Designer of Scottish golf courses

Born: April 4, 1949;

Died: June 3, 2019

MARK Parsinen, who has died aged 70, was an American golf course designer known for the creation of the Castle Stuart Golf Links near Inverness; he was also co-designer of Kingsbarns Golf Links near St Andrews.

Castle Stuart, which was designed with fellow American Gil Hanse, opened in the summer of 2009 and within 18 months staged the European Tour’s Scottish Open, the first time such a major golf event had been held in the Scottish Highlands.

The course, with spectacular views overlooking the Moray Firth, has held the tournament four times, from 2011-2013 and again in 2016. Parsinen's design for the resort near Inverness included a Par 3 course, which he designed, a second championship course, as well as hotels and on-site lodges for visiting golfers.

Raised in Minnesota, Mark Parsinen grew up with golf. As a teenager he was a caddie and while at school he was on the greenkeeping crew at his local course. He inherited from his Finnish parents a cultural characteristic they call sisu, or '"ever giving up". “Sisu was hammered into me from birth," said Parsinen, "and golf seemed a perfect match for me insofar as perseverance in golf in the face of imperfection."

A two-handicap golfer, Parsinen studied at the London School of Economics, the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford Graduate School of Business, before becoming director of marketing at the Adolph Coors Company and later partner and vice president at the Boston Consulting Group.

In 1983, his career took him to Silicon Valley, where he set up a specialist computer company with three electrical engineering professors and rose to become president and CEO in 1990.

Later, semi-retired, he co-built a course at Granite Bay in California, which also helped develop his philosophy for how golf should be played.

“I built it for people like me who loved golf, whose skills were suspect or were never honed in the first place, whose spare time was precious, and who wanted to find some pleasure in the time they spent playing the game of golf," he said. "And rather than being humiliated by their inevitable errant shots, would appreciate opportunities to recover and to some extent have a chance to redeem themselves.”

He carried this through to his next project when, with Kyle Phillips, he created the Kingsbarns Golf Links at St Andrews which opened in 2000. He was managing director and partner until 2005. Parsinen became involved with Castle Stuart in 2004.

Mark Parsinen is survived by his wife of 48 years, Dede, their children Cammy, Jenny and Samantha and their four grandchildren.