Carnoustie is a name known to almost each and every golfer. However, most golfers associate the name only with the Championship Course of the public golf complex on the Scottish East Coast. However, the region around Carnoustie has more to offer than just this challenging test. «Carnoustie Country» has more than 30 courses, ranging from links courses on the coast line to jewels in the glens of Perthshire and Angus.
In 2015 the British Open will return to St. Andrews. This offers a chance for many visitors to take the 50-minute-ride over the Tay Bridge and through Dundee to play on one of the best and best known golf courses in the world. Or they stop along the way to check out Scotscraig in Fife, one of the qualifying courses when The Open Championship was staged at the Old Course of St. Andrews.
Seven Open Championships
The Open has been played seven times on the Carnoustie Championship Course, and the oldest and most prestigious tournament in the world will return to the Angus coast in 2018. Carnoustie is commonly rated the most difficult on the rota of ten Open courses which earned it the moniker Carnasty. It was here where legendary American golfing great Ben Hogan won this major in 1953, the only time The Ice Man participated in this championship.
Many golf fans vividly remember the 1999 Open when French pro Jean van de Velde squandered a three stroke lead on the difficult finishing hole, ventured into the Barry Burn creek and rolled up his pants. He finally decided not to play the ball submerged in water and eventually lost in a play-off to Scot Paul Lawrie. Carnoustie hosted the Senior British Open in 2010 und will do so again in 2016. The Ricoh British Women’s Open was also played on this spectacular links course in 2011.
Two more courses
Carnoustie has more to offer than just the Championship Course. Beside the 4-star-Carnoustie Hotel on site there are two more courses. These courses are overshadowed by their famous neighbor but are worth playing none the less. The Burnside Links make up a stern test of golf from the championship tees even for low handicappers. The par-3-holes, especially No. 5 and 14 and the two closing holes, will long be remembered after the round. Ben Hogan qualified for The Open on the Burnside Links with a round of 70 on route to his victory in 1953.
The youngest member of Carnoustie is called Buddon Links. Opened in 1979 and designed by Peter Alliss and Dave Thomas the course has undergone many revamps and is considered a viable alternative to the other two courses. The Nestie, a 6 hole course, is open to everyone, free of charge and considered a junior course where youngsters enjoy priority. Two putting greens invite everyone to try their hand at holing out, again without greenfee.
Located only a short drive from Carnoustie two more great courses should not be missed. Panmure, one of the hidden gems of Carnoustie Country, challenges even good players with deep bunkers and small greens. The club hosted the World Hickory Open in 2014 won by former Open and Masters-Champion Sandy Lyle from Scotland. And there is Monifieth Golf Links where golf has been played since 1643. The club owns two courses. The Medal Course is an intriguing mixture of links and parkland. The second track, the Ashludie Golf Course, is a relatively short course which calls for precision rather than power.
The fifth oldest golf course in the world
If you drive north from Carnoustie you reach Montrose. The Medal Course, a classical Scottish links, was built in 1562 and is considered the fifth oldest golf course in the world. Montrose’s second course, Broomfield, was built in 1912 and with a par of 66 and 4825 yards it is rather short by modern standards but ideal to add another 18 holes. Further north Arbroath Golf Links & Arbroath Artisan Golf Club offers another chance to play a seaside links course.
The selection of courses is even greater if you venture inland into Angus and Perthshire. Green playgrounds can be found just everywhere. Suffice it to name just the best known parkland course of Carnoustie Country, Blairgowrie Golf Club with two golf courses; Rosemount and Lansdowne. Prior to the Ryder Cup in neighboring Gleneagles the Junior Ryder Cup took place here. Blairgowrie is a 36- hole complex like Murrayshall with its stately country hotel right in the middle of a beautiful and peaceful parkland setting.
Carnoustie Country offers easy access through the international airports of Edinburgh and Aberdeen and is only a short drive away from St. Andrews (30 minutes) or Gleneagles (40 minutes). There are also domestic flights to Dundee airport i.e. from London.
From luxurious hotels, small cottages to charming B&B’s a wide range of accommodation is available everywhere in Carnoustie Country. Just to name a few, small groups for example can lodge in style and rent the whole historic mansion House of Turin with ten rooms and its own helipad. If you want to stay in a real castle, Kinnettles Castle is the place.