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Eric Smith

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #75 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

Will MacEwen

Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #76 on: April 23, 2016, 06:41:36 PM »
You guys can't possibly be serious. Listen to the song.

Kris Shreiner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #77 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
« Last Edit: April 24, 2016, 12:17:43 AM by Kris Shreiner »
"I said in a talk at the Dunhill Tournament in St. Andrews a few years back that I thought any of the caddies I'd had that week would probably make a good golf course architect. We all want to ask golfers of all abilities to get more out of their games -caddies do that for a living." T.Doak

Will MacEwen

Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #78 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.

Kris Shreiner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #79 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.

« Last Edit: April 23, 2016, 11:57:26 PM by Kris Shreiner »
"I said in a talk at the Dunhill Tournament in St. Andrews a few years back that I thought any of the caddies I'd had that week would probably make a good golf course architect. We all want to ask golfers of all abilities to get more out of their games -caddies do that for a living." T.Doak

Kris Shreiner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #80 on: April 23, 2016, 11:43:28 PM »
It is a good song. We just need to be sure what it means.
Cheers.
Kris


« Last Edit: April 23, 2016, 11:59:02 PM by Kris Shreiner »
"I said in a talk at the Dunhill Tournament in St. Andrews a few years back that I thought any of the caddies I'd had that week would probably make a good golf course architect. We all want to ask golfers of all abilities to get more out of their games -caddies do that for a living." T.Doak

jeffwarne

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #81 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.
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Alexander MacDonald

Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #82 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!


Kris Shreiner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #83 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







 
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 02:28:31 AM by Kris Shreiner »
"I said in a talk at the Dunhill Tournament in St. Andrews a few years back that I thought any of the caddies I'd had that week would probably make a good golf course architect. We all want to ask golfers of all abilities to get more out of their games -caddies do that for a living." T.Doak

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #84 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
« Last Edit: January 23, 2020, 04:50:24 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #85 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

Jon Wiggett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #86 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

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #87 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

Kris Shreiner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #88 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

« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 09:40:55 AM by Kris Shreiner »
"I said in a talk at the Dunhill Tournament in St. Andrews a few years back that I thought any of the caddies I'd had that week would probably make a good golf course architect. We all want to ask golfers of all abilities to get more out of their games -caddies do that for a living." T.Doak

Garland Bayley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #89 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.
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

Alexander MacDonald

Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #90 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

MClutterbuck

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #91 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.

Jon Wiggett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #92 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
« Last Edit: April 26, 2016, 03:29:33 AM by Jon Wiggett »

Rich Goodale

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #93 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
Life is good.

Any afterlife is unlikely and/or dodgy.

Jean-Paul Parodi

Dave McCollum

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #94 on: April 25, 2016, 04:32:58 PM »
I understand Krisís 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 donít understand is the wildlife Kris claims will be disrupted, forced to adapt, or displaced.  Iíve seen most of Scotland and have a personal affection for the Highlandsówild 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.  Iíve seen some stags, birds, marine life, and so on, but mostly I remember grazing domestic animals.  Maybe that is source of Krisís passion:  the need to preserve the wild places that remain.  I donít 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 donít mean to be cynical or belittle Krisís 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 weíve 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 itís a year around buffet.

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #95 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

Jon Wiggett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #96 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

Rich Goodale

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #97 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
Life is good.

Any afterlife is unlikely and/or dodgy.

Jean-Paul Parodi

Jon Wiggett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #98 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

Kris Shreiner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #99 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



« Last Edit: April 26, 2016, 11:24:26 AM by Kris Shreiner »
"I said in a talk at the Dunhill Tournament in St. Andrews a few years back that I thought any of the caddies I'd had that week would probably make a good golf course architect. We all want to ask golfers of all abilities to get more out of their games -caddies do that for a living." T.Doak

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