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Taymouth Castle golf course wins 9am booze licence

Bosses also revealed members will pay upwards of £4m for a house plot at the Perthshire resort

Taymouth Castle with golf flag in foreground
Alcohol will be served from carts on the Taymouth Castle golf course. Image: Supplied.

Taymouth Castle chiefs will be allowed to sell alcohol on their golf course from 9am.

Councillors were persuaded to permit the early start after hearing the luxury resort’s residents could be crossing time zones to get to the first tee.

They were told members would be paying upwards of £4 million for a plot on the estate.

And lawyers for the £790m Taymouth Castle project successfully argued golfers should be entitled to “a modest tipple” along the way.

Perth and Kinross licensing board granted the Kenmore estate’s provisional licence application on Wednesday.

It will permit the sale and consumption of alcohol on the golf course from 9am to 11pm.

Board policy does not normally allow alcohol sales before 11am.

But licensing lawyer Stephen McGowan urged councillors to bear in mind the “exceptional” nature of the Taymouth Castle application.

Taymouth Castle with mountains and forests behind
Golf will be a big part of the draw at Taymouth Castle. Image: Kenny Smith/ DC Thomson.

“The people who are members and residents will be coming from all over the world and all time zones,” he said.

“They will be very keen to get on the golf course regardless of when they arrive.

“It’s perhaps understandable that groups of members coming from other parts of the world might be looking for a beverage.”

Taymouth Castle staying ‘true to spirit of golf’

The board was told alcohol would be served from golf carts by trained and experienced staff.

“They will be able to supervise and monitor any person who does choose to take a beverage from the cart,” said Mr McGowan.

And he insisted drinking would merely be an add-on to the main event, the golf itself.

Glass of beer on the background blur of golf course.
Taymouth Castle golf members will be able to enjoy a round with their round. Image: Shutterstock.

“Consumption of alcohol will be ancillary to the primary activity,” he said.

“I don’t think this will be associated with antisocial behaviour.”

Members also learned Taymouth Castle would be discouraging motorised golf buggies since they are “not true to the spirit of golf”.

The licence will also extend to the occasional marquee for members-only golf tournaments and similar events, as well as parts of the castle.

Taymouth estate plots will start at £4m

The Taymouth Castle estate was purchased by US real estate firm Discovery Land Company in 2019.

The business, owned by tycoon Mike Meldman, has already spent millions on renovating the 19th century castle, which had fallen into disrepair, and the golf course.

Large stone gates at entrance to Taymouth Castle in village of Kenmore
The gates to Taymouth Castle at Kenmore. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

Once completed, the castle will feature 23 suites, two restaurants, multiple bars and gym facilities.

A spa and equestrian centre are also planned, along with approximately 145 private homes.

Discovery Land Company operates a similar model at its resorts around the world.

Taymouth Castle will be its second in Europe and first in the UK.

General Manager David O’Donoghue gave licensing board members an insight into the kind of people it might attract.

“We are a real estate business. We sell dirt,” he said.

“Lots will start at £4m and go up from there.”

Taymouth Castle exterior with people in hard hats and hi-vis jackets outside
Taymouth Castle has been undergoing a major refurbishment. Image: Kenny Smith/ DC Thomson.
People in hard hats and high vis jackets looking up at elaborately decorated ceiling
The refurbishments inside are impressive.

He said Discovery Land Company members were “50% from the US, 50% from Europe”.

They are “well travelled”, he added, with the “financial freedom” to flit between multiple homes, including others in the Discovery Land Company portfolio.

Development heralds massive change

A recent economic impact statement predicted the Taymouth Castle estate could generate £390m for the Perth and Kinross economy in its first 25 years.

Many residents have welcomed the investment – and the promise of jobs.

Taymouth Castle bosses have also purchased a number of properties in neighbouring Kenmore, including the hotel and village shop.

However, critics have accused Discovery Land Company of turning the area into a “billionaires’ playground”.

An online petition, started by the Protect Loch Tay protest group, has attracted almost 160,000 signatures.