The course should elicit anticipation and hopefulness in players of all skill levels; let it test one's perceptual ability, judgment, decision-making, shotmaking, and emotional poise; let it not be difficult for the sake of being difficult, rather let it be interesting and engaging.
Provide wide latitude and choice (wide fairways and play areas) but never let this lead to indifference (to line of play or length of shot); let asymmetry rule; limit choice in some instances, but let the stern tests be ones to embrace not fear.
As far as possible, keep the issues simple yet profound enough to engage and occupy the mind; let the issues be visually dominating.
On the whole, let the player see the result of a good play; let him see his shot carry a hazard, his drive take a favorable contour, or his approach nestle close to a pin; punctuate with blind issues, let mystery have a place.
Bring the Moray Firth into the shotmaking perspective as much as possible; let it be a real shotmaking issue or an intriguing aspect of the line-of-play visual context; as far as possible, focus visual awareness through the course to vistas of the firth and prominent landmarks beyond; minimise inland visual aspects; let the sea dominate the visual experience.
Use the topography to its fullest; let the play twist and turn, flowing over, around, and through an array of interesting landforms; let each hole offer its own visual identity.
Emphasise 'dynamic holes', ones likely to yield a broad versus narrow distribution of scores; let short par fives, short par fours, and short par threes be a major course aspect.
Let holes be readable and emphasise unusual ones that demand decisions on the tee, holes with no single defined path to the green; let shorter hitters find a favorable approach angle not available to the longer player who might be attracted to another route, and on some par fives let the go-for-the-green-in-two driving line result in more difficulty in laying up compared with the driving line if playing for the green in three from the outset.
Let greens be intuitively readable and putts makeable if close to intended hole positions; let putts from long distances be challenging yet engaging because of contours and slopes that on occasion partition the greens; let putting be fun and not diabolically difficult.
Create a palpably visual and distinctive personality for the course, through its contours, bunkers, landscape mosaic, and optical compositions.
Let there be variety and seduction to the rhythm and flow of holes; let there be respites; let the course and its implicit test reveal a true champion's full set of skills.
Greens & Surrounds
The greens and their immediate surrounds should stand out as a unique aspect of the course; let them test one's perceptual ability, judgment, decision-making, and emotional poise; let them be more than bland targets; let them require consideration and be engaging for approach shotmaking and greenside recoveries; let them matter from the tee onwards.
Green contours and especially those at the edges should reflect the topography of surrounding landforms and be readable or at least intuited from considerable distance.
Intuitive perception from distance is important; green contours and those at the edges have meaning to the links-style forward release of the ball and therefore to angles of approach which result from lines of play chosen at the tee.
Let driving lines matter; some should be rewarded with angles into green contours that are favourable (e.g., that can gather a releasing ball toward a desirable position or deflect a release from an undesirable one) or easy to gauge (e.g., that allow a straight-and-true release rather than a deflecting one); conversely, others should result in angles that turn green contours from supportive or manageable to troublesome or confounding.
Severe contours on occasion should divide large greens into separate 'smaller greens'; these contours may be 'hazard-like' where considered aim means playing away from them; leaving such a contour in one's putting line may require 'recovery-like' putting skill.
Let the player come to realise that some contours within the green and near its edges are to be used while others are to be avoided; contours should always require consideration; greenside bunkers and abrupt falloffs (a severe form of contour) should complement contours and their impact on approach angles; but let contours be the primary defense of most greens.
Emotionally 'settling' and 'unsettling' visual perspectives should also be coordinated with angles of play, i.e., a bold line of play off a tee should sometimes be rewarded with a 'settling' approach perspective while a safer play should contend with an 'unsettling' perspective.
Greens should in general be asymmetrical, with recovery issues differing substantively when recovering from left versus right or long versus short; minimize indifference to missing left, right, long, or short.
Greens and their immediate surrounds should be generous enough to be manageable targets under windy conditions, and should provide for running shots under the wind, especially from the preferred angle of approach.
Approach issues to greens should be simple to grasp and visually dominating enough to engage the mind; insofar as possible, greens should be visible from tees, allowing one’s intuition to grasp the issues of the hole quickly and easily.
May the heart, soul and intellect of Castle Stuart's greens and surrounds be absorbing and a source of engaging consideration to all golfers.