Proposed Coul Links Golf Course In Scotland Moves Closer

It would generate £60m for the local economy and create 250 jobs in the first decade

Coul Links Golf Course
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The proposed highlands links course near Royal Dornoch has moved closer to reality after the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency removed its objections

Proposed Coul Links Golf Course In Scotland Moves Closer

A proposed new world class 18 hole championship links course in the Scottish highlands has moved closer to reality.

Coul Links, near Embo in East Sutherland, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the proposed golf course has received some opposition.

However, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has, according to developers, removed its objections to the planned golf course.

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The new championship links course is backed by US billionaire and renowned golf course Mike Keiser.

Keiser has said on Coul Links, “We would dearly love to fit Coul Links into the landscape. It would be a great honour to work once more in the home of golf.

"I really enjoyed helping the team at Askernish and raising awareness for the golf club and local community.

"We are acutely aware of the sensitive nature of this site and will strive to enhance it, just as we did at Askernish, On this occasion we will take that one step further having Embo Community trust on our board of directors as an investor. The team feel this will bring continuity and a strong feeling of ownership of the project for generations to come."

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Coul Links is predicted to raise £60 million for the local economy and create around 250 jobs in its first 10 years.

Keiser owns 11 golf courses around the world, some of them incredibly highly-rated, including Bandon Dunes in Oregon, Cabot Links in Nova Scotia, Barnbougle in Tasmania, and Sand Valley in Wisconsin which won Golf Digest's 'Best New Course of 2017'.

Bandon Dunes. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Co-developer of Coul Links golf course Todd Warnock told The Scotsman: “We are very pleased with the thorough and professional dialogue we have had with SEPA over the last almost three years.

“We have taken the time to work constructively together to ensure the environmental integrity of the site and at the same time to advance one of the largest private investments in the history of Sutherland. We are now also looking forward to the response letter which is expected from Scottish Natural Heritage.”

The proposed site is just north and up the coast from Royal Dornoch.

A protest against the golf course by the group 'Not Coul, Stop Coul Links Golf Course' has received over 87,000 signatures.

The RSPB say, "Coul Links is one of the last areas of undeveloped species-rich dune habitat in Scotland.

"The proposed golf course would destroy this unique collection of dune habitats and would result in harmful disturbance to both wintering and breeding waders, waterfowl and other species, many of which are rare or declining in number."

Although, according to, 'All of the local golf clubs (Brora, Fortrose & Rosemarkie, Golspie, Royal Dornoch, Skibo, Wick, Bonar Bridge and Tain), Embo Trust, Dornoch Council, Dornoch Area Community Interest Company, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, VisitScotland, the University of Highlands and Islands Golf Programme, and the overwhelming majority of local citizens who attended the Coul Links (6) public consultation events, support this project.'

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Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV