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.