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New owners of Dornoch Hotel get behind bid for championship golf course at Coul Links and donate £10k to community group pushing plan forward

By Caroline McMorran

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The new owners of the Dornoch Hotel are supporting the fresh bid for a championship golf course at Coul Links, near Embo.

American real estate firm, Marine and Lawn Hotels and Resorts, which recently announced its purchase of the Dornoch Hotel, have made a £10,000 donation to Communities for Coul (C4C), the organisation spearheading the renewed golf course plan.

The financial contribution has helped C4C reach its £150,000 fundraising target towards the costs of its planning application.

The Dornoch Hotel is currently closed for extensive renovations.
The Dornoch Hotel is currently closed for extensive renovations.

Marine Lawn Hotels and Resorts has a portfolio of five luxury hotels - all in famous golfing destinations in Scotland and Ireland.

Company president Phillip Allan has visited the site of the proposed Coul Links with C4C members, and later voiced his support in a letter.

Mr Allan said: “The possibility of a golf course at Coul Links certainly made investing in Dornoch a more attractive prospect.”

He pointed out that other parts of the UK boasted more "brand name golf courses" that attracted golf tourist for longer stays, whereas Dornoch was known almost exclusively for Royal Dornoch.

Mr Allan said the development of Coul Links by golf course developer Mike Keiser with architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, would change that perception.

“These three names are synonymous with golf course architecture at its finest and they have created some of the best and most coveted golf destinations of the last 50 years,” he said.

“With Royal Dornoch and Coul Links serving as cornerstones of a Highlands golf trip, many of the other courses, such as Brora, Golspie, and Tain – excellent courses in their own right, if not as famous as Royal Dornoch – will also see increased demand from visitors looking to maximize their leisure time and minimize their travel."

Gordon Sutherland, of C4C said: “We are very grateful to Phillip and his colleagues at Marine and Lawn Hotels and Resorts, both for their extremely generous donation and for the full-hearted backing of our plans for Coul Links.

“Marine and Lawn Hotels and Resorts and C4C share aspirations of playing a part in revitalising the Sutherland economy in a sustainable way and creating good employment opportunities for the people who live here. We look forward to working together."

C4C is currently finalising a planning application for the project, which will be submitted to Highland Council in due course.

The 122-room Dornoch Hotel has closed for extensive renovations and is scheduled to reopen under the name the Dornoch Station Hotel next year.

When complete, the property will offer 89 more spacious rooms.

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