- Golfing Groups: Any golfer worthy of the description should play Carnoustie and the adventure is best undertaken in a group of like-minded souls. The great Open Championship links is not the only golfing attraction, either: there's plenty more of comparable quality within a short drive.
CARNOUSTIE COUNTRY: FOR THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE IN GOLF
If the great links of Carnoustie didn’t exist the county of Angus would still be a golfing mecca, such are the alternative attractions. On the other hand, if Carnoustie were the only course available the golfing world would still beat a path to its first tee. Many regard it as not merely the greatest links in Britain but one of the outstanding links in the whole of golf.
It’s not a pretty sight. Carnoustie merits many adjectives but pretty isn’t one of them. It has been described as “stark, evil, gigantic, brutal and monstrous.” It is unrelenting in its challenge and sparse with its rewards. But you could play like your granny and still walk off the 18th green basking in the thrill of playing one of the world’s great links. If you’ve played well your cup will runneth over.
Lying on sand dunes alongside the Firth of Tay, and thus exposed to the vagaries of wind and weather, it’s a links with every golfing attribute and no glaring weakness. Length, accuracy and judgment are part of the armoury required: sound course management and a hot putter are imperatives, too.
No more than two consecutive holes run in the same direction, so the wind is an ever-changing factor; the flat terrain underscores the required judgment of distance and strategy, and a multitude of hazards – cavernous bunkers, out of bounds and the seemingly ubiquitous burns – demand the ultimate in concentration and imagination. Any golfer worth his salt should play Carnoustie and the card would be a reminder of one of his great days.
Angus is on the east coast of Scotland about an hour to the north of St Andrews, beyond Dundee. So once you’ve had your fill of Fife’s major attractions Carnoustie Country, as it’s now known, is no distance at all.
Click here to see a map of Carnoustie.
A bonus is the Carnoustie Golf Hotel. It’s no secret that its construction brought the Open Championship back to Carnoustie in 1999 for the first time for 24 years. The return of the Open has encouraged other hoteliers and now there’s no shortage of quality accommodation.
THE GOLF TOUR
You’ll want to play Carnoustie as soon as maybe but first, though, let’s explore the surrounding golf attractions, links that will have your eyeballs spinning if you’re a first time visitor.
Monifieth has two links managed by a trust, private courses over which five clubs play. Their clubhouses overlook the 18th green of the major course, known as the Medal, a rough-hewn links where great stands of pine trees form part of the tapestry, coloured by banks of golden gorse. This is the very essence of the game in Scotland. Golf has been played hereabouts for 450 years or more, at Monifieth probably since 1643. The sense of history is palpable.
Panmure, our next port of call, is a regular stop for true believers, where a pinewood path leads to a succession of links holes winding through undulating duneland to present a combination of beauty and challenge that defies description. A meandering burn, stands of trees and swathes of gorse will catch the eye, and more. Ben Hogan practised here for the 1953 Open Championship and was entranced. Quite simply, Panmure is a beauty and a barrel of fun… Go gently and enjoy.
Montrose is a resort town 30 minutes north of Carnoustie, a well-ordered place with two golf courses. The principal one is the Medal and history books have it that the course is the fifth oldest links in the world – and it looks it! This marvellous stretch of duneland could have no other use but golf. It would be sacrilegious! The present lay-out owes much to Tom Morris and Willie Park Jr. It’s a rugged, venerable links that climbs to a cliff top above the beach where it undulates for nine holes before flattening out and turning inland at right angles. So the wind holds the key and it will get you one way or t’other.
Montrose has some spectacular holes, a few mild eccentricities but heaps of character. If you’ve a soft spot for things historic you must see the Medal course. They’ll make you warmly welcome.
WHEN TO GO
Except when there is snow, golf is playable year-round although winter weather can be unpleasant and the course conditions below par. In winter, too, mats for fairway shots are common and forward tees and shorter courses are standard. Summer and autumn, from July onwards, are best for golf: the weather can be surprisingly warm and the courses will be in top condition and at full stretch. Autumn is a delight.
Angus offers miles of unspoiled charm, idyllic beaches, untouched glens, rugged mountains and breath-taking scenery to explore.
Carnoustie Golf Hotel is an ideal base for exploring Angus, which boasts stunning walks, numerous fishing lakes and countless historical places of interest. Of note, Glamis Castle has been the family home of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne since 1372. It was the childhood home of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, birthplace of Her Royal Highness.
While staying at the Carnoustie Golf Hotel you can visit:
TIPS TO ENHANCE YOUR TRIP
The nearest international airport is Glagow Prestwick, although Dundee has an airport for national services. Hire cars are available from Hertz and Avis at both airports.
Airport transfers can be arranged by the hotel. However, if you plan to explore Carnoustie Country (and you should) then a hire car is essential.
Never under-estimate the Scottish weather! The east coast has some of the sunniest weather in Britain but it can be bitterly cold in Spring and is invariably windy. Wet weather gear is imperative. Otherwise, semi-formal dress is acceptable for the hotels and restaurants in the area.
£ sterling. For current rates of exchange, click here.
The country code for the UK is +44, and the area code for Carnoustie is (0)1241 (drop the "0" if dialing internationally) - then add the local extension.
HOW TO BOOK YOUR VACATION
Request a Quotation or Use Our Recommended Golf Tour Operator
PGT can negotiate discounted rates and bonuses for our readers. Simply contact us giving details of preferred dates and your requirements and we will contact the resort on your behalf.
Alternatively you could
Book Through A Tour Operator
If you require a total holiday package including flights, transfers, accommodation and golf reservations PGT will recommend the tour operator who serves the resort or destination of your choice and negotiate any possible discount available.
Insurance isn't fun but it is both important and a sensible investment when travelling overseas (particularly when transporting expensive golf equipment). We recommend American Express .