given wealthy American golf moguls a bad name.

The only difference I can see in the tone of the coverage is that it is slanted a bit more towards the opposition whereas before it was more slanted towards the developer. That’s just how the press works, build them up and then knock them down. I don’t think that’s peculiar to the Scotsman.

Niall


Niall,


I get your point, and normally I would agree. But read the BBC report:


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-44537876 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-44537876)


They lay out the facts, and there is no opinion. I see coverage both for and against the course in the article, and am able to judge the facts objectively. That is not the case with the Scotsman article, and as far as I am aware, the Scotsman isn't an OpEd piece, but feels like it is with a clear agenda against the course.


With the 'Wealthy American golf moguls...' comment, it's not that it isn't factually correct, because it is. Rather, it is about its importance to the article. The subject of the article is about a golf course that was approved to be built, and is now facing backlash from those opposed, hoping the ruling will get overturned by the Ministers. Why does the fact that the project is being led by wealthy people have to do anything with the rest of the article? It doesn't. It is just a tactic from the writer to sway readers into thinking that the developers threw money around to get their way. From all the articles and reports I have read, and the councillors meeting that I watched, this appears to not have been the case. Mr. Warnock appears to have been genuine in his want to engage with agencies and voters opposed. But that doesn't come through in the article.


My question is: would The New York Times or BBC write the article the way the Scotsman did?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 21, 2018, 08:17:07 AM
Tim

I've reread the Scotsman and read the BBC report and the difference seems to me that the Scotsman story is about the reaction to the decision to grant planning rather than about the decision itself. In other words they are endeavoring to move the story on. As I said, build it up and then knock it down.

As an aside I also read the Times this morning and from memory it similarly had a number of comments from opponents of the scheme. I think they also made the Trump comparison. As another aside, I don't think this decision was unexpected and I'd hazard a guess that the quotes you read in the Scotsman piece were probably pre-prepared PR's sent out when the decision was made. Same tactics from both sides.

Ally

I'd wait a few weeks before you book your plane tickets just in case. I've always thought that the Scottish Govt gave the developer the nod of approval a while back but I note that the only Councillor on the planning committee to object was SNP and that the local Greens MSP is making a big noise about it. I doubt the Scottish Govt will change their mind but it wouldn't be the first time that politicians changed their minds out of expediency.

Niall

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tim Gallant on June 21, 2018, 08:39:20 AM
Tim

I've reread the Scotsman and read the BBC report and the difference seems to me that the Scotsman story is about the reaction to the decision to grant planning rather than about the decision itself. In other words they are endeavoring to move the story on. As I said, build it up and then knock it down.

As an aside I also read the Times this morning and from memory it similarly had a number of comments from opponents of the scheme. I think they also made the Trump comparison. As another aside, I don't think this decision was unexpected and I'd hazard a guess that the quotes you read in the Scotsman piece were probably pre-prepared PR's sent out when the decision was made. Same tactics from both sides.

Ally

I'd wait a few weeks before you book your plane tickets just in case. I've always thought that the Scottish Govt gave the developer the nod of approval a while back but I note that the only Councillor on the planning committee to object was SNP and that the local Greens MSP is making a big noise about it. I doubt the Scottish Govt will change their mind but it wouldn't be the first time that politicians changed their minds out of expediency.

Niall


Fair enough if the article is covering the reaction, but it can still be presented in an unbiased way. 9 quotes for the opposition, 4 for the course, and those for the course are all at the very bottom of the article. Not exactly objective. I don't mind if this is the writer's opinion, but make it clear that it is an opinion piece, not a news story.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 21, 2018, 09:27:42 AM
Tim

They are merely reflecting the depth of the opposition. Really Tim, you'd think your paperboy had hit you over the head with the Scotsman judging by the way you are going on  ;)

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tim Gallant on June 21, 2018, 10:25:08 AM
Tim

They are merely reflecting the depth of the opposition. Really Tim, you'd think your paperboy had hit you over the head with the Scotsman judging by the way you are going on  ;)

Niall


 ;D ;D  Hehehe! True.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on June 21, 2018, 01:14:03 PM
Tim

They are merely reflecting the depth of the opposition. Really Tim, you'd think your paperboy had hit you over the head with the Scotsman judging by the way you are going on  ;)

Niall



What depth of opposition Niall? If you mean getting lots of people to sign a petition against something they have no proper grasp of being built in a place they have probably not heard of let alone visited then I will give you that. But then again if from a world population of 7 billion they found less than 100k to sign maybe the opposition was very small.


On the other side of the scales the pro side did not go down the route of whipping up a lot of noise concentrating on the local opinion which was well informed and knew what the local effects would be. Local opinion was almost exclusively behind the project.


Finally, the Green MSP was not elected by the local population but rather was a list MSP which is fair enough as far as it goes but I do not think he attended any of the information events to talk to locals or offer a counterpoint though I maybe incorrect in this.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: William_G on June 21, 2018, 01:36:56 PM
Tim

They are merely reflecting the depth of the opposition. Really Tim, you'd think your paperboy had hit you over the head with the Scotsman judging by the way you are going on  ;)

Niall



What depth of opposition Niall? If you mean getting lots of people to sign a petition against something they have no proper grasp of being built in a place they have probably not heard of let alone visited then I will give you that. But then again if from a world population of 7 billion they found less than 100k to sign maybe the opposition was very small.

Jon

LOL
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jerry Kluger on June 21, 2018, 03:44:10 PM
I dealt with courts and prosecutions for many years and I always wondered why people would try arguments with respect to the law which really had no bearing on the issue at hand.  Often the judge would become very skeptical of all of their arguments, even those which had significant merit.  To me, the issue here is whether building the golf course will have such a negative impact on the environment that it should not be built.  It seems that environmental considerations have become far greater now than they have ever been and to argue the positive economic impact of a project is almost irrelevant. How many courses in the US are being built in environmentally sensitive areas and how many courses that were built not that long ago would be permitted today, i.e. Ocean Course at Kiawah for one.  So while we all would like to see this course built because of the track records of the architects and developers, economic impact should not really be part of the determination. 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on June 21, 2018, 04:58:39 PM
I dealt with courts and prosecutions for many years and I always wondered why people would try arguments with respect to the law which really had no bearing on the issue at hand.  Often the judge would become very skeptical of all of their arguments, even those which had significant merit.  To me, the issue here is whether building the golf course will have such a negative impact on the environment that it should not be built.  It seems that environmental considerations have become far greater now than they have ever been and to argue the positive economic impact of a project is almost irrelevant. How many courses in the US are being built in environmentally sensitive areas and how many courses that were built not that long ago would be permitted today, i.e. Ocean Course at Kiawah for one.  So while we all would like to see this course built because of the track records of the architects and developers, economic impact should not really be part of the determination.



Jerry,


but you have to have some context to the argument. If the site really is so important to the environment as the RSPB would have us believe then why has this very well funded organisation not only never spent a single penny on it and not even bothered to put a maintenance plan together for it? If you look at the situation as it has been till today and what would happen to the site if it carries on. Then look at what is promised in the new project then it really is not a difficult decision to reach.



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on June 21, 2018, 06:16:20 PM
Jerry does have a point.


If that entire community withers and dies on the vine and goes ghost town, those dunes and habitat will almost assuredly not have to worry about mankind tromping on it....
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Marty Bonnar on June 21, 2018, 06:21:29 PM
Kalen,
The communities of the Highlands have had a lot worse done to them than someone building a golf course there.
There's a big statue on a hill overlooking the site which is rather sad testament to that. How it's still standing is quite the mystery.
F.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on June 21, 2018, 06:26:32 PM
Kalen,
The communities of the Highlands have had a lot worse done to them than someone building a golf course there.
There's a big statue on a hill overlooking the site which is rather sad testament to that. How it's still standing is quite the mystery.
F.


Marty,


I was being flippant, but to bring it back... I would think a golf course could be a good middle ground.  I admit I don't have any context to that area's history, but is going from one extreme to another the answer?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Marty Bonnar on June 21, 2018, 06:36:19 PM
K,
Yes, I generally agree. A golf course on that site, PROPERLY AND SENSITIVELY MANAGED, could certainly be beneficial to nature, to the local economy and to the local populace.
I'd go as far as to say that a golf course development there might even be a better outcome than the present state of management, which might be best described as benign neglect. Not that I'm saying benign neglect isn't a perfectly good management strategy - it certainly is in many instances. Nature will look after itself given the right circumstances.
Some people fear change.
Machrihanish Dunes, for example, is an outstanding example of what can be achieved when agencies, owners and operators work together.
Sic transit, Gloria Swanson.
F.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jerry Kluger on June 21, 2018, 09:22:26 PM
The fact is that the site has existed for a very long time and there is a proposal to modify it - the issue of whether the golf course will harm the existing environment or not has nothing to do with the economics of what the golf course may provide. After the construction it may provide a few jobs but it certainly will not cause an economic boom in the area.  Do the locals really care if they can play the course at a 25% discount in the off season?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ken Moum on June 21, 2018, 09:43:39 PM
.
There's a big statue on a hill overlooking the site which is rather sad testament to that. How it's still standing is quite the mystery.
F.


I actually asked a Scot one night in a pub why it hadn't  been dynamited off the side of hill, and he said. "Well, we're not the the Irish you know."


Of course you know the other reason, it's a reminder of how things can go.


K
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 22, 2018, 05:16:38 AM

What depth of opposition Niall? If you mean getting lots of people to sign a petition against something they have no proper grasp of being built in a place they have probably not heard of let alone visited then I will give you that. But then again if from a world population of 7 billion they found less than 100k to sign maybe the opposition was very small.

I like that argument. Never mind the 90,000 signatures and all the environmental groups and agencies, they are but a drop in the ocean of the world population. Still a much bigger drop in the ocean than those supporting mind you, but let’s not spoil a good argument. And of course none of those that signed the petition are locals. We know that because………eh, someone said so ?

On the other side of the scales the pro side did not go down the route of whipping up a lot of noise concentrating on the local opinion which was well informed and knew what the local effects would be. Local opinion was almost exclusively behind the project.

Jon, my good friend, I had two competing pictures of you in my head as I read that. The first one was a picture of your nose getting longer and the other was you with tongue firmly in cheek. I think I prefer the second. As I said to Tim, both sides have been fairly energetic and adept at promoting their case and as to who’s points are more valid, well you pay your money you take your pick.  

Finally, the Green MSP was not elected by the local population but rather was a list MSP which is fair enough as far as it goes but I do not think he attended any of the information events to talk to locals or offer a counterpoint though I maybe incorrect in this.

I too share your “love” of the democratic process as practised in this country. Nevertheless, it is what it is. The MSP is not compelled to attend any roadshow and you could argue that a more objective view is obtained by not attending but instead considering the written submissions only. Of course he is a member of the Green party which kind of suggests him taking an objective view is unlikely anyway, but still, it doesn’t mean his views are any less valid.

Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on June 22, 2018, 11:53:11 AM
I dealt with courts and prosecutions for many years and I always wondered why people would try arguments with respect to the law which really had no bearing on the issue at hand.  Often the judge would become very skeptical of all of their arguments, even those which had significant merit.  To me, the issue here is whether building the golf course will have such a negative impact on the environment that it should not be built.  It seems that environmental considerations have become far greater now than they have ever been and to argue the positive economic impact of a project is almost irrelevant. How many courses in the US are being built in environmentally sensitive areas and how many courses that were built not that long ago would be permitted today, i.e. Ocean Course at Kiawah for one.  So while we all would like to see this course built because of the track records of the architects and developers, economic impact should not really be part of the determination.


The issue is/was a bit more multi-faceted than this on both the environmental and economic fronts.


Environmental: The existing site has been mismanaged for decades. I believe this is what did in the opposing groups. Where has their concern for the SSSI been for the past 50 years? Where was the management plan to preserve, protect and nurture the location?


The course developers are pledging 50,000 pounds.yr. to remediate, manage and maintain the site including parts of the SSSI.


Economic: I think what Jerry says above leaves out some key points about the possible economic impact that a golf course can have on a more remote location. As an example, in 2008 - when Castle Stuart opened an hour away (and this has been discussed 4-5 times here already...;-) Dornoch saw a NET LOSS of room nights and tourist revenue in the town. Golfers would base their stay in the Inverness area and come up to Dornoch for the day, recieve their box lunch on their coach and return to play Nairn in the afternoon. RDGC wins, but the town itself does not benefit.

The economic argument goes WAY past the jobs created by operating a new golf course. When Coul opens (2020?) it is envisioned that golfers will stay in Dornoch for 1-3 nights to play RDGC, Coul and (hopefully) Brora and Golspie. THAT is where the economic benefits will be derived. (Hotel nights, restaurants, bars, shops, etc.)

Again, just look at Bandon, OR and Inverness, NS for examples.


If the economic case was not strong, I do not believe that the project would have been so well-received by the residents of Embo and Dornoch. In this case, environmental AND economic rationales were considered by the ruling bodies (not legislative ones, mind you). The developers addressed both thoroughly and were acknowledged accordingly.


And while a vigorous "Not another Trump scenario" defense was put forth by those opposed to the project, they acted much like the US' "Resist" and "Never Trump" movements: Everyone understands what they are against, yet they can never seem to quite articulate what they are FOR and what they intend to actually DO about it.


(Disclosure: I am not a Trump fan....;-)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Lynn_Shackelford on June 22, 2018, 04:41:32 PM
Agreed.  I am coming to this debate with little background so maybe this argument against the project has already been made.  I would have said if you want to enhance the economy in the area, a substantial upgrade to the Struie Course would be an alternative.  Secondly, a financial effort to promote Golspie and Brora through advertising and with an improved maintenance budget seems to me would entice visitors to spend more time and hence money in the area.  As for the environmentalists, who seldom lack in funds, a promise to overseer and provide funds for the environmental upkeep of the golf course site would seem to give the government a reason to examine an alternative.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jerry Kluger on June 22, 2018, 05:43:45 PM
Ian: I just don't see how this is going to benefit the local economy when you say that "hopefully" golfers will play Golspie and Brora as well as RD and CL.  Your comparison to Bandon is completely off as you are dealing with a self contained resort with 5 courses and very few of those who come there do anything other than play golf at Bandon, stay in rooms at Bandon and eat at the restaurants at Bandon.  The better comparison is Carnoustie which certainly is as much of a draw as most any course other than TOC yet golfers stay in St Andrews and go to Carnoustie for the day and go back to St Andrews - they don't play the other courses including Panmure which is very good. Again, I am certainly not against the building of CL but I agree with Lynn that a commitment to market it along with RD and Brora and Golspie would have far more credibility as actually being concerned with the economy of that area.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Peter Pallotta on June 22, 2018, 07:21:00 PM
Intriguing evidence that what we're discussing and debating around here on gca.com isn't actually great golf courses, and even less the art & craft of great golf course architecture, but instead a range of issues related to personal narratives and egos and value & belief systems. We're now on the 23rd page of a months-long discussion (ostensibly) about one *possible* new golf course, by one of *many* qualified architectural firms, financed by one of a *dozen* American billionaires with an interest in golf, located in one *small* region within one of a *hundred* sub-national jurisdictions around the world where the game is played -- in short: a blip, really, but one that has engendered tens of thousands of words and heightened emotions.
23 whole pages of impassioned posts on 'Keiser's Coul Links Project' -- more posts/pages than some 50 'purely' architectural threads combined.
I wonder what that's about. I wonder what we're all actually doing around here -- what draws us in and keeps most of us coming back for more. This gca.com increasingly seems to me a vehicle and metaphor both -- but a vehicle to where and a metaphor for what?


Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on June 22, 2018, 10:01:49 PM
Very true, Peter....


Let’s be honest, there’s nothing left to say about GCA that hasn’t been repeated on here many times over.


Only if you all overnight became actual designers rather than armchair ones would there be new angles, discussions and intriguing takes on the art of architecture itself.


So it leaves the new topics about history, the business and new golf courses... very occasionally a quality old course gets highlighted that is new to everyone. That’s about it.


Strategy, routing, bunker styles have all been debated ad nauseum in a theoretical manner that usually bears little resemblance to the decisions that need to be made on the ground... Still makes for good reading though.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on June 23, 2018, 02:31:00 AM

Jerry, Lynn,


have you actually read the projects concept?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 23, 2018, 06:17:15 AM
Some interesting comments gents. The one that struck me was this concept that somehow a SSSI should be managed (for that read cultivated and maintained) in the same way as public parks and gardens. I've never heard that before. To the best of my knowledge the "management" of a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which is what SSSI stands for, is about preserving the conditions that made the land a SSSI in the first place. As FBD would put it that largely involves some benign neglect ie. leaving well alone.

I'm therefore surprised anyone is seriously suggesting that building a golf course over part of the land and thereafter spending money on various measures is going to increase the environmental or ecological value of the SSSI. At best any money spent is going to be mitigation for the damage done with the building of the golf course.

There also seems to be this perception amongst some that somehow the "authorities" have failed in looking after this site. That basically misunderstands local government and central governments roll in the process. Their roll is largely about regulation, not ownership. This site is privately owned and the local authority and Scottish Government can only regulate how it is used. So if there has been a failing by the "authorities" it has not been historically but through the granting of this planning permission.

As an aside, I might add that the landowner who has presided over the period of supposed neglect, is also party to the development of the golf course which to my mind is somewhat ironic. 

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on June 23, 2018, 08:45:54 AM
Some interesting comments gents. The one that struck me was this concept that somehow a SSSI should be managed (for that read cultivated and maintained) in the same way as public parks and gardens. I've never heard that before. To the best of my knowledge the "management" of a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which is what SSSI stands for, is about preserving the conditions that made the land a SSSI in the first place. As FBD would put it that largely involves some benign neglect ie. leaving well alone.

I'm therefore surprised anyone is seriously suggesting that building a golf course over part of the land and thereafter spending money on various measures is going to increase the environmental or ecological value of the SSSI. At best any money spent is going to be mitigation for the damage done with the building of the golf course.

There also seems to be this perception amongst some that somehow the "authorities" have failed in looking after this site. That basically misunderstands local government and central governments roll in the process. Their roll is largely about regulation, not ownership. This site is privately owned and the local authority and Scottish Government can only regulate how it is used. So if there has been a failing by the "authorities" it has not been historically but through the granting of this planning permission.

As an aside, I might add that the landowner who has presided over the period of supposed neglect, is also party to the development of the golf course which to my mind is somewhat ironic. 

Niall



Niall,


I am stunned at how ill informed you are on the subject of SSSIs.


Firstly, a SSSI is usually about maintaining an area in a particular phase of its development. As nature is always evolving this means actual maintenance as if you 'benignly neglect' a site as you put it said site will evolve and alter into something else. The site at Embo for instance is being overrun by diverse invasive plant species and animals. If no work is undertaken to counter this then the site as it is will be lost in a matter of decades. Have you never wondered why the heathland courses which were open courses when built have become largely tree lined courses today? or did you think the clubs planted all those birches and pines ;)


As to the 'authorities' statement you make I would point out the following. Yes the site is privately owned but the SSSI is a governmental tag and it is up to the various bodies (RSPB, SNH, SEPA, Highland council, etc) between then to ensure the site is suitably managed. In addition, it is not the case that the 'authorities' can just turn up and inform a landowner that his land is being designated. There has to be an arrangement in which the landowners rights to use their own land as they see fit is protected. It is then up to the 'authorities' to put together a maintenance plan, then to implement and finance said plan. So you assertions on this manner are incorrect. The landowner is not responsible to finance nor maintain any programme for the SSSI.



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on June 23, 2018, 09:15:34 AM
Ian: I just don't see how this is going to benefit the local economy when you say that "hopefully" golfers will play Golspie and Brora as well as RD and CL.  Your comparison to Bandon is completely off as you are dealing with a self contained resort with 5 courses and very few of those who come there do anything other than play golf at Bandon, stay in rooms at Bandon and eat at the restaurants at Bandon.  The better comparison is Carnoustie which certainly is as much of a draw as most any course other than TOC yet golfers stay in St Andrews and go to Carnoustie for the day and go back to St Andrews - they don't play the other courses including Panmure which is very good. Again, I am certainly not against the building of CL but I agree with Lynn that a commitment to market it along with RD and Brora and Golspie would have far more credibility as actually being concerned with the economy of that area.


PS, to Lynn.


I've been campaigning as a long time member at Dornoch for the past 20+ years to invest in the Struie before thinking about a new clubhouse and changing the Championship course and other foolish plans.  Several past Captains replied with sympathetic letters but not empathetic ones.  C'est la vie.


Just imagine a Struie with 27 holes--a 2800 one a 3200 on and a 3600 one.  The 6800 would be a world class course, the 6000 one perfect for juniors and seniors, the 2800 a great start for beginners or just people who want to play an easy 9 holes in an hour or so.  A small clubhouse out near what is now the 5th and 7th tees, ideal for juniors, seniors and all others alike.  No need to demolish the current clubhouse and build a space ship out by the helicopter landing landing pad.


Sigh......


rfg



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 23, 2018, 10:28:32 AM
Jon

No need to be stunned, the number of things I don't really know about is legion !

While I take your point about succession on the heathland courses, the point I was making was that the "management" of the site was far more about prevention of certain activities rather than active and extensive intervention. That's active and extensive relative to the upkeep of say a public park. And by prevention I mean preventing things like, say, putting down 50 odd acres of manicured turf for instance.

I also take your point about the designation of SSSI sites, which as I understand is delegated to SNH, and the process that involves the owners input that can lead to a Management Plan being agreed, and that grant funding is available for that. However beyond that the role of SNH is prevention of certain detrimental uses is it not ?

As an aside, when I referred to authorities earlier I was thinking of more the local authority and Scottish Government whose role is very much regulatory one although I appreciate SNH's funding (mostly ?) comes from Scottish Government.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 23, 2018, 10:42:11 AM
Lynn

The tourist organisation in Scotland is Visit Scotland who have a mixed rep as far as I can see. I think they tend to go for bigger picture marketing initiatives although I'm sure there are folk on here who can speak about them far more knowledgably than me.

One of their initiatives in recent years is the marketing of the North Coast Route 500 (is that what it's called ?) which is the route going round the top of Scotland and down either coasts. That has already been fairly successful such that the limited infrastructure ie. roads, accommodation, eating places, is already creaking particularly round about the north west apparently. It occurs to me that developing another caravan park on Embo might have more of a beneficial economic impact for the local area than the proposed golf course.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Lou_Duran on June 23, 2018, 04:52:14 PM
As an aside, I might add that the landowner who has presided over the period of supposed neglect, is also party to the development of the golf course which to my mind is somewhat ironic. 

Adam Smith must be rolling in his grave that fellow Scots would deprive an owner from using and enjoying the fruits of HIS property.  If the SSI designation is so appropriate and important for Scottish society, shouldn't the private owner be compensated by the government for what is essentially the taking of his land?

To me, the issue here is whether building the golf course will have such a negative impact on the environment that it should not be built.  It seems that environmental considerations have become far greater now than they have ever been and to argue the positive economic impact of a project is almost irrelevant.  ......  So while we all would like to see this course built because of the track records of the architects and developers, economic impact should not really be part of the determination.

Wow, nature and the environment exist independent of people!  And who has stipulated that building the golf course has "such a negative impact on the environment"?  Certainly not the property owner, the development group, and, reportedly, a considerable majority of local stakeholders.  "Environmental considerations" are largely a function of political philosophy and which group currently swings the sledgehammer.  I would suggest that consideration of any environmental proposal must include the relevant costs and benefits.

We made a brief visit to the proposed site after the Buda and I can't say I was blown away.  I have no idea what the scientific value is or how society at large benefits from prohibiting the owner to develop his land as proposed.

I do believe that a quality links could have a significant economic impact locally, though I can also understand why those who already have theirs (NIMBYs) might resist change, more visitors, congestion, etc.  I suppose that the point of diminishing returns might be approached where having many more golf tourists paying £160-£200 for a round of golf to support the members' annual subscriptions of £500-£600 is no longer worth the inconveniences of a busier course.  If I was an international member at RD, I may be concerned that my annual visits might get much more expensive.



   
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on June 23, 2018, 08:51:50 PM
I do wonder what the point is of paying experts to designate SSSI sites only to have other paid people say its okay to disturb the land because the economic benefit is more important. Isn't that why SSSI sites are named, at least in part so the land can be preserved from economic concerns?  Like Niall, I too wonder what was so horrible about the stewardship of the land and then to reward the supposed transgressions by allowing the keeper of the land to sell.  None of it makes much sense to me, but hey, there will be another golf course which will surely save the Highlands from economic ruin.  Lets hope the project does better than shameful Trump's folly. But I have to wonder at the logic of the expectation that more people will stay in the immediate area when accommodation isn't part of the plan.


Yes Rihc, why hasn't RD made a meal of the Struie...very strange that.


Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on June 23, 2018, 09:30:21 PM
Agreed.  I am coming to this debate with little background so maybe this argument against the project has already been made.  I would have said if you want to enhance the economy in the area, a substantial upgrade to the Struie Course would be an alternative.  Secondly, a financial effort to promote Golspie and Brora through advertising and with an improved maintenance budget seems to me would entice visitors to spend more time and hence money in the area.  As for the environmentalists, who seldom lack in funds, a promise to overseer and provide funds for the environmental upkeep of the golf course site would seem to give the government a reason to examine an alternative.


Funny that you say that, Lynn, as that was the precise genesis of the project in 2013.
Bill Coore first came to Dornoch and looked at the Struie in the hopes that it showed potential as a renovation candidate. In the end, he determined that the Struie could not be suitably altered.


“Go take a look up the road, just past Embo,” someone told him. “Let me know what you think of the property by Coul farm.”


Lastly, give the developers some time to get sorted.
Let’s see what happens with the other clubs.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on June 23, 2018, 09:46:45 PM
That last point is interesting, Ian.


Are you suggesting that Keiser / Warnock might invest in Golspie and Brora or is that wild conjecture?


In the case of Golspie (which I love), I think some investment could help the course. In the case of Brora (which I also love), I’m less sure.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on June 24, 2018, 03:14:08 AM

Niall,


I do not follow or agree with the all or nothing position being pushed by those who are sceptical of the project. If you look at the percentage that will be intensively maintained as sports turf it is a very small number. Is it not better to loose a 3% amount to a golf course whilst not only looking after the other 97% but also adding a further piece of land thus increasing the actually area maintained as/like the SSSI. Or is it better to let all of it degrade through doing nothing. If we really want the land to be left in its natural state then most of it would be woodland. There is a misconception that SSSIs are to protect the natural state of the land which could not be further from the truth. Heathland, duneland, moorland in the UK is 99.9% a manmade environment and left to nature Coul Links would not look like it does today.


I do wonder what the point is of paying experts to designate SSSI sites only to have other paid people say its okay to disturb the land because the economic benefit is more important. Isn't that why SSSI sites are named, at least in part so the land can be preserved from economic concerns?  Like Niall, I too wonder what was so horrible about the stewardship of the land and then to reward the supposed transgressions by allowing the keeper of the land to sell.  None of it makes much sense to me, but hey, there will be another golf course which will surely save the Highlands from economic ruin.  Lets hope the project does better than shameful Trump's folly. But I have to wonder at the logic of the expectation that more people will stay in the immediate area when accommodation isn't part of the plan.


Yes Rihc, why hasn't RD made a meal of the Struie...very strange that.


Ciao


Sean,


have you thought about reading up on any of the topics you touch on in your post. There is a ton of easily accessible information on all of them. I agree with you and Rich about Struie.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on June 24, 2018, 06:22:42 AM
Jon


I don't think the Sean and I are in agreement, or maybe Sean just made a tyop(TM) when he he said:


"...why hasn't RD made a meal of the Struie...very strange that."
[/size][/color]
[/size]RD has in fact "made a meal" of the Struie (i.e. FUBAR in American.....).[/color]
[/size][/color]
[/size]Ian[/color]
[/size][/color]
[/size]I respect Mr. Coore's opinions, and enjoyed his work at Sand Hills, but Robin Heisman's work on the current Struie (holes 9-13, greens on 5, 7 and 14)) tells me that there is a very good 27-hole golf course out there waiting to be built.[/color]

[/size]rfg[/color]



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on June 24, 2018, 07:17:08 AM
Jon


I don't think the Sean and I are in agreement, or maybe Sean just made a tyop(TM) when he he said:


"...why hasn't RD made a meal of the Struie...very strange that."

RD has in fact "made a meal" of the Struie (i.e. FUBAR in American.....).

Ian

I respect Mr. Coore's opinions, and enjoyed his work at Sand Hills, but Robin Heisman's work on the current Struie (holes 9-13, greens on 5, 7 and 14)) tells me that there is a very good 27-hole golf course out there waiting to be built.

rfg



Maybe
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 24, 2018, 08:05:28 AM
Jon

Your point about succession in your last two posts is well made with nature forever being in a state of flux. However I'll stick to my point about lightness of touch or benign neglect, whatever you want to call it, being a far better "solution" than wholesale development of a chunk of the site with another chunk of un-proven mitigation thrown in.

I may be cynical, in fact let me confess to being cynical, and say that what ever supposed shortcomings SNH have had in relation to this site are being used by the landowner and the developer as a pretext for making money/building a golf course.

However let me get back to the first sentence in your last response to me about the all or nothing approach of those against the development. Surely the same can be said about the developer with the this is where the course is going take it or leave it. That is one of the main concerns I have about this development and Trumps development at Balmedie. Just like Balmedie where a course could have been built on less sensitive land, the same is happening at Embo.

At Balmedie the planners wanted them to move the course to another part of the land and Trump said no. He said that knowing he had the support of the Scottish Govt. The same thing seems to have happened at Embo where politicians have undermined the system. Just my opinion.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 24, 2018, 08:07:49 AM
Lou

I'm no Adam Smith scholar but know he talked about the hidden hand of market forces etc and how that affected the price of bread etc but not sure he talked much about planning policy. Perhaps you can enlighten us.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on June 24, 2018, 11:03:35 AM

Niall,


I do take your point but ask for the following clarification. Define '
benign neglect' [/size]in relation to management of a SSSI in order to maintain it in its current state.[/color][/size][/font]
[/size][/color]
[/size][/color][/size][/font]
[/size][/color]
[/size]I would generally be against development within SSSI sites but given that the site has not been managed at all and will cease to retain the characteristics that made it a SSSI in a matter of decades combined with the obvious indifference to future maintenance of the site were planning permission refused I would suggest long term for the site it is better the course go ahead.[/color][/size][/font]
[/size][/color]
[/size][/color][/size][/font]
[/size][/color]
[/size]Jon[/color][/size][/font]
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 25, 2018, 08:19:35 AM
Jon

No hard definition of benign neglect but generally where doing nothing rather than making wholesale changes, as in this instance, might be the better choice. Of course that depends on what timescales you are looking at. If you are looking at it over a good many decades as you suggest then you perhaps could make a case but even then, if you allow me to make an analogy, it’s like the amputation of a limb when a few stitches might be a much more sensible solution. 

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Lou_Duran on June 25, 2018, 11:00:28 AM
Lou

I'm no Adam Smith scholar but know he talked about the hidden hand of market forces etc and how that affected the price of bread etc but not sure he talked much about planning policy. Perhaps you can enlighten us.

Niall

I haven't visited Smith for 40+ years, nor have ever been accused of being a scholar of any type.   However, the concept of property, real property and the underlying bundle of rights in particular, have been of great interest to me for longer than that. 

AS didn't theorize as much as observed that wealth is created through the use of private property to produce income greater than the cost of production and the owner's personal consumption.  Property rights incentivized and enabled their holders to more efficiently allocate resources through the operation and discipline of markets.  I can give any number of examples where stripping the rights of owners to enjoy their property resulted in the rapid decline of property, the economy, and society at large.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSuETYEgY68

I don't know what AS thought about planning policy specifically, though I suspect that he was not a fan of central planning in conflict with millions of people making individual choices as to the type, price, and quantities of bread (or most any product or service for that matter) they chose to purchase.  He would not, for example, be surprised that the care of the Coul Links SSSI has been neglected being that the private owner is essentially prohibited from using his property for gain.

A superior approach, IMO, would be for the government, in the interest of the community and the country, acquire the designated land from the owner AND assume the stewardship the SSSI deserves.  A person with your skills and talent can assist all stakeholders in determining the fair market value of the land being taken (it is done every day in eminent domain cases; in the U.S., if the owner and government entity can't come up with a mutually agreed value, the owner can file suit in district court, I think, and sometimes prevail at a considerable higher price than paid in the taking).

As to the designation itself, my bet is that it is much more of a political than scientific process.  And, as we know, that can change in a dime. 

   
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on June 25, 2018, 11:18:52 AM




https://www.sundaypost.com/news/scottish-news/aristocrats-tycoons-and-billionaires-the-people-who-really-own-scotland-2/


Aristocrats, tycoons and billionaires … the people who really own Scotland
A major investigation by The Sunday Post has laid bare the 30 aristocrats, foreign tycoons and charities who own the largest chunks of the 19.5 million acres that make up the country.[/font][/color][/font][/size]
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: MClutterbuck on June 25, 2018, 01:29:02 PM
Agreed.  I am coming to this debate with little background so maybe this argument against the project has already been made.  I would have said if you want to enhance the economy in the area, a substantial upgrade to the Struie Course would be an alternative.  Secondly, a financial effort to promote Golspie and Brora through advertising and with an improved maintenance budget seems to me would entice visitors to spend more time and hence money in the area.  As for the environmentalists, who seldom lack in funds, a promise to overseer and provide funds for the environmental upkeep of the golf course site would seem to give the government a reason to examine an alternative.


Absolutely loved Brora. Royal Dornoch is up there with the best. Given how much of GB&I I still have to see, I honestly think I will come back and stay at Dornoch in the foreseeable future only if Coul Links is built. No marketing of Golspie and Brora will do anything remotely close to what Coul will do to the local economy.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: MClutterbuck on June 25, 2018, 01:31:44 PM
Ian: I just don't see how this is going to benefit the local economy when you say that "hopefully" golfers will play Golspie and Brora as well as RD and CL.  Your comparison to Bandon is completely off as you are dealing with a self contained resort with 5 courses and very few of those who come there do anything other than play golf at Bandon, stay in rooms at Bandon and eat at the restaurants at Bandon.  The better comparison is Carnoustie which certainly is as much of a draw as most any course other than TOC yet golfers stay in St Andrews and go to Carnoustie for the day and go back to St Andrews - they don't play the other courses including Panmure which is very good. Again, I am certainly not against the building of CL but I agree with Lynn that a commitment to market it along with RD and Brora and Golspie would have far more credibility as actually being concerned with the economy of that area.


Coul Links to date (and prior to any earth being moved) has created more hype and actual golfers wanting to visit, than any course in the immediate vicinity of Carnoustie has in the last 100 years.

In fact your example is perfect to support Coul Links.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on June 25, 2018, 02:04:07 PM
Ian: I just don't see how this is going to benefit the local economy when you say that "hopefully" golfers will play Golspie and Brora as well as RD and CL.  Your comparison to Bandon is completely off as you are dealing with a self contained resort with 5 courses and very few of those who come there do anything other than play golf at Bandon, stay in rooms at Bandon and eat at the restaurants at Bandon.  The better comparison is Carnoustie which certainly is as much of a draw as most any course other than TOC yet golfers stay in St Andrews and go to Carnoustie for the day and go back to St Andrews - they don't play the other courses including Panmure which is very good. Again, I am certainly not against the building of CL but I agree with Lynn that a commitment to market it along with RD and Brora and Golspie would have far more credibility as actually being concerned with the economy of that area.


Coul Links to date (and prior to any earth being moved) has created more hype and actual golfers wanting to visit, than any course in the immediate vicinity of Carnoustie has in the last 100 years.

In fact your example is perfect to support Coul Links.


Just look at Ayrshire, as an example.


Turnberry and Troon are the championship "anchors" that make the SW coast a destination.
My first trip was there in 1990 and we then also played Prestwick (analogous to Brora) and Western Gailes.


If there was only one cornerstone course, would it be a destination? Would we have stayed to play the (arguably) "lesser two"? (Although Western Gailes still ranks as one of all-time favorites.)


(Ok, ok, ok...I know all about Prestwick and its history....relax...;-)


Same with when we went to St. Andrews. (Also in 1990)
We also played Carnoustie, but then played Scotts Craig and Ladybank.


My point is: One championship course is a draw, but TWO make a destination.
Mike Keiser has been told he is crazy no less than 4 times. Just was at Sand Valley over the weekend. 300 people employed all-in there now including caddies. Plus, the tee sheet is full through August already.


Sure, Coul will not have lodging. But, the intent was always to let the local businesses address that.

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on June 25, 2018, 05:29:12 PM
Marcos, Ian,


You’re getting a little carried away with the hype around Coul though. This being based on the GCA love affair with Keiser & Coore.


99% of the golfing public will still consider Carnoustie the bigger draw.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on June 25, 2018, 08:14:17 PM
Marcos, Ian,


You’re getting a little carried away with the hype around Coul though. This being based on the GCA love affair with Keiser & Coore.


99% of the golfing public will still consider Carnoustie the bigger draw.


Thanks, Ally, but I think not. Appreciate the sentiments, but they are misplaced.
I could put metrics behind my views, but...well, why bother, right?


Just look at any...and I mean ANY "Top 100" list and count the CC/Keiser courses.
If that's hype then I'm on board...;-)


Cheers.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on June 25, 2018, 09:18:12 PM
They are beating the drum already:

https://www.golfadvisor.com/articles/coul-links-impact-17809.htm
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Lou_Duran on June 25, 2018, 09:47:36 PM
They are beating the drum already:

https://www.golfadvisor.com/articles/coul-links-impact-17809.htm

David,

As a long time visitor to the area and with your knowledge of the site, what do you think are the prospects for the course if it gets built with some similarity to the plans?  Will it drive demand in the area for hospitality, restaurants, and other services?  How might it impact the membership and operations at RD?

Bill Coore gives the site the highest praise in the video clip from above.  My untrained eye didn't pick up on the promise, at least not from where we had a limited panoramic view.  Is the hype warranted? 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on June 25, 2018, 10:48:57 PM
Marcos, Ian,


You’re getting a little carried away with the hype around Coul though. This being based on the GCA love affair with Keiser & Coore.


99% of the golfing public will still consider Carnoustie the bigger draw.


Thanks, Ally, but I think not. Appreciate the sentiments, but they are misplaced.
I could put metrics behind my views, but...well, why bother, right?


Just look at any...and I mean ANY "Top 100" list and count the CC/Keiser courses.
If that's hype then I'm on board...;-)


Cheers.


99% may be a overstatement but there is a huge difference: Every other Keiser / Coore course isn’t placed near 15 other genuine links courses with public access, 100 years of major championship history and similar Top 100 status. Nor are they in a country where the names Keiser and Coore mean very little to all but the real GCA nuts.


I’m not questioning that it will likely end up a Top-100 course (at least for the next 20 years as all the raters will automatically love it). I’m not questioning that it will have plenty visitors or that it will be a great course.


I’m just saying that it won’t necessarily have the same pull for tourists as Bandon does (for example) for those who live in the western half of the US.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on June 26, 2018, 09:44:35 AM
Ally, you may indeed be correct.


Or, for another opinion, I refer you to this article from yesterday: https://www.golfadvisor.com/articles/coul-links-impact-17809.htm


Hyperbole? Perhaps a wee bit.
But, thematically, it is in-line with what I have endeavored to espouse.


CC/Keiser courses can be played over and over again and tourists make specific (and very inconvenient) return pilgrimages to play them.


Carnoustie, OTOH, for me: it was "one and done". The only thing memorable about it (aside from the opening few holes and Hogan's Alley) was getting our van stuck under one of the stone bridges because we were late driving up from St. Andrews...;-)


Trump Aberdeen is also a "one and done" course for belt-notching box-checkers.

RDGC is a course that can be played over and over and my wife loves it, too.
My guess is that Coul may be the site of CC's "Chef D'Oeuvre" making Dornoch a must-see repeat destination.

Ok, I cede to you that last line was all hype...;-)

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on June 26, 2018, 01:18:53 PM
"As a long time visitor to the area and with your knowledge of the site, what do you think are the prospects for the course if it gets built with some similarity to the plans?  Will it drive demand in the area for hospitality, restaurants, and other services?  How might it impact the membership and operations at RD?

Bill Coore gives the site the highest praise in the video clip from above.  My untrained eye didn't pick up on the promise, at least not from where we had a limited panoramic view.  Is the hype warranted?"

Lou -

As you can imagine, I am very interested to see how everything plays out. I am very hopeful there will be a "spillover" impact that brings more visitor play to Golspie, Brora & Tain. However, I wonder if the "belt-notchers" and tour bus crowd will simply come, play RD & CL on successive days (spending a night in Dornoch) and then head back south. 

From an artistic and marketing standpoint, Castle Stuart has been as successful a venture as could be hoped for. The course has been very well received by the critics and has garnered enormous exposure/publicity worldwide by hosting the Scottish Open on TV multiple times. Yet even after being open for 7-8 years now, my understanding is the course does not see 10,000 rounds of play a year. It is hard to imagine Coul Links doing much better than that.

DT 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on June 27, 2018, 05:46:17 AM
Ally

All your points are valid. However to my mind it is largely going to be aimed at the North American market. And while the North American market represents a much smaller percentage of visitor rounds in Scotland than some on here imagine, numerically it is still a lot of visitors and Dornoch seems to be near the top of the list for Americans.

The other thing that will give them an edge, is like Kingsbarns and Castle Stuart, they are dedicated pay and play whereas other courses have to cater for their members every now and again. However, as David has said above, if CS is only getting 10,000 rounds a year on the back of all the exposure and favourable comment it received then how many will Embo get ? How many rounds do they need to break even for their type of operation ?

David

I understand your concerns. Total spend on golf in the area may well go up, at least in the short term, but will the money simply gravitate towards Embo and RDGC (even more) with less left over for Brora and Golspie and all the other clubs ?

That said, neither Brora or Golspie appear to be struggling and if you treat visitor numbers as jam on the cake then they should readily survive a thinner spread of jam.


Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on June 27, 2018, 06:24:42 AM
Niall,


Really you hit on my point: The American tourist market will make up a large share of rounds and it is actually a lot smaller then people think.


Castle Stuart already has an easier location and a championship history and it is quarter full.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on June 27, 2018, 09:37:46 AM
Castle Stuart is a fine golf course but there is no there-there once you admire the art deco clubhouse and the views.  Nothing local between two dumps (Inverness and Nairn).  It's a mini Bandon which is not non-mini enough to attract larger groups of customers.


To be honest, north of Edinburgh and Glasgow, there are no real culture/golf places to visit, with the possible exception of Dornoch.


But, the conundrum that Dornoch faces is a demographic (old middle-class British farts) which wants to buy houses there rather than build businesses (e.g. Hotels, Restaurants, etc.).  The locals do try, but they do not have the money, and the climatological realities are that Dornoch is a profitable destination resort for heavy hitters only in the mid May-late August period.  Even Skibo struggles from September to early May to make a profit (if they care).


I wish the best, but I expect the mediocre.


Rich
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jonathan Mallard on June 27, 2018, 10:15:04 AM
Castle Stuart is a fine golf course but there is no there-there once you admire the art deco clubhouse and the views.  Nothing local between two dumps (Inverness and Nairn).  It's a mini Bandon which is not non-mini enough to attract larger groups of customers.


To be honest, north of Edinburgh and Glasgow, there are no real culture/golf places to visit, with the possible exception of Dornoch.


But, the conundrum that Dornoch faces is a demographic (old middle-class British farts) which wants to buy houses there rather than build businesses (e.g. Hotels, Restaurants, etc.).  The locals do try, but they do not have the money, and the climatological realities are that Dornoch is a profitable destination resort for heavy hitters only in the mid May-late August period.  Even Skibo struggles from September to early May to make a profit (if they care).


I wish the best, but I expect the mediocre.


Rich


Rich,


What do you really think?



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on June 27, 2018, 11:05:23 AM
What happens if it's built and then after a couple/few years it proves to be a dud and economically unviable and closes? Will anything have been done (that can't be un-done) other than the reshaping of a sandy, scrubby area that nature won't recover pretty promptly once man has gone elsewhere?
Just asking.
atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adam Lawrence on June 27, 2018, 11:08:26 AM
Niall,


Really you hit on my point: The American tourist market will make up a large share of rounds and it is actually a lot smaller then people think.


Castle Stuart already has an easier location and a championship history and it is quarter full.


Not quarter. Remember it closes in the winter. Half maybe.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on June 27, 2018, 12:44:09 PM

Rich,

What do you really think?


Jonathan



I think what I believe based on real experiences, but am wide open to others whose real life experiences differ than mine.  What bothers you in my post?


Rich
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on June 28, 2018, 02:04:56 AM
Castle Stuart is a fine golf course but there is no there-there once you admire the art deco clubhouse and the views.  Nothing local between two dumps (Inverness and Nairn).  It's a mini Bandon which is not non-mini enough to attract larger groups of customers.


To be honest, north of Edinburgh and Glasgow, there are no real culture/golf places to visit, with the possible exception of Dornoch.


But, the conundrum that Dornoch faces is a demographic (old middle-class British farts) which wants to buy houses there rather than build businesses (e.g. Hotels, Restaurants, etc.).  The locals do try, but they do not have the money, and the climatological realities are that Dornoch is a profitable destination resort for heavy hitters only in the mid May-late August period.  Even Skibo struggles from September to early May to make a profit (if they care).


I wish the best, but I expect the mediocre.


Rich



Congratulations Rihc you've finally become 'Lord Fubar Humbug' and morphed into the much lampooned British landed gentry snob ;D Is there anything you don't disdain about where you live I wonder??? ::)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on June 28, 2018, 02:36:06 AM
Assuming the developers actually go relatively low budget (in the American sense, not the British one - the latter won’t happen), then the course will be safe even if it doesn’t do great business, merely good.


But is it really a business development? Surely it’s just a chance for a couple of golf course lovers to build for the first time on real links land?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Adam Lawrence on June 28, 2018, 04:25:32 AM
Ally -- a brave statement to make bearing in mind the fortune Mr Keiser must have made out of Bandon and is in the process of making at Sand Valley and Cabot. Although, you might have a point bearing in mind there's only scope for one course at Coul, it won't be a resort, and the original proposal was that Keiser/Warnock would turn the course over to Royal Dornoch once they had made their money back.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jeff Schley on June 28, 2018, 05:49:17 AM
A big marketing ploy that is used for Keiser at Bandon and won't be able to be used here, is comparing it to a Scottish links course. 

Even on their homepage the very landing page advertises this, as Americans gravitate towards this this type of analogy (not that it isn't deserved).

Golf as it was meant to be...

Bandon Dunes is true to the spirit of Scotland’s ancient links. 

Here, players immerse themselves in the traditions of a timeless game and the grandeur of Oregon’s rugged coast. Sweeping, untamed shores stretch for miles. Primeval grassy dunes roll to the sea. 

Five distinctly different courses have been conceived in harmony with the natural environment. They combine with all the essential elements to reveal a new golf experience every time you play. The soul of the game resides here. Players walk. And at the end of the day, gracious hospitality comforts each guest like a warm, friendly embrace.

This is Bandon Dunes. This is golf as it was meant to be.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on June 28, 2018, 08:46:16 AM


Congratulations Rihc you've finally become 'Lord Fubar Humbug' and morphed into the much lampooned British landed gentry snob ;D Is there anything you don't disdain about where you live I wonder??? ::)
[/quote


I'm Honoured, my fellow Lord.  I like a lot about where I live (Aberdour, Fife) but outside of its stunning beauty, easy access into Edinburgh and a decent golf course, I have never loved it.  Good for raising sprogs, but too small for diversity and decent amenities.  Dornoch, on the other hand has been the love of my life since 1978 (location wise) and always will be, but it too is too small for cultural and personal stimulation.  This is why my life is slowly shifting back to the USA.


Cheers


Rich
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on June 28, 2018, 12:31:23 PM
litterarum vestigia reliquisti  :-\
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on June 29, 2018, 07:47:26 AM
litterarum vestigia reliquisti  :-\


semper ubi, sub ubi :)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on June 29, 2018, 12:48:23 PM
litterarum vestigia reliquisti  :-\


semper ubi, sub ubi :)



apparently that is not the Scottish way. Or at least as folklore would have us believe ;)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: V_Halyard on June 29, 2018, 04:08:51 PM
Ally -- a brave statement to make bearing in mind the fortune Mr Keiser must have made out of Bandon and is in the process of making at Sand Valley and Cabot. Although, you might have a point bearing in mind there's only scope for one course at Coul, it won't be a resort, and the original proposal was that Keiser/Warnock would turn the course over to Royal Dornoch once they had made their money back.
Agreed. My bet is that the breakeven follows the conservative Keiser model: deliver great golf and the subsequent utilization will determine the scope of future investment. Looking at the original intent of Bandon, the original Keiser model was to build great golf because,... and see what happens, then perhaps turn over to a trust overseen by a "golf organization..." It is well documented that the compound profits and visits came by surprise. Same with Sand Valley. The team knew the golf community was potentially out there but projecting that my pals from Chicago and Minneapolis would travel to Sand Valley >6x/year (hi Morgan!) would have been an irresponsible business assumption. I suspect the projections for Coul are equally conservative and am guessing are built to compliment the "neighborhood" (Dornoch, Brora,Golspie) It is currently a single-course business model. There is ample opportunity for "Collateral Success" across the region, but unlike Bandon or Sand Valley, these courses are already on bucket lists. In this case, unlike Bandon and Cabot, Coul is a new kid on an old block.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Brian_Ewen on July 01, 2018, 04:24:45 AM
http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/16325672.why-not-report-on-the-coul-links-planning-application-approval/


Why not report on the Coul Links planning application approval?


I READ the excellent piece on The Highland Council North Planning Committee’s ill-considered approval of the application to build a golf course on the locally, nationally and internationally protected conservation site at Coul Links by Kevin McKenna in today’s copy of The Observer.


Then I turned with anticipation to the Sunday Herald to get an informed and hopefully unbiased Scottish perspective on this debacle. Not on the cover. Perhaps pages 5-7 where there are often articles of note? No.


I then carefully went through the paper to find total silence on this vitally important issue. So amazed was I at the missing article that I handed the paper to my wife to check, assuming that I had somehow missed a feature. Still nothing.


This is the most important Scottish environmental planning decision since the Trump/Salmond fiasco in 2007 and has ominous echoes of that development.


Why is the Sunday Herald not calling for something of this importance to be called in by the Scottish Government? Do we fear a cover-up and kowtowing to the might of another American multi-millionaire? I hope not.


David W McAllister


Tain, Ross-shire
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on July 01, 2018, 08:15:02 AM
Brian E. -

The Herald did run an article about the planning approval of the Coul Links course on June 20. The headline was "Anger as controversial golf course plans get go-ahead despite mass objections."

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16303578.anger-as-controversial-golf-course-plans-get-go-ahead-despite-mass-objections/ (http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16303578.anger-as-controversial-golf-course-plans-get-go-ahead-despite-mass-objections/)

Mr. McAllister was not paying attention. ;)


DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on July 02, 2018, 02:08:39 PM
David

Did that article appear in the Herald or Sunday Herald ? One has recently hanged its tune and started to criticise the current government while the other it very much it's mouthpiece, or at least it was the last time I read it.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on July 02, 2018, 02:39:53 PM
"Did that article appear in the Herald or Sunday Herald?"

Niall -

I did not realize the Herald and the Sunday Herald were two different entities. Since the web article from the Herald website is dated June 20, I can only assume it appeared in the former, not the later.

DT 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on July 31, 2018, 08:57:20 AM
Almost, but not quite!

https://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Scottish-ministers-extend-their-review-period-on-Coul-Links-31072018.htm
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on July 31, 2018, 10:00:48 AM
Almost, but not quite!

https://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Scottish-ministers-extend-their-review-period-on-Coul-Links-31072018.htm (https://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Scottish-ministers-extend-their-review-period-on-Coul-Links-31072018.htm)

Wow...this article states:
"There has been overwhelming public support to protect the internationally important wildlife site."

Then, a few paragraphs later, this “journalist” states: However local residents are overwhelmingly in favour of the development with the possibility of jobs and the knock-on effect of increased visitors."
Huh...?

Worth mentioning as the "journalist" above overlooked some relevant info:

1. Gail Ross, the local MSP who represents the area, is entirely in favor of the project.
2. 140 local businesses have signed a "support document" in favor of the project.

No question that the concerns of those seeking to ensure the preservation of the environment should be heard and respected. In fact, I believe the project has altered its plans on several occasions to accommodate the concerns and this has been recognized by authorities.
 
 But, what kills me is always the highly "selective outrage" with projects like Coul Links.
 
 For example, where is "Scottish Bug Life" (and others) when Sutherland seeks to land a UK "space port" and rocket launch facility to:
 
 “Provide the infrastructure needed for space tourism, though a ­regulatory ­framework for passenger trips has yet to be created. The space industry Bill cleared its House of ­Commons stages in March, paving the way for the ­spaceport. Transport ­Minister Jo Johnson said: “This puts us at the forefront of the new space race. It helps us to compete as the destination of choice for satellite companies ­worldwide.” SNP MP Dr Philippa Whitford said: “Launches are currently carried out from Kazakhstan."


 https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/science-technology/sky-limit-sutherland-wins-race-12919142 (https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/science-technology/sky-limit-sutherland-wins-race-12919142)

So, golf courses are bad, but space ports to launch rockets for the military are good...?Yup, selective outrage on full display.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Rich Goodale on July 31, 2018, 10:41:14 AM
If "Scottish Bug Life" existed in the past 500 years, there would today be no Edinburgh Castle, no Robbie Burns, no R&A, no Forth Bridge, no Irn-Brun, no Old Course, no Whisky, no Billy Connely and no Haggis.


FREEEEEEDOM!
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on July 31, 2018, 10:56:18 AM
Ian M. -

The planned "spaceport" is not being well received in certain circles either. ;)

https://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Nature-experts-set-to-give-spaceport-plan-the-bird-27072018.htm

DT

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on July 31, 2018, 11:31:10 AM
I've gotta think the Trump backlash in general is working against this project as well....but thats just perception from across the pond.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on July 31, 2018, 11:50:10 AM
Ian M. -

The planned "spaceport" is not being well received in certain circles either. ;)

https://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Nature-experts-set-to-give-spaceport-plan-the-bird-27072018.htm (https://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Nature-experts-set-to-give-spaceport-plan-the-bird-27072018.htm)

DT


Yes and no... ;)

"A spokesman for RSPB Scotland said: “The news that Scotland could host the UK’s first space port represents a potentially exciting opportunity for the country, but it must be done in a way that respects the incredible wildlife and habitats of this area that support numerous rare and threatened species."
Quite the contrast to RSPB's posturing over Coul.
I fear Kalen is correct.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on August 24, 2018, 08:34:09 AM
The inevitable has happened. ;)

https://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Government-calls-in-Coul-Links-plan-24082018.htm
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tim Gallant on August 24, 2018, 08:47:55 AM
The inevitable has happened. ;)

https://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Government-calls-in-Coul-Links-plan-24082018.htm (https://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Government-calls-in-Coul-Links-plan-24082018.htm)


Thanks for sharing David. Any ideas on how long the process takes, or when a decision will be made?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on August 24, 2018, 08:57:51 AM
Tim -

No idea. I think Niall C. and Jon W. might have some insight on that.

DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 24, 2018, 09:51:25 AM
http://www.parliament.scot/Research%20briefings%20and%20fact%20sheets/SB07-66.pdf

"A called-in planning application is not automatically the subject of a public inquiry. Scottish
Ministers must allow a public inquiry into any called-in application if this is requested by the
applicant or the relevant planning authority. However, if no such request is made then it is up to
Scottish Ministers to decide whether the Reporter appointed to consider the application will do
so through written submissions, an informal hearing or full public inquiry.
"

The link at the top is a link to a Scottish Government guidance note that they issued in relation to the Balmedie proposal. Given my technological inability the link will likely not work therefore there is an extract above. I guess much will depend on whether it goes to public enquiry in which case it will be a longer drawn out affair. As far as I know there are no strict timescales to adhere to but could be wrong on that.

However that's all irrelevant as the developer had previously said they would walk away if the application was called in. Surely they weren't fibbing when they said that  ;)

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Marty Bonnar on August 24, 2018, 11:11:44 AM
The Scottish Planning process is a total dog.
Whilst it’s right that most things seek approval at the local level, anything which is likely to have national implications should be scrutinised AT THE SAME TIME as the local proceedings.
It’s a bloody wonder anything ever gets built in this Country.
F.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on August 24, 2018, 03:01:17 PM

To true Marty but then none of the elected local MSPs are against it.


This was the reaction from the developers


Following the Scottish Ministers’ decision to call in the application for a golf course at Coul Links, developer Todd Warnock said today (24 Aug):
“Whilst this decision delays bringing significant economic and environmental benefits to the area, we welcome the opportunity to set out again the compelling case to create a world class golf course in east Sutherland.
“Highland Council’s North Planning Applications Committee, as the competent planning authority, took an emphatic decision in June and, apart from a single narrow objection from Scottish Natural Heritage, the statutory bodies involved are not opposed to the plans after a comprehensive assessment.
“The project also has overwhelming support from local people. We thank them again for their help and encouragement and are sorry for them that there is a further delay in a process that has already taken more than three years.
“We have made our case consistently to anyone prepared to listen objectively and we look forward to doing so again with the independent Reporter."

Niall,


I think what was said was if it were turned down they would walk away and not appeal the decision.





Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 25, 2018, 05:39:01 AM
Jon

I'm sure there is a quote out there in the ether if you wanted to go out and look for it. Happy to acknowledge I could be wrong but I think the comment came from Mike Keiser and referred to the time and expense of going through any appeals process. I'm not sure whether there was reference to the application being called in but with regards time and expense they will spend as much money on letting it go through the reporter process as they would have on appeal, which is to say relatively not a lot since they have already spent the bulk of the money anyway. That being the case why wouldn't you let it ride ?

I'm pretty sure I posted something like that at the time. 

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on August 25, 2018, 11:06:16 AM

Niall,


could be.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Duncan Cheslett on August 26, 2018, 10:40:30 PM
The opponents of this development unfortunately hold the trump card...




 ;)






Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: MClutterbuck on August 27, 2018, 11:58:29 AM
What a frustrating process. I feel for the developers. People (politicians) don´t realize how capital is ready at times, and not there at other times. Long processes just destroy wealth for the region as a whole. Incredible that all reviews do not happen simultaneously.

Politicians that have done little or nothing to protect that site while locally owned...
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 28, 2018, 10:12:28 AM
MClutterbuck

Possibly the most ridiculous post since............... god knows when.

Feeling sorry for a billionaire and his millionaire business partner because their planning application got called in, something which was almost a foregone conclusion by the way, is just bizarre. As for long processes, they also help to ensure sure that the right decisions are made. It's not all about money, or golf, which golf tourists don't always appreciate or want to appreciate as it doesn't usually suit there interests.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on August 28, 2018, 01:31:42 PM
Niall -

Feeling sorry for billionaires & millionaires really isn't the question.

You know the planning process in Scotland probably better than anyone else of this board. Do you really think it should take 3+ years for a planning application like this to work its way thru the system before the ultimate/final decision gets made?

This is not a terribly complicated project. It is not a development in the center of a big city that might impact the lives of tens of thousands of people on a daily basis.

DT
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ben Stephens on August 28, 2018, 01:46:19 PM
Niall -
Feeling sorry for billionaires & millionaires really isn't the question.

You know the planning process in Scotland probably better than anyone else of this board. Do you really think it should take 3+ years for a planning application like this to work its way thru the system before the ultimate/final decision gets made?

This is not a terribly complicated project. It is not a development in the center of a big city that might impact the lives of tens of thousands of people on a daily basis.

DT


The UK has a rigorous planning system and this is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) plus there have been objections from the environmental groups which means it is transferred to a higher level ie government to assess whether it should have been given permission or not.


Its like planning version of cricket when the TMO checking whether a batsman is out or not by TV review whether the umpire decision stays or it is overruled

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on August 28, 2018, 02:05:09 PM
Ben -

Since I am the guy who started this thread 2 1/2 years ago. I am very well aware of the SSSI nature of the Coul Links site and the various levels involved in the planning process.  ;)

That being said, should it really take over 3 years to reach a final decision?

DT 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Marty Bonnar on August 28, 2018, 02:08:44 PM
Ben -
Since I am the guy who started this thread 2 1/2 years ago. I am very well aware of the SSSI nature of the Coul Links site and the various levels involved in the planning process.  ;)
That being said, should it really take over 3 years to reach a final decision?
DT


David,
Which is why I said the Local and National processes should run simultaneously.
This was ALWAYS going to be called in, so why they don’t have a procedure for this is beyond stupid. Oh, wait a sec, it’s politicians! Ahhh, yes.
F.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tom_Doak on August 28, 2018, 03:20:09 PM

This was ALWAYS going to be called in, so why they don’t have a procedure for this is beyond stupid. Oh, wait a sec, it’s politicians! Ahhh, yes.



Exactly.  There's gotta be an extra round so someone can hold out for additional concessions and/or take credit for approval.  But usually that works out in the developer's favor - in that the project ultimately gets approved, it just costs a few more favors / $ to get there.


An identical application from a less wealthy developer would probably either be approved or rejected in a much shorter process, because there is no budget for concessions.



Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on August 28, 2018, 06:17:42 PM

This was ALWAYS going to be called in, so why they don’t have a procedure for this is beyond stupid. Oh, wait a sec, it’s politicians! Ahhh, yes.

An identical application from a less wealthy developer would probably either be approved or rejected in a much shorter process, because there is no budget for concessions.

In todays UK planning, there must always be a budget for concessions....sometimes a very large budget.  There is a form of legalized blackmail in place which is now considered par for the course.

Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: David_Tepper on August 29, 2018, 12:02:11 AM
A question - is the planning process uniform throughout the UK or is the process in Scotland different from England?
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on August 29, 2018, 05:42:55 AM

David,


the planning system in Scotland is different from England.


Ben,


this was never always going to be called in and is only been so because the SNP are in hoc to the Green Party represented none directly elected MSPs.


Marty,


you cannot have the processes running parallel as this could lead to two different outcomes.


Sean,


there is no blackmail involved in the planning systems in the UK but developers are required to consider the impact of their projects on the local area. If anything the system is weighted in favour of the developer not the planners. 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ben Stephens on August 29, 2018, 05:46:42 AM
Ben -

Since I am the guy who started this thread 2 1/2 years ago. I am very well aware of the SSSI nature of the Coul Links site and the various levels involved in the planning process.  ;)

That being said, should it really take over 3 years to reach a final decision?

DT


David


Yes for SSSI's especially very sensitive sites. The UK Planning System is complex and rigorous. The process starts at local level, then regional level and then national level. Minor applications remain at local level. Major developments can be regional level or national level depending on what is proposed.


Any objection put forward is seriously considered like changing a dormer window to a velux roof light because it prevents overlooking. I think it can be rather too sensitive at times. The green crested newt often holds up small to large projects as they are a protected species. 


There are Local Plan developed by each council and National Planning Policy Framework to refer to however they may not be the same so it can be at crossroads at times. NPPF is what most use in an appeal.


A case study is Heathrow Terminal 5 - this took 7 years to get through planning. Dubai Airport started design work on their new terminal just after and finished construction just before Heathrow T5 got planning.


I suspect the government is biding for extra time to assess whether all the necessary procedures have been carried out and justify whether a golf course is suitable in this area bearing in mind the argument of additional jobs in the area over possible environmental damages. Its now in the hands of politicians that have no real idea or experience of golf course construction or bird nesting areas. It is crazy IMO.


Trump Aberdeen the politicians were swayed by the promise of millions of dollars of investment. What they did to the golf course is now a very poor precedent which does not help Keiser and Coul Links. We on GCA know that Keiser is much more sympathetic to the environment than Trump who is more of a bull in a china shop. There is a huge possibility that Trump has put the spanner in the works of Coul actually happening.


Another case scenario is a compromise happening so that certain areas are not used for the golf course and that the design will have to be altered further to move away from those sensitive areas as part of a planning condition.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ben Stephens on August 29, 2018, 05:47:33 AM
A question - is the planning process uniform throughout the UK or is the process in Scotland different from England?


[size=78%]The planning and legal system in Scotland is different to England as well as house sales![/size]
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ben Stephens on August 29, 2018, 05:50:45 AM

David,


the planning system in Scotland is different from England.


Ben,


this was never always going to be called in and is only been so because the SNP are in hoc to the Green Party represented none directly elected MSPs.


Marty,


you cannot have the processes running parallel as this could lead to two different outcomes.


Sean,


there is no blackmail involved in the planning systems in the UK but developers are required to consider the impact of their projects on the local area. If anything the system is weighted in favour of the developer not the planners.


Jon


Due to the nature of the site and the objections it was more likely to be called IMO. Environmental objectors can write to the government about their concerns plus dispute that the reasons for approval was not satisfactory enough and from a government point of view if they are thought to have a strong case or a large number of objections it will then be called in. Same for buildings etc.


Ben
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on August 29, 2018, 06:02:24 AM

David,


the planning system in Scotland is different from England.


Ben,


this was never always going to be called in and is only been so because the SNP are in hoc to the Green Party represented none directly elected MSPs.


Marty,


you cannot have the processes running parallel as this could lead to two different outcomes.


Sean,


there is no blackmail involved in the planning systems in the UK but developers are required to consider the impact of their projects on the local area. If anything the system is weighted in favour of the developer not the planners.

The presumption of planning depends on local plans. Jesus, after having spent 5 years to develop a Neighbourhood Plan I know far too much about planning than I would like. Planning is the darkest of all arts.   

The extra costs of infrastructure development, amenity increase costs, provision of social housing (all under the guise of S106 in England), land swapping etc is often the difference between development and not.  Our Council is in constant negotiations with developers and the local authority about how to keep these cream funds local.  One of the few very good planning projects I have seen locally was unaffordable for the developer because of the requirement for social housing.

Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 29, 2018, 07:21:12 AM
Niall -

Feeling sorry for billionaires & millionaires really isn't the question.

You know the planning process in Scotland probably better than anyone else of this board. Do you really think it should take 3+ years for a planning application like this to work its way thru the system before the ultimate/final decision gets made?

This is not a terribly complicated project. It is not a development in the center of a big city that might impact the lives of tens of thousands of people on a daily basis.

DT

David

Absolutely correct, Mike Keiser and Todd Warnocks feelings aren't the issue but on that I suspect they are OK with where things are at. They must have known that there was every prospect that the application would get called in should the Council grant approval. I suspect they are happy that it at least got to that stage.

BTW, I'm not a planner but I do work with the planning system and as part of the system on occasion. There are others on here such as Ben, James Boon and other architects who equally work with the system although mainly down south. The systems in Scotland and England are different but are similar in many respects I believe.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 29, 2018, 07:52:45 AM

This was ALWAYS going to be called in, so why they don’t have a procedure for this is beyond stupid. Oh, wait a sec, it’s politicians! Ahhh, yes.



Exactly.  There's gotta be an extra round so someone can hold out for additional concessions and/or take credit for approval.  But usually that works out in the developer's favor - in that the project ultimately gets approved, it just costs a few more favors / $ to get there.


An identical application from a less wealthy developer would probably either be approved or rejected in a much shorter process, because there is no budget for concessions.

FBD/Tom,

I'm surprised at such nonsense and cynicism from two level headed chaps like yourselves.

Firstly the planning process in this country is a plan and policy process as outlined in the Scottish Government guidance on the attached link www.gov.scot/Publications/2009/08/11133705/1

The existing Development Plan and policy pointed to this being a clear refusal as recommended by the planners. The developers have endeavoured to make a case to get round the myriad of reasons for refusal. It is this more than anything that has taken the time to get where we are now. I'm referring to issues such as the insufficient access, environmental issues etc. A more commercial developer would have walked away a long time since but in this case I suspect it is as much a labour of love as well as a commercial development for the developers.

With regards to why the application wasn't looked at a national level from the outset, I think there are two very good reasons. Firstly there would be a presumption that the Council wouldn't grant approval for something that went so far against policy, and secondly this will be a tricky decision for the Scottish Government and one that they were probably hoping the Council would make for them by refusing the application. On another day they might have gone for the jobs/economy approach but given the timing with the environmental report about Balmedie having come out, I tend to think the odds are now against the development.

Niall

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Marty Bonnar on August 29, 2018, 08:47:23 AM
Niall,
I’ve been through the contents of PAN65 and the NPPG’s in more than enough detail for one lifetime, thank you very much!
I think we are essentially saying the same thing. I just happen to think in cases where it’s flamin’ obvious to anyone with half a brain, that, where Cooncilurs will almost certainly disagree with their Planning Officers, things could be expedited somehow.
Why we should think that the National eedjits will be any smarter than the Local ones however, remains somewhat moot!
Cheers,
F.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ben Stephens on August 29, 2018, 08:59:23 AM
Niall,
I’ve been through the contents of PAN65 and the NPPG’s in more than enough detail for one lifetime, thank you very much!
I think we are essentially saying the same thing. I just happen to think in cases where it’s flamin’ obvious to anyone with half a brain, that, where Cooncilurs will almost certainly disagree with their Planning Officers, things could be expedited somehow.
Why we should think that the National eedjits will be any smarter than the Local ones however, remains somewhat moot!
Cheers,
F.


I echo's Martys statement re: planning system and how councillors have more power/say than planning officers who are professionals in their own regard who only make recommendations but not the final say.


The system at present goes through different levels as the application is being processed. I agree in some respects it should have gone straight to national level to speed up the process however there would be more local objections as they would argue that they don't have a say in what happens in their area. There is no perfect model and the system it what it is and its also knowing how to get around it in the right manner.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tom_Doak on August 29, 2018, 09:39:40 AM

FBD/Tom,

I'm surprised at such nonsense and cynicism from two level headed chaps like yourselves.

Niall


Niall:


I have only one experience with the planning process in the UK; considerably more in other places.  So I didn't mean to criticize the UK process directly.  I just acknowledged the idea that sooner or later, the thing would get to the national political level, because regional development and jobs are things of interest to politicians.


In my observations there is often a big difference between what the planning process is supposed to be, by law, and what happens behind the scenes to get approvals.  It's not supposed to be a political process at all, but it nearly always is.  [As one famous U.S. politician remarked years ago, "All politics is local."]  Many constituencies are involved, and each wants its own interests addressed ... sometimes by promising things completely unrelated to the site and project up for review.  The developer's duty, as you say, is to make objections go away, and sometimes people object with ulterior motives.


I agree with you that it would be political suicide for the process to have gone national too early, before local interests were heard out.  But are you really surprised it has done so now?


At the core of it, there are two parts of government, bureaucrats and politicians.  The bureaucracy's default answer to approving a project is "no," because they have a steady job, and it would be most threatened by approving a project which proved to be a problem down the road.  No one looks back ten years on and fires them for having stopped something; it's all forgotten.  The politician's motives are exactly the opposite.  The politician is pro-development; he/she wants to see things happen that he/she can take credit for, and get reelected on.  And of course, the politician can take campaign donations from developers, while that would be illegal for the bureaucrat. 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 29, 2018, 10:17:25 AM
At the core of it, there are two parts of government, bureaucrats and politicians.  The bureaucracy's default answer to approving a project is "no," because they have a steady job, and it would be most threatened by approving a project which proved to be a problem down the road.  No one looks back ten years on and fires them for having stopped something; it's all forgotten.  The politician's motives are exactly the opposite.  The politician is pro-development; he/she wants to see things happen that he/she can take credit for, and get reelected on.  And of course, the politician can take campaign donations from developers, while that would be illegal for the bureaucrat.


Nicely put. Not totally sure about the last sentence in the U.K./Scotland though.
Worth adding that politicians can often be against something for the same reasons as outlined about. And boy oh boy do they like seeing their photos in newspapers, magazines, on the web and on TV. Forget the issues, forget the policy, forget the people, forget standards, just get me on TV. And the mainstream media have column inches and screen time to fill and what better when events are quiet than a story about the evils of golf and what dastardly oversea investors wish to do with the landscape.
There’s a few messages here to other potential investors in golf in the U.K./Scotland.
Atb

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Peter Pallotta on August 29, 2018, 10:31:54 AM
That's why bureaucrats tend to wait until politicians order them (indirectly) to say 'yes'. That political direction never comes in plain language and certainly never on paper -- so bureaucrats have to stall until politicians commit themselves and send the message in some other way.   
You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, but only the successful senior bureaucrat can make a case for the wind blowing in whichever direction a politician says it is.

(A wily & successful bureaucrat I knew believed this was exactly the way it should be. He was fond of saying: "If it was the bureaucrats making all the important decisions instead of the politicians, we'd be living in the Soviet Union". )


Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on August 29, 2018, 11:14:40 AM
I'd be curious, for anyone in the know..


How does Coul Links compare to say a project like Bandon or Sand Valley when it comes to the approval process.  I totally understand that you don't want things to be too difficult, but also not without proper oversight.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 29, 2018, 01:22:24 PM
Martin

I think we are agreed that very often councillors are ill-equipped to make a proper judgement on a lot of issues that they are asked to decide on but thankfully they usually have enough common sense to take their officers recommendation. Trying to make a judgement as to when they are going to go off-piste would be a nightmare to do.

Personally I think you should only be able to pre-empt a local decision by calling in an application that clearly is of national importance in an economic and social sense such as an application for major infrastructure and such like. Otherwise leave it to the locals to make the initial decision. Whether there is guidance on that I don't know.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on August 29, 2018, 01:37:20 PM
Niall,


In general, I think that's my issue with locally elected officials. While they have good intent for the most part, if its anything like here in the states, most of them have zero background in city planning, environmental planning, land management, etc to even be able to develop an informed opinion.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Tom_Doak on August 29, 2018, 01:40:47 PM
I'd be curious, for anyone in the know..


How does Coul Links compare to say a project like Bandon or Sand Valley when it comes to the approval process.  I totally understand that you don't want things to be too difficult, but also not without proper oversight.


I don't know the answer to your question, but my understanding is that the process for Bandon was a lot more complicated than for Sand Valley - as you would expect for coastal land in a "blue" state.  Mr Keiser's success in Bandon also made it easier for the politicians in central Wisconsin to welcome him with open arms.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 29, 2018, 01:43:47 PM
Tom

There's no doubt the planning process over here isn't perfect, and like all systems can be abused, but it is reasonably robust. It also has a certain amount of checks and measures to prevent naked political opportunism to gain additional material benefit outwith what's allowed for by policy. For a start the politicians aren't meant to be involved in the process other than when/if it goes to the planning committee for a decision. They can't for instance negotiate with an applicant over what goodies they might be willing to give away to gain the planning application. Indeed if they happen to be on the planning committee (not all councillors are) then they shouldn't have any dealings with the applicant at all. That's not to say they won't do a bit of posturing if it suits them mind you.

Niall

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 29, 2018, 02:19:28 PM
I wonder how much the developers have spent so far on this project?
And how much more they reckon their going to have to spend before things happen on the ground?

Also what their monthly outgoings are running at?
I wonder what proportion is borrowed money and how much is ‘in house’ amongst the developers?
Atb
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Ian Mackenzie on August 29, 2018, 06:07:25 PM
There’s a one word reason why this project has taken its current path...and it rhymes with the original architect of Pine Valley... ;D
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Kalen Braley on August 29, 2018, 07:18:04 PM
There’s a one word reason why this project has taken its current path...and it rhymes with the original architect of Pine Valley... ;D


The course is going to be a dump...I knew it!!  8)
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: MClutterbuck on August 30, 2018, 11:33:23 AM
MClutterbuck

Possibly the most ridiculous post since............... god knows when.

Feeling sorry for a billionaire and his millionaire business partner because their planning application got called in, something which was almost a foregone conclusion by the way, is just bizarre. As for long processes, they also help to ensure sure that the right decisions are made. It's not all about money, or golf, which golf tourists don't always appreciate or want to appreciate as it doesn't usually suit there interests.

Niall


Thanks for your enlightened opinion Niall. I find it odd and wrong that you disqualify a person just because he is a billionaire (if he is one) or millionaire, and do not take into consideration the amount of lives that are impacted by their dreams, enthusiasm, entrepreneurial initiative and risk taking. It seems you believe millionaires only think about money and are greedy and do not deserve any sympathy.


If this land had been owned by a Scot with little or no capital, who had put himself through architecture studies while caddying on the best courses in Scotland, had put in all of his inheritance into this dream, and process, then we could feel sorry for him?

I don´t know both principles here, so it might be only about money (I doubt it). But even if it is only about money, a quick, comprehensive, no bullshit process is better for the lives of all current and future stakeholders. And those areas/countries that have good processes will benefit more than those with bad approval processes.

Sometimes developers are driven by other factors, not just money and I know of many examples.


Efficient processes ensure that the right decisions are made. Long processes sometimes ensure the right projects are NOT made.
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 30, 2018, 11:34:01 AM
There’s a one word reason why this project has taken its current path...and it rhymes with the original architect of Pine Valley... ;D

If by "current path" you mean the application being called in then I don't think so. The nature of the site and it's designation is the reason for that. However Trumps development at Balmedie, and the fall out from it, could very well have a bearing on the end decision.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on August 30, 2018, 11:44:00 AM
MClutterbuck

Always happy to enlighten.

What I was incredulous at and thought ridiculous was the idea that two wealthy blokes who are currently going through a planning process that which was always likely to be lengthy and involved due to its nature, and who therefore probably anticipated it, should require or even want sympathy. I still am.

Your other comments re wealth etc are another discussion which I don't have time for at this moment but the projected wealth creation element is the nub of the issue and the only reason this application has got this far. That's where maybe there should be more discussion.

Niall

Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on August 30, 2018, 11:49:52 AM
MClutterbuck

Possibly the most ridiculous post since............... god knows when.

Feeling sorry for a billionaire and his millionaire business partner because their planning application got called in, something which was almost a foregone conclusion by the way, is just bizarre. As for long processes, they also help to ensure sure that the right decisions are made. It's not all about money, or golf, which golf tourists don't always appreciate or want to appreciate as it doesn't usually suit there interests.

Niall
Efficient processes ensure that the right decisions are made. Long processes sometimes ensure the right projects are NOT made.

As someone who is responsible for responding to planning applications I can say consultation time is very welcome.  If anything, more time would be nice...3 weeks to respond on complicated applications is asking a lot.  Hence one reason we see apps called in, it can be a delay tactic to gain more time...I will try to use all day long if I am convinced there will be strong objections. Its incredible who comes out of the woodwork for certain apps.

Ciao   
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Lou_Duran on September 01, 2018, 10:35:17 AM
MClutterbuck

Always happy to enlighten.

What I was incredulous at and thought ridiculous was the idea that two wealthy blokes who are currently going through a planning process that which was always likely to be lengthy and involved due to its nature, and who therefore probably anticipated it, should require or even want sympathy. I still am.

Your other comments re wealth etc are another discussion which I don't have time for at this moment but the projected wealth creation element is the nub of the issue and the only reason this application has got this far. That's where maybe there should be more discussion.

Niall

Yes Mr. Niall C, but are you always so willing to be enlightened? ;)

The reality is that class warfare is most often in play.   And while the rich may not deserve our sympathy, we all should demand fairness, if for no other than the selfish reason that it could involve us as well.    Do we sheepishly accept government's intrusion into a bathroom remodel (reference Bob Huntley's attempt thwarted by the regulatory overreach of the California Coastal Commission though his home was over five miles from the ocean)?

The Coul Links project is on private property.  The SSI designation is as much political as scientific, in effect a taking of private property by essentially prohibiting its owners from enjoying its use.  The site in question has not been maintained and, reportedly, has been degraded considerably by previous uses and neglect.  Further, the owners- not terribly wealthy from all appearances- as much as the developer (Mike Keiser) stand to finally reap some reward.

Whether the project will generate positive economic activity beyond its construction and stabilization phases might be of interest, but not, IMO, relevant to the base case- a fallow, not very attractive tract with extremely limited use under the present regulatory burden beyond the minds of a very small number of professional interveners.   And yes, the societal value placed on the debatable survival of an insect (in my part of the world, they seem to be quite mobile as I learned when a former neighbor treated for termites without telling me and the little bastards invaded my home), is in the realm of politics much more than science.

 If the SSI is so terribly important, the environmental groups include some very rich elements and could purchase the land on behalf of the people of Scotland and the critters who call it home.  Knowing of Mr. Keiser's past land purchases, my bet is that the tract could be acquired for a reasonable sum- maybe within the reach of a GoFundMe scheme.

Someone asked about the cost of planning in a difficult regulatory environment.    25+ years ago C & C designed a course for a site previously used for crude oil logistics (tank depot, as I recall) in coastal SoCal.  I had access to the economics and it would have been a homerun for everyone involved.  A 10+ year fight ensued involving the CCC and numerous environmental groups and finally the developer tossed the towel in.  I was told by an individual working with the group that north of $3 Million had been spent before pulling the plug.  As far as I know, and TommyN might be able to verify this, the site remains unused, contaminated, and probably ignored by even the people who pass it on the train each day.  For the public good!
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on September 01, 2018, 11:03:14 AM
While I can understand your frustration, I think it best to be safe than sorry.  Because land isn't currently being maximized for public or private use doesn't mean it won't be in the future.  That is what protection is in the main about, protection for the future.  I don't know enough about this specific project to have an opinion on if it should be developed, but as part of the over-arching question of protecting a limited and dwindling resource (especially in the UK ), that is land, I am all in.  There are many aspects to current living which cannot be governed by the free market.

Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on September 01, 2018, 11:36:43 AM
Yes Lou, always happy to be enlightened as well.

I do however think you are off track in thinking this is about class warfare or nationalistic feelings one way or another. It's a planning application that is going through the process in the prescribed manner. In other words, the process would take this route irrespective of who the applicant was, assuming they could afford the cost of pursuing it.

But if I read your post correctly your real objection has nothing to do with the wealth of the applicant or their nationality being an issue (which it isn't IMO), and more that you don't think there should be a planning system in the first place and that the landowner should be able to do whatever they want with the land, correct ?

If you follow that reasoning he could use his property for landfill, or a toxic dump, or oil refinery or some other bad neighbour use irrespective of what that would do for the surrounding area. That sort of reasoning could also see many of golf course, the Old Course included, ploughed up and redeveloped for more commercially valuable uses.

On balance I think I prefer to have a planning system.

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Lou_Duran on September 01, 2018, 12:06:23 PM
Sean,

If you are responding to my post, I am not frustrated at all.  I am in the sunset of my life and am extremely fortunate to have access to nearly all the courses I want to play.  Likewise, my kids are well-positioned to deal with whatever political environment they will face, and I remain generally optimistic about their kids' prospects.

My concern since early adulthood is that people keep making the same mistakes based not on how things actually work, but on the ingrained class and political dogma they were reared in DESPITE the level of formal education they subsequently acquire or the seemingly instinctual desire to be different than their parents (as Seve's former father-in-law once rudely remarked, "you can take the boy out of the caddie shack but you can't take the caddie shack out of the boy").

For example, one only has to travel to a relatively few different countries and it is quite evident that those which have a market-oriented economy (laissez faire capitalism hasn't existed in the Western World for over a century) have a cleaner environment and a much better standard of living at all levels of society.  Class envy- why should Tiger Woods be so much better than me and command such wealth?- is diminishing all of us.

Relative to the future, the UK and most Western developed countries won't have a problem with over-population as fertility rates have declined beyond population replacement.  Unfortunately, there appears to be a correlation with more education and fewer kids, and Malthusian fears remain rampant despite all the evidence to refute them.

Immigration is the wild card and the current zeitgeist in many countries is to better mind the borders.  I would not be concerned about running out of land due to too many golf courses being built- there is likely to be many more returning to other uses than being built- though the continued migration from rural areas to large population centers may be a cause of worry (as mobility and housing prices become more difficult).

Relative to the subject links, it is not that the owners wish to take property out of production of any sort.  It is a matter of an insect and a mostly unusable tract of private land having higher value in its current state to Scottish society than its development as a golf course.   I am merely suggesting that this is a political decision and, in a society governed by rationality and the rule of law, if the base case prevails, the owners should be equitably compensated.
   
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Lou_Duran on September 01, 2018, 12:32:48 PM
But if I read your post correctly your real objection has nothing to do with the wealth of the applicant or their nationality being an issue (which it isn't IMO), and more that you don't think there should be a planning system in the first place and that the landowner should be able to do whatever they want with the land, correct ?

If you follow that reasoning he could use his property for landfill, or a toxic dump, or oil refinery or some other bad neighbour use irrespective of what that would do for the surrounding area. That sort of reasoning could also see many of golf course, the Old Course included, ploughed up and redeveloped for more commercially valuable uses.

On balance I think I prefer to have a planning system.

Niall

Wow, what a straw man you have built!

I am very big on orderly, relevant planning, especially at the local level.  I also strongly believe in the bundle of rights inherent in ownership, especially of real property.

Accounting for externalities and the impact of a proposed use on those in the area is an important part of the process.   I've always liked variations of the  clause inserted in contracts to the effect that "consent shall not be unreasonably withheld".  The interests of the NIMBYs- no one IMO is entitled to a pristine existence at the expense of others who may wish something that approximates it- must be weighed against the interests of other parties.  I do think that the planning process must have a short clock- say up to one year in most cases- and the folks allowed to intervene via legal challenges limited to having direct skin in the game and liable if they lose for all costs incurred by the challenged party.

So no, I don't think a nuclear waste  site should be built next to my home, but perhaps a plan to build low-income housing nearby might deserve due consideration.   Common land (TOC) should not be ploughed under, though if the stakeholders one day make the case that it should be, open-minded people may wish to consider.

In contrast, the powers of eminent domain in the U.S. are very strong.  As I recall, a few years back, a city mayor wanted to condemn privately-owned Deepdale GC to redevelop for commercial uses which would bring the government more tax revenues.  Fortunately for the well-heeled members, they were able to fight it off in court, but at what expense and tribulation. 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on September 01, 2018, 03:24:02 PM

David,


the planning system in Scotland is different from England.


Ben,


this was never always going to be called in and is only been so because the SNP are in hoc to the Green Party represented none directly elected MSPs.


Marty,


you cannot have the processes running parallel as this could lead to two different outcomes.


Sean,


there is no blackmail involved in the planning systems in the UK but developers are required to consider the impact of their projects on the local area. If anything the system is weighted in favour of the developer not the planners.

The presumption of planning depends on local plans. Jesus, after having spent 5 years to develop a Neighbourhood Plan I know far too much about planning than I would like. Planning is the darkest of all arts.   

The extra costs of infrastructure development, amenity increase costs, provision of social housing (all under the guise of S106 in England), land swapping etc is often the difference between development and not.  Our Council is in constant negotiations with developers and the local authority about how to keep these cream funds local.  One of the few very good planning projects I have seen locally was unaffordable for the developer because of the requirement for social housing.

Ciao



Sean,


one of the things that most people in the UK appreciate is the need for a mixed community in both social and racial terms. This also means on projects above a certain size it is important to have a mixture of housing which includes social housing. Also, larger projects will have a larger impact on local infrastructure so it is only fair for developers fund mitigation work.


Jon
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Niall C on September 03, 2018, 09:07:53 AM
Lou

If I misunderstood or misstated you then apologies, it certainly wasn’t my intention. However I’m not sure I follow the logic or the practicalities of your suggestion that somehow the Government (ie. the tax payer) should somehow compensate the landowner for not getting planning permission to develop the site.

As we both know, the granting of planning permission can add value where there is demand for the use granted. This also assumes the proposed use is of a higher value than the existing. Presumably, on the grounds of equity and fairness, you would also have to compensate neighbouring owners ? And if everyone was assumed to have got planning permission for compensation purposes, you would soon have a (theoretical) oversupply resulting in depressed land values.

Or it’s possible you mean that compensation should be only in this case due to the designation of the land in the Development Plan ? If that’s the case then why should it apply here and not in another situation where higher value planning was refused ?

Niall
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on September 03, 2018, 10:01:45 AM

David,

the planning system in Scotland is different from England.


Ben,


this was never always going to be called in and is only been so because the SNP are in hoc to the Green Party represented none directly elected MSPs.


Marty,


you cannot have the processes running parallel as this could lead to two different outcomes.


Sean,


there is no blackmail involved in the planning systems in the UK but developers are required to consider the impact of their projects on the local area. If anything the system is weighted in favour of the developer not the planners.

The presumption of planning depends on local plans. Jesus, after having spent 5 years to develop a Neighbourhood Plan I know far too much about planning than I would like. Planning is the darkest of all arts.   

The extra costs of infrastructure development, amenity increase costs, provision of social housing (all under the guise of S106 in England), land swapping etc is often the difference between development and not.  Our Council is in constant negotiations with developers and the local authority about how to keep these cream funds local.  One of the few very good planning projects I have seen locally was unaffordable for the developer because of the requirement for social housing.

Ciao



Sean,


one of the things that most people in the UK appreciate is the need for a mixed community in both social and racial terms. This also means on projects above a certain size it is important to have a mixture of housing which includes social housing. Also, larger projects will have a larger impact on local infrastructure so it is only fair for developers fund mitigation work.


Jon

Jon

First off...I have never heard of racially based planning and I hope I never do. 

I have no issue with social housing so long as it is appropriately located...that is in areas where there is employment, transportation, infrastructure and amenities. I see little point in placing social housing in rural villages where none of these benefits exist.  Of course, some developments are large enough to tastefully incorporate social housing...and some are not.  In the case I referenced, one social housing unit among three rural market dwellings was wholly inappropriate and made the scheme unaffordable to develop.  IMO...this is very poor planning regulation which stopped the development of some very cool ecologically sound bungalows. 

Ciao
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Lou_Duran on September 03, 2018, 11:10:22 AM
Sean-  "racially-based planning" may not be the preferred phrase, but in the U.S. at least (and we tend to lag Europe in these social issues by a decade or two), the results of urban low-income housing initiatives amount to that.  Obama's HUD rolled out to a number of cities its Section 8 program (vouchers that paid landlords the vast majority of the monthly rent directly for qualified low-income tenants) which were good only in areas of the cities or suburbs where subsidized housing did not exist.  The theory was that by getting poor people out of crime-ridden, undesirable areas, they would automatically rise to the improved environments and emulate their new better-off neighbors.  Only the most invested social planners would conclude that things went even directionally well.

Jon may be correct that "most" in the UK appreciate the need for a "mixed community", at least when asked for an opinion in public.  It is probably another thing all together if a high-density low-income housing project was being proposed near the respondent.  Conversations with many folks there in my  over dozen trips suggest that in practice, birds of a feather tend to flock together, i.e. in theory, we should all learn to live, work, and socialize together; in practice, not so much.  One only has to look at one of the most racially and culturally diverse parts of the U.S., SoCal, and see how segregated many communities are.         
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Lou_Duran on September 03, 2018, 11:47:46 AM
Lou

If I misunderstood or misstated you then apologies, it certainly wasn’t my intention. However I’m not sure I follow the logic or the practicalities of your suggestion that somehow the Government (ie. the tax payer) should somehow compensate the landowner for not getting planning permission to develop the site.

As we both know, the granting of planning permission can add value where there is demand for the use granted. This also assumes the proposed use is of a higher value than the existing. Presumably, on the grounds of equity and fairness, you would also have to compensate neighbouring owners ? And if everyone was assumed to have got planning permission for compensation purposes, you would soon have a (theoretical) oversupply resulting in depressed land values.

Or it’s possible you mean that compensation should be only in this case due to the designation of the land in the Development Plan ? If that’s the case then why should it apply here and not in another situation where higher value planning was refused ?

Niall

No apologies necessary Niall; we are friendly.

I suspect that how land was originally acquired in Scotland and Ireland might have something to do with our very different perspectives on private property rights.  Perhaps you see that the land's value is conferred by the government through its approval process.  I see it more from the standpoint of its location³, market demand for a particular use, and a regulatory regime which takes into account a variety of issues including the effects on the neighborhood and nearby areas.

On the specific Coul Links site, if the good folks in Scotland deem the fly and the rather ordinary, degraded dunes complex to render the private property essentially unusable by the owner, yes, they should compensate the owner.  After all, it is the "taxpayer" who is deriving the collective benefits of privately-owned land by fiat at the expense of the owner.

In the U.S. zoning is largely local, though state and federal regulations have a considerable effect.  The concept of "entitlements" is fairly new to me despite having been active in the real estate industry for over 20 years (not a new concept in CA, as I learned when I moved there for a couple of years in 2006). 

Many areas in Texas had what was called cumulative zoning which essentially allowed the owner to build a variety of things covered up to the zoning that was granted (e.g. the higher the intensity of the approved zoning, say industrial, the more options the owner or developer had, say office, retail, apartments, etc.).  Some cities like Houston had relatively few zoning requirements, and though it has tremendous traffic problems, it remains one of the fastest growing large metro areas in the country.  Master Plan zoning became popular, but it was still flexible enough to build in a pro-growth environment.

As to acquiring private land by the government for public use, that happens all of the time with market-based compensation to the owner.  Ditto for preserving natural areas (and some golf courses have gone this route).  Maybe the environmental groups can GoFund the purchase of the farm and make it available to all the people they purportedly represent.   Me, for a variety of mostly unselfish reasons, I hope the course gets built. 
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Jon Wiggett on September 03, 2018, 01:27:10 PM

David,

the planning system in Scotland is different from England.


Ben,


this was never always going to be called in and is only been so because the SNP are in hoc to the Green Party represented none directly elected MSPs.


Marty,


you cannot have the processes running parallel as this could lead to two different outcomes.


Sean,


there is no blackmail involved in the planning systems in the UK but developers are required to consider the impact of their projects on the local area. If anything the system is weighted in favour of the developer not the planners.

The presumption of planning depends on local plans. Jesus, after having spent 5 years to develop a Neighbourhood Plan I know far too much about planning than I would like. Planning is the darkest of all arts.   

The extra costs of infrastructure development, amenity increase costs, provision of social housing (all under the guise of S106 in England), land swapping etc is often the difference between development and not.  Our Council is in constant negotiations with developers and the local authority about how to keep these cream funds local.  One of the few very good planning projects I have seen locally was unaffordable for the developer because of the requirement for social housing.

Ciao



Sean,


one of the things that most people in the UK appreciate is the need for a mixed community in both social and racial terms. This also means on projects above a certain size it is important to have a mixture of housing which includes social housing. Also, larger projects will have a larger impact on local infrastructure so it is only fair for developers fund mitigation work.


Jon

Jon

First off...I have never heard of racially based planning and I hope I never do. 

I have no issue with social housing so long as it is appropriately located...that is in areas where there is employment, transportation, infrastructure and amenities. I see little point in placing social housing in rural villages where none of these benefits exist.  Of course, some developments are large enough to tastefully incorporate social housing...and some are not.  In the case I referenced, one social housing unit among three rural market dwellings was wholly inappropriate and made the scheme unaffordable to develop.  IMO...this is very poor planning regulation which stopped the development of some very cool ecologically sound bungalows. 

Ciao



Sean,


firstly, I never said that 'planning' should be done on a racial basis so please either read what I wrote. Secondly, I am somewhat gobsmacked by your opinion about who should be allowed or not allowed to live in 'rural villages'. You may not have a problem with the local working class population who may have been living in such villages for generations being driven out of the area by incoming, wealthier outsiders wanting to escape the dirt and noise of urban life however many including myself do. I find the whole line of class segregation you are pushing quite abhorrent and am genuinely shocked by it being aired openly on this website.


How sad :'(
Title: Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
Post by: Sean_A on September 03, 2018, 02:03:13 PM

David,

the planning system in Scotland is different from England.


Ben,


this was never always going to be called in and is only been so because the SNP are in hoc to the Green Party represented none directly elected MSPs.


Marty,


you cannot have the processes running parallel as this could lead to two different outcomes.


Sean,


there is no blackmail involved in the planning systems in the UK but developers are required to consider the impact of their projects on the local area. If anything the system is weighted in favour of the developer not the planners.

The presumption of planning depends on local plans. Jesus, after having spent 5 years to develop a Neighbourhood Plan I know far too much about planning than I would like. Planning is the darkest of all arts.   

The extra costs of infrastructure development, amenity increase costs, provision of social housing (all under the guise of S106 in England), land swapping etc is often the difference between development and not.  Our Council is in constant negotiations with developers and the local authority about how to keep these cream funds local.  One of the few very good planning projects I have seen locally was unaffordable for the developer because of the requirement for social housing.

Ciao



Sean,


one of the things that most people in the UK appreciate is the need for a mixed community in both social and racial terms. This also means on projects above a certain size it is important to have a mixture of housing which includes social housing. Also, larger projects will have a larger impact on local infrastructure so it is only fair for developers fund mitigation work.


Jon

Jon

First off...I have never heard of racially based planning and I hope I never do. 

I have no issue with social housing so long as it is appropriately located...that is in areas where there is employment, transportation, infrastructure and amenities. I see little point in placing social housing in rural villages where none of these benefits exist.  Of course, some developments are large enough to tastefully incorporate social housing...and some are not.  In the case I referenced, one social housing unit among three rural market dwellings was wholly inappropriate and made the scheme unaffordable to develop.  IMO...this is very poor planning regulation which stopped the development of some very cool ecologically sound bungalows. 

Ciao



Sean,


firstly, I never said that 'planning' should be done on a racial basis so please either read what I wrote. Secondly, I am somewhat gobsmacked by your opinion about who should be allowed or not allowed to live in 'rural villages'. You may not have a problem with the local working class population who may have been living in such villages for generations being driven out of the area by incoming, wealthier outsiders wanting to escape the dirt and noise of urban life however many including myself do. I find the whole line of class segregation you are pushing quite abhorrent and am genuinely shocked by it being aired openly on this website.


How sad :'(

Jon

I find it disturbing that you consider the opinions of others abhorrent because they don't meet your standard social equity.  But hey, that seems to be the way of the world in the Trump era...you are either with me or against me.  We all can't be socialists or there wouldn't be any money to build social housing....how is that for an opinion?  I can just about understand the agenda of altering demographics via the planning process, except that a significant percentage of people moving into social housing these these days don't have legitimate ties with the community.  If there are no ties, why not build the houses in towns and cities where jobs, transport, infrastructure and amenites already exist?  Why gobble up more and more open countryside? 

Village centres are being eroded by urbanization at an alarming rate...the very thing people are trying to avoid when moving to villages.  Its criminal to have so many empty properties in cities and yet build in unsustainable green land areas or village centres. It makes zero sense to me and the system will continue to crack and leak until England's green and pleasant land is no longer. Sure, I have serious issues with social housing as automatic tag on to development...and for very good reasons.

BTW...why you raise the concept of race in regards to a planning discussion is beyond me...unless you think the two are connected.

Ciao