Hopes are high locally that the decision to take the event to Castle Stuart will have far reaching consequences not only for the course but for the entire tourist trade in this part of the world.
The myth and legend that surrounds venues like Royal Dornoch and the knowing whispers of insiders about the quality of those such as Boat of Garten will be replaced by the promotional reality of television pictures going live worldwide from a stunning venue.
It is an extraordinary turn of events that has brought this about just two years after Castle Stuart was opened, as reflected yesterday in the thoughts of Mike Stewart, the European Tour’s tournament director, who hails from nearby Inverness.
“This event is a bit special for me due to my local connection,” he said. “It is really exciting for me that we have something like this taking place in this part of the Highlands. We’ve never had anything like this before and, to be honest, I never dreamt we would see it.”
Nor did many others, which is what makes the decision to bring the tournament here so important, because this is the showcase the sport has needed.
Dornoch has long been regarded as being of Open Championship standard but without the surrounding infrastructure to cope with staging a major event.
Just along the Moray Firth coast from Castle Stuart, the Nairn Golf Club -- which boasts what may be the finest greens in Scotland or anywhere else for that matter -- will meanwhile mark its 125th anniversary next year by staging the Curtis Cup match.
Nor is it only golf by the sea that is spectacular hereabouts. While it has become something of a cliche to describe Boat of Garten as a hidden inland gem, this is the second visit in three weeks by European Tour staff to this part of the world, following the Scottish Hydro Challenge at Aviemore’s imposing Spey Valley course, which lies in the shadow of the mighty Cairngorms.
For years the Scottish golfing landscape has been dominated by famous Open and European Tour venues such as St Andrews, Carnoustie, Turnberry, Royal Troon, Muirfield, Loch Lomond, Dalmahoy, Gleneagles, Blairgowrie, Haggs Castle and more recently Kingsbarns, along with the many high-class courses surrounding them.
It is, though, long overdue that the country known as the home of golf did more to alert the wider world that there is much more to Scotland than the central belt. Indeed Paul Lawrie, Aberdeen’s former Open champion who himself staged a high-quality invitational event at his delightful home club Deeside last month, has recently pointed out that he has had to re-educate a few of his fellow pros who congratulated him on acquiring a “home” venue for a Tour event. It takes almost as long for him to get to Castle Stuart as it did to Loch Lomond.
This, then, is a vital week in terms of getting those messages across and, as local lad Stewart observed, they seem to be being received well.
“You never know until the day but advance ticket sales have been fantastic,” he said. “Everybody seems to want to come here but let’s see how many people come through the gate on Thursday. I would love to see thousands of people out here enjoying the spectacle because that’s what it is. It is certainly going to be a golfing spectacle and the vista is also stunning.”