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Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1075 on: December 18, 2020, 08:44:34 PM »

This point 1 from the coullinksgolf.com website is a strange one. I haven't read all the previous messages; is the architect known?

NEWS 30 October 2020

In a letter published in The Northern Times (print edition), Councillor McGillivray returns to commending his efforts to revive plans for golf on Coul Links. The "three lines of investigation" he has followed "to see if there is any give in any part of the system" have met with discouraging results.

1. He has been assured that the original plan for the golf course cannot change because the international reputation of the designers will not permit this.


2. The Highland Council cannot accept another similar application for at least two years from refusal of the last application.


3. Scottish ministers will not review their decision.



Wow C+C are putting their repuation first rather than making compromises for the natural environment that their design could potentially damage? Adam L - is this true.........


Is what true? I am assured by those close to the project that Coul Links is dead


Adam,


I am referring to C+C approach of not changing the design which they feel will impact on their reputation. Potentially further away from the most sensitive areas of the land as a compromise. Sounds like reputation is more important to them rather than adapt and respect the environment. As you know Bill Coore better than most of us ......



Ben:


I've had problems with you before, but I am really offended by this.  You don't know shit about Bill Coore's ethics.


If I was working for Mike Keiser and he asked me to look at Coul Links, it would be implicit that he wanted me to design a world-class course, and to push the boundaries enough to be sure it would get there.  And if we couldn't get permits to build that, that would be okay.  The point of the exercise is not to build a golf course in Scotland . . . it is to build something great, and if it can't be done, you move on.


In looking at such a scenario, I would have to make value judgments whether the expected restrictions / setbacks / etc. might be relaxed . . . whether they are really based on science or just politics.  There's some of both.


DIGRESSION


To provide an example:  for the new resort project in New Zealand, I asked to put the first green on a natural site, the back of which is 145m from the mean high water mark.  The local council wanted us to stay 200m back from the shore, we asked for 100m . . . and they drew a red line at 150m, irrespective of the topography or the ecology or anything but politics, IMHO.  [They were unwilling to make further compromise, in part, because they let Bill Coore get down to 100m in certain spots.  :D ]


Of course, I can build my green so the back edge is outside the 150m line, but it will cause me to tear up and reshape a lot more ground than putting it right in the place where it fits naturally.  Unfortunately, none of the discussion was about that.


BACK TO SCOTLAND


I don't know any of the details of Coul Links, or what the environmental issues were.  I have heard from a local that the plan was rejected because it wasn't modified to respond to the planning authority's feedback.  Was that about 150m vs 145, or something more substantial?  I can only guess that whatever it was, Bill felt that changing the plan significantly would make it fall short of Mike's goals for the course, and Mike told him not to compromise that, and now they are back to square one.  It happens.  For you to make assumptions about Bill Coore's character, from that, tells me that you have not had many clients.


Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1076 on: December 18, 2020, 08:49:20 PM »
The next question is where is the property "south of Dornoch" that M. Keiser is now looking at? Maybe the abandoned Castlecraig course at Nigg?

https://www.forgottengreens.com/forgotten-greens/ross-cromarty-aultbea/castlecraig-nigg/


I suspect the property south of Dornoch is the one I looked at in January of this year.  I did not think it would pass Mr. Keiser's high standard, but maybe another architect is smarter than me, or maybe Mr. Keiser just really wants to build something near Dornoch.


The good news is, if he does pursue it, the permitting should be a lot simpler.

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1077 on: December 19, 2020, 05:25:55 AM »

This point 1 from the coullinksgolf.com website is a strange one. I haven't read all the previous messages; is the architect known?

NEWS 30 October 2020

In a letter published in The Northern Times (print edition), Councillor McGillivray returns to commending his efforts to revive plans for golf on Coul Links. The "three lines of investigation" he has followed "to see if there is any give in any part of the system" have met with discouraging results.

1. He has been assured that the original plan for the golf course cannot change because the international reputation of the designers will not permit this.


2. The Highland Council cannot accept another similar application for at least two years from refusal of the last application.


3. Scottish ministers will not review their decision.



Wow C+C are putting their repuation first rather than making compromises for the natural environment that their design could potentially damage? Adam L - is this true.........


Is what true? I am assured by those close to the project that Coul Links is dead


Adam,


I am referring to C+C approach of not changing the design which they feel will impact on their reputation. Potentially further away from the most sensitive areas of the land as a compromise. Sounds like reputation is more important to them rather than adapt and respect the environment. As you know Bill Coore better than most of us ......



Ben:


I've had problems with you before, but I am really offended by this.  You don't know shit about Bill Coore's ethics.


If I was working for Mike Keiser and he asked me to look at Coul Links, it would be implicit that he wanted me to design a world-class course, and to push the boundaries enough to be sure it would get there.  And if we couldn't get permits to build that, that would be okay.  The point of the exercise is not to build a golf course in Scotland . . . it is to build something great, and if it can't be done, you move on.


In looking at such a scenario, I would have to make value judgments whether the expected restrictions / setbacks / etc. might be relaxed . . . whether they are really based on science or just politics.  There's some of both.


DIGRESSION


To provide an example:  for the new resort project in New Zealand, I asked to put the first green on a natural site, the back of which is 145m from the mean high water mark.  The local council wanted us to stay 200m back from the shore, we asked for 100m . . . and they drew a red line at 150m, irrespective of the topography or the ecology or anything but politics, IMHO.  [They were unwilling to make further compromise, in part, because they let Bill Coore get down to 100m in certain spots.  :D ]


Of course, I can build my green so the back edge is outside the 150m line, but it will cause me to tear up and reshape a lot more ground than putting it right in the place where it fits naturally.  Unfortunately, none of the discussion was about that.


BACK TO SCOTLAND


I don't know any of the details of Coul Links, or what the environmental issues were.  I have heard from a local that the plan was rejected because it wasn't modified to respond to the planning authority's feedback.  Was that about 150m vs 145, or something more substantial?  I can only guess that whatever it was, Bill felt that changing the plan significantly would make it fall short of Mike's goals for the course, and Mike told him not to compromise that, and now they are back to square one.  It happens.  For you to make assumptions about Bill Coore's character, from that, tells me that you have not had many clients.


Tom,




Niall's response hit the spot - I did not ask the original question - the Northern Times did you should be offended by their reporter. I am questioning whether it is true which is the difference and if it is true then it smells of real arrogance from the designer.


Bill Coore is one of the most natural golf course architects.


I also have had problems with you as well. Sometimes you don't see things that others do and I won't diverge in further details. You have your way and I have mine.




Ben

SL_Solow

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1078 on: December 19, 2020, 11:21:05 AM »
Ben, either you are being disingenuous or you are a worse writer than previously demonstrated.  The technique you demonstrated is not new to those of us engaged in argument for a living.  You started with a speculative article with a near defamatory premise.  You asked whether it was true.  Each following post left off the question and proceeded as if the speculative premise were true.  By the end, the dubious nature of the underlying premise was buried and the derogatory comments were emphasized.  Those of us who know the parties involved believe the suggested behavior is far outside the norm for those involved.  You were called out for your statement.  The reply was "I was only asking a question" and then you attacked the individual who raised the issue.  Sorry but that doesn't pass the smell test.  This doesn't have anything to do with the wisdom of the decision on this project or the Trump project.  It has to do with evaluating the arguments we make and our willingness to impugn other people's motives and/or character.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 12:27:33 PM by SL_Solow »

Lou_Duran

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1079 on: December 19, 2020, 01:13:44 PM »
Great advice.  I wish we could all follow it in all facets of life, whether we sympathize with a POV or are strong partisans.


BTW, having been around Ben a bit, what he wrote was only mildly offensive compared to what at times appears on this site.  Even if it was Mike Keiser who passed on the project if he had to change it materially, it does not mean in any way that he does not care about the environment.  Both (Bill Coore, the other) have nothing to prove to anyone.


Tom Doak,


Can you confirm David Tepper's possible location?


I am assuming that you've seen the Coul Links site.  Did you believe it was that exceptional for a links? 

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1080 on: December 19, 2020, 06:15:34 PM »
Lou:  I've never been on the site for Coul Links, so I really can't answer your question.


The site David mentioned is the one I visited in January, but I don't know for sure if that's where they are talking about.

Lou_Duran

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1081 on: December 20, 2020, 12:11:32 PM »
Thanks Tom.  Can you share your thoughts on the site you toured in January?  Looks on Google more like a Royal Cromer site on a cliff along the sea than a links such as RD or Brora.


John Crowley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1082 on: December 20, 2020, 08:14:45 PM »
I have walked some of the Coul Links site. The topography would allow for creativity. On some of the land I walked, the water table seemed high. There is a significant dune running most of the way up the beach on the East side of the site which could limit sea views.


The potential for golf would be good - not exceptional - in my amateur view.


The beach is very straight there so it wouldn’t necessarily have the charm of the RDGC serpentine routing.



My guess on the new site, based on a Google Earth look, would be the low undeveloped land directly South of Dornoch on the Dornoch Firth. East of Tain and North of Inver.

Steve Wilson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1083 on: December 21, 2020, 09:57:20 AM »
John,


East of Tain and North of Inver...


Sounds like a great beginning for an historical adventure novel.
Some days you play golf, some days you find things.

I'm not really registered, but I couldn't find a symbol for certifiable.

"Every good drive by a high handicapper will be punished..."  Garland Bailey at the BUDA in sharing with me what the better player should always remember.

Lou_Duran

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1084 on: December 21, 2020, 10:17:27 AM »
John,


East of Tain and North of Inver...


Sounds like a great beginning for an historical adventure novel.


And who better to write it.  " East of Tain, North of Inverness: A Tartan Elegy"
« Last Edit: December 21, 2020, 11:14:31 AM by Lou_Duran »

James Boon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1085 on: December 21, 2020, 01:00:46 PM »
While the coatsline there on Google Maps aerial photos looks perfect and romantic as East of Tain, north of Inver (a small village not the city of Inverness) may sound, it wouldnt be for golfers... That area is part of the RAF's bombing range, and while they may only drop practice ordnance there rather than live bombs, that would make a round of golf a little bit challenging?  ;)


When I played Tain several years ago, there were jets coming in overhead and practice bombing that area, which was a great experience even if a little distracting. The famous 617 "Dambusters" squadron were based at nearby Lossiemouth at the time so I assume it was them using the range.


Cheers,


James

2022 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Reay, Ganton, Burnham & Berrow, Royal Dornoch, Woodhall Spa, Hallamshire

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

John Crowley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1086 on: December 22, 2020, 01:26:39 AM »
While the coatsline there on Google Maps aerial photos looks perfect and romantic as East of Tain, north of Inver (a small village not the city of Inverness) may sound, it wouldnt be for golfers... That area is part of the RAF's bombing range, and while they may only drop practice ordnance there rather than live bombs, that would make a round of golf a little bit challenging?  ;)


When I played Tain several years ago, there were jets coming in overhead and practice bombing that area, which was a great experience even if a little distracting. The famous 617 "Dambusters" squadron were based at nearby Lossiemouth at the time so I assume it was them using the range.


Cheers,


James
Yes the roar of the jets over Lossiemouth is thrilling, and deafening. Sometimes they seem just a few hundred feet overhead. Have experienced them overhead at Tain too. Had no idea they were dropping stuff.

Mark Chaplin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1087 on: December 22, 2020, 04:09:47 AM »
James I thought that location sounded a bit too close for comfort to the bombing range!
Cave Nil Vino

Steve Wilson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1088 on: December 22, 2020, 10:02:23 AM »
James,

 I think you might be the one to ask about this.  Alongside the road from Tain to Portmahomack there are numerous structures that were used for army training exercises.  I have been told or read that these date from WWII and D-Day exercises.  Is that, to your knowledge, correct?



« Last Edit: December 22, 2020, 10:38:50 AM by Steve Wilson »
Some days you play golf, some days you find things.

I'm not really registered, but I couldn't find a symbol for certifiable.

"Every good drive by a high handicapper will be punished..."  Garland Bailey at the BUDA in sharing with me what the better player should always remember.

James Boon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1089 on: December 22, 2020, 11:36:20 AM »
Steve,


My understanding is that its virtually always been a bombing range and they built an airfield there in the second world war to facilitate its use as a bombing range. It was both RAF and FAA that used it and there was a torpedo training school there (there is a dummy torpedo in the Tarbat Discovery Centre next to Portmahomak GC). The airfield closed after the war and I believe most of the structure there related to the use as an airfield.


That's not to say they weren't used as training for Operation Overlord by the Army, but I find lots of old military structures tend to pick up these previous suggested uses as its more interesting than saying they peeled spuds in that one over there...  ;)


However if the RAF was to stop using the area as a bombing range, there are probably some interesting landforms created that would make interesting features for a gold course. Just dont dig too deep with either the digger or sand wedge  :o


Cheers,


James
2022 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Reay, Ganton, Burnham & Berrow, Royal Dornoch, Woodhall Spa, Hallamshire

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1090 on: December 22, 2020, 12:23:58 PM »
Read somewhere online that the RAF/MoD area east of Tain covers over 2,500 acres! Some might be muddy, tidal unusable seashore but 2,500 acres is still a pretty big area by U.K. standards.
But then the MoD does own a enormous amount of land in the U.K. much of it potentially prime golfing land. I wonder if/when someone will make them an offer they can’t refuse?
Atb

Robin_Hiseman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1091 on: December 23, 2020, 12:13:30 PM »
The best remaining area of prime duneland in Scotland sits within the Culbin Forest, east of Nairn. An immense dune system was forested after WW2. You could fit several Bandon size resorts in there. It has 9 miles of coastline.
Best of '22: Al Mouj; Cleeve, Painswick, Minch Old, Silloth, Balfron, Archerfield, Roxburghe, Stoneham, Woburn Marquess, JCB, Hayling, Wentworth (East), East Sussex West, Dunes, Arcadia Bluffs South, Crystal Downs, The Loop, Shoreacres, Chicago, St. Patrick's, Rosapenna Sandy Hills & Old Tom Morris

David_Tepper

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1092 on: December 23, 2020, 12:21:45 PM »
Robin -

https://forestryandland.gov.scot/visit/culbin


The question is how available a portion of that land might be for development of a golf course?

DT



Brian_Ewen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1093 on: January 26, 2021, 04:21:42 AM »

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/2842054/controversial-golf-course-plans-could-be-back-on-as-campaign-group-calls-refusal-grave-disservice-to-area/


Controversial golf course plans could be back on as campaign group calls refusal ‘grave disservice’ to area
by Calum Petrie
January 26, 2021


Controversial plans for a luxury golf course at an important nature site in Sutherland could be back on, after a new community group said it was looking to “develop a conversation once again”.

A bitter, three-year battle was seemingly resolved in February 2020 when the Scottish Government refused to back the creation of a luxury golf course development at Coul Links near Embo.

However, the newly-launched Communities for Coul (C4C) said they were “united in the belief that their area was dealt a grave disservice” when the Scottish Government threw the plans out, after it had been approved by 16 votes to one by Highland Council.

C4C, a group of people from the towns and villages of the Dornoch Firth coast, has launched a website as part of a larger campaign to raise the possibility of a “world class” – yet “environmentally sensitive” – golf course at Coul Links.

A four-week public inquiry in 2019 heard that the site of the proposed development had one of the most complex dune systems in Scotland, with relatively low levels of human impact and was an important habitat for rare birds.

Highland Council had granted consent in 2018 against the advice of its own planning officers after developer Todd Warnock – backed by many locals – claimed it would provide a much-needed economic boost for the area.

However, after calling the issue in, the Scottish Government decided last year against the proposal, which was opposed by several nature groups.

New community-led planning application
With the support of local residents, C4C aims to put forward a new community-led planning application for a golf course to be built at Coul Links.

C4C chairman Gordon Sutherland said: “The creation of a new world class golf course at Coul Links should be viewed as a catalyst.

“Firstly for creating many, much-needed, local jobs and building the economic prosperity of the towns and villages of the Dornoch Firth seaboard, some of which have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic.

“And secondly, for providing the funds to protect almost all of the important environment at Coul Links which, currently, is being progressively lost to invasive species.”

He added that without the new golf course, “both the depopulation and the ageing demographic of our area will continue”.

The group claims that a “solid majority” of local people support the development of a golf course at Coul Links.

It cites the fact that of the 90,000 who signed the online petition against the development, less than 0.15% live within the IV25 postcode.

Mr Sutherland said: “We recognise the environmental importance of Coul Links, but believe the best way to protect the site is to obtain planning permission to sensitively create a world class golf course (using just over 1% of the Loch Fleet SSSI), and ensure that the developers implement a viable and fully funded Environmental Management Plan, as well as climate change mitigation schemes.”

‘Social and economic benefits are needed now more than ever’
Among the statements in support of a new golf course on the C4C website, Sarah MacKenzie from Tain said that, as a mother, she was worried about the future prospects for the “Covid Generation” without developments such as these.

“Having another world class golf course would be very exciting however it’s the so-much-more important part that really grips my interest,” she said.

“The social and economic benefits that the successful implementation of this project would have are needed now more than ever.”

The Communities for Coul website can be visited at https://www.communities4coul.scot/

Jeff Schley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1094 on: January 26, 2021, 04:46:56 AM »
Thanks Brian.  Any good news is welcome at this point.... so .....

"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice your gifts."
- Steve Prefontaine


Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1096 on: January 26, 2021, 12:12:52 PM »
Thanks Brian.  Any good news is welcome at this point.... so .....


Good news my arse. Hopefully it will die a death fairly soon.

Niall

Ian Mackenzie

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1097 on: January 26, 2021, 12:18:30 PM »
Thanks Brian.  Any good news is welcome at this point.... so .....


Good news my arse. Hopefully it will die a death fairly soon.

Niall


Careful, Niall...Mr. Schley will challenge your intentions then retreat back to his safe space...;-)

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1098 on: January 26, 2021, 03:35:19 PM »
Local pressure groups are all very well, but typically they don't pay many bills... the only question that matters is what the potential investors think of all this.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Ian Mackenzie

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #1099 on: January 26, 2021, 05:46:13 PM »
Local pressure groups are all very well, but typically they don't pay many bills... the only question that matters is what the potential investors think of all this.


I think if the investors saw daylight to the project being approved by the Scottish Govt, or at least not called in again upon resubmission, then logically there could be interest. They put some work into the project - just ask Chris Haspell.


From what I have heard, the "American guys" just have zee-ro appetite for a new fight.


There may be a two year period before Coul can be resubmitted. So that would mean March, 2022 - 25 months after Could was rejected.


I guess everyone is still waiting for the envornmental objection crew to actually do what they said in their spirited defense and address the rotting state of the site with some sort of plan. That was one of the pillars of their pleas.


Oh, yeah....COVID. "Out of an abundance of caution, we hereby have decided to punt on our commitments."


Works every time. I admit to using COVID as excuse to getting out of shit, too.... ;D

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