Carnoustie Championship Golf Club
Founded: 1842 (Carnoustie & Taymouth)
Designer: Old Tom Morris, James Braid
Championship Length: 6,941 / 6,692 / 6,405 yards
PAR: 72 / 70 / 70
What can you say about the “Beast” that is Carnoustie Championship Links? Whether it is praise or blame that you seek to apportion, the names of Robertson, Morris and Braid are those of the designers in question. Though records speak about golf or “gowff” to be more specific, being played in the area as far back as 1520, the present course was moulded by successive architects over the years since the initial ten holes were laid out in 1842.
Whilst there may be little dramatic background scenery, the beauty of Carnoustie is to be found in the course itself. The layout is such that no two consecutive holes face the same direction, a factor that does nothing for the golfer in finding their rhythm in the face of often-stiff winds. And Carnoustie’s famous burns that snake their way around the course – Jockie’s Burn and the Barry Burn represent two more obstacles to posting a respectable tally. Regarded by many including Walter Hagen and Gary Player as one of the best links in the world, Carnoustie Championship Links, though not particularly long from the medal tees, is not a course for the unthinking big-hitter. With judgement of wind and distance critical, every tee shot needs careful placement to set up an approach to the green.
Sometimes you get an easy start to a golf course but not here. Having made your initial introductions to the Barry Burn, the second shot on this 400-yard opener is a blind one to a hidden green with countless slick borrows. And after 15 gruelling but majestic holes, the virgin player is still unprepared for one of the toughest finishing stretches in golf. If you par the last three holes, you will invariably walk from the 18th green with your head held high. If not, well don’t feel too bad – imagine how Jean van de Velde felt standing in the waters of the Barry Burn in 1999.
Given its quality, it is difficult to comprehend why this links lay virtually undiscovered for so long and why it took until 1931 for it to host its first British Open. Since then, this great links has hosted the Open on six occasions, its array of champions including Armour, Cotton, Hogan, Player, Watson and Lawrie, fittingly bearing testament to the toughness of Carnoustie. Carnoustie Championship Links is also one of the three venues for the annual Dunhill Links Championship (the other two being the St Andrews Old Course and Kingsbarns).
Blairgowrie (1 hr, 10 min); Cruden Bay (2 hrs, 40 min); Dukes (65 min); Kingsbarns (1 hr, 15 min); Ladybank (65 min); Leven Links (1 hr, 20 min); Lundin (1 hr, 20 min); Monifieth (15 min); Murcar (2 hrs, 10 min); Panmure (10 min); Royal Aberdeen (2 hrs, 5 min); Scotscraig (45 min)
RECOMMENDED NEARBY ACCOMMODATION:
Carnoustie Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa (1 min); Fairmont St Andrews (1 hr, 10 min); Old Course Hotel (60 min); Rufflets Country House (65 min); Rusacks Hotel (60 min); St Andrews Golf Hotel (60 min)
Situated a few hundred yards from the village of Carnoustie, approximately 24 miles north of St. Andrews, just off the A930 route.