The company which owns the four-star Royal Golf Hotel in Dornoch has come out in support of the boost they believe the proposed new Coul Links golf course at Embo can give to the economy of east Sutherland.
And toshow their confidence in the project, they are preparing a planning application for a £1 million extension to the hotel to cope with demand from golfers.
Inverness businessman David Sutherland, lead shareholder in the Dornoch venture, said: “It would be a serious setback to the local economy if Coul Links was not to be allowed to join the area’s splendid golfing portfolio.
“Their specialists are tasked with ensuring long-term biodiversity gain for the location. Brandon Dunes, on the Oregon coast, is owned by Mike Keiser, a partner in the Coul Links project, and it is described as arguably the closest thing in America to St Andrews.
“We’ve no financial involvement in the project but, like so many local people, we’re cheering it on through the planning process.”
A pre-application to Highland Council to consult with planners on extending the Royal Golf involves adding eight double bedrooms to the existing 22 en suite bedrooms with views overlooking the world-famous golf course and the Dornoch Firth.
Mr Sutherland said: “We’ve had extremely strong demand from travel agents worldwide and those seeking online bookings and it is time to address this, while further enhancing the hotel’s facilities.
“The fall in the pound since the Brexit vote has made the hotel even more popular with European visitors. The volume of our repeat business from the United States accounts for 50 per cent of all our bookings this year.
“The forward indications are of growing demand – and we are investing to cater for it rather than the business being lost to east Sutherland.
“We completed a £250,000 refurbishment last year to maintain the high standard of the bedrooms, having spent £1.25 million on upgrades in the past six years.
“So many golfers book the Royal Golf along with flights and tee times at Royal Dornoch and the host of quality courses within an hour’s drive.
“The hotel now sustains 30 jobs and makes an important contribution to the local economy, which badly needs more four-star bedroom space.”