Coul Links course developers 'sensitive' to environment
The developers of a planned 18-hole championship golf course have sought to allay concerns about their proposal's impact on a protected coastal area.
US-based golf course designers Mike Keiser, Bill Coore and Todd Warnock have proposed creating the course at Coul Links, near Dornoch.
Four conservation charities have joined forces to oppose the project.
The developers said they were aiming for "minimal intrusion on the landscape".
The Scottish Wildlife Trust, RSPB Scotland, Buglife and Plantlife have concerns the course will result in the loss of a protected sand dunes habitat and rare wildlife.
The developers, who have held two meetings in the local area as part of public consultation on the plans, said the building of the course would involve laying turf over less than 55 acres (22ha) within a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
SSSIs are areas indentified as having a diverse range of wildlife and geology.
The developers said their planned new course, close to Embo, would compliment nearby Royal Dornoch golf course and others in the East Sutherland area.
Mr Keiser, who owns Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon, said: "This is a wonderful opportunity to deliver a spectacular championship links golf course which represents all that is natural about golf, in the home of golf.
"Our golf course developments aim for minimal intrusion on the landscape and the utmost care and respect for the environment.
"Our team of environmental advisors is ensuring complete sensitivity to the land, and its location."