Mark Parsinen, the co-designer of both Castle Stuart and Kingsbarns, has passed away at home in California after suffering a stroke last week. He was 70.
A visionary course designer, Parsinen created Castle Stuart in tandem with Gil Hanse, having earlier made his mark at Kingsbarns along with another fellow American, Kyle Phillips.
It was almost exactly ten years ago that Parsinen looked on with immense pride as Castle Stuart opened and quickly became a new venue for the Scottish Open.
He was a managing partner in the business and loved nothing more than looking out on the course with its spectacular views across the Moray Firth from his cottage on the property.
“Mark was a friend first and a partner second,” said Grant Sword, also a managing partner at Castle Stuart. “His knowledge of golf and design was inspiring and his enthusiasm for his work highly infectious.
“He was immensely proud of what he achieved here, but his vision for the resort was much bigger. As difficult as it will be without him, we must continue his legacy and fulfill his ambitions for a place he held dear to his heart.”
Stuart McColm, Castle Stuart’s general manager, added: “Everyone at Castle Stuart, and the wider golfing world, is today mourning a man whose foresight, creativity and intelligence made him one of the great golf architects of modern times.
“He helped create something special at Castle Stuart and that, along with the other courses he designed or influenced, will be his legacy.
“But he was also a charming and engaging person, and a great friend to many at Castle Stuart, the Highlands and Scotland, and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go to Dede and the rest of Mark’s family and colleagues.
“Words can’t describe the feelings that have been around since first learning of his stroke some days ago and today is the end of a massive chapter in the continuing evolution of Castle Stuart.
“We all have a duty now to continue delivering his vision.”
That vision included a Par 3 course, which he designed, a second championship course, as well as hotels and on-site lodges for visiting golfers.