Where to Stay: The Carnoustie Golf Resort
The Championship Course
The Championship course at Carnoustie may well be most famous for being integral on the Dunhill Links Championship; however, it has also hosted eight Open Championships, Two senior Opens and one Ladies Open. These tournaments making it one of the very few to have held so many top-level competitions in the U.K.
The course has been labelled stark, gigantic, brutal and monstrous over the years by some of golf’s elite. And at over 7100 Yards is punishing long for a traditional links layout. For those that have a bucket list of golf courses worldwide or even a desire to conquer the full complement of Open courses then the list would not be complete without Carnoustie. For a Links layout, rarely, the sea is not visible, and no two holes run in the same direction.
Walter Hagen once wrote that Carnoustie was the best course in Briton and the top three courses of the world. It is hard to argue this statement.
The History of Carnoustie
Carnoustie dates back as early as 1839 which makes it one of the world’s oldest golf courses although was not deemed a full 18 holes until Old Tom Morris completed the layout in 1857.
The first Open Championship was held at Carnoustie back in 1931 five years after James Braid revamped and modernised the traditional links. The winner that year was Tommy Armour who was a Scot that had emigrated and was a resident of New York. In the 1930s chartered accountant James Wright was given the chair of the Carnoustie golf courses committee and had the vision to bring the course into the age of the steel shaft. The course has hardly changed since.
Holes 15-17 regarded as the best closing holes in golf.
Over the years of history, we have witnessed some of golf’s greatest shots played at Carnoustie. In 1953 Ben Hogan made his only ever appearance in an Open Championship and won at Carnoustie. ‘Hogan’s Alley’ the sixth hole is aptly named after on all four rounds Hogan played his tee shot dangerously close down the left-hand side between the fairway bunker and out of bounds. This little channel allowed a much shorter approach shot into the green, and a vision that only Ben Hogan could see can be replicated to this very date.
Jean Van de Velde and Carnoustie
Who can forget the meltdown of Jean Van de Velde back in 1999 who teed up on 18 with the Claret Jug almost in the clasp of his hands? After hitting a near-perfect tee shot on 18, Jean made the rash decision to try and clear the Barry Burn meaning a short up and down would all but secure his first Open Championship. However after clearing the Burn, Jean’s strike managed to rebound into the deepest of rough after hitting the grandstand, a chunked wedge shot later, and the rest was history.
Visions of Van de Velde wading shoes and socks off in the Burn will forever live in Open Championship history. A treble bogie forced a 3 way four-hole playoff where Paul Lawry executed one of the best 4 irons ever seen on the last playoff hole, 229 yards over the burn to 3 feet and a tap in passed the 1999 Open Championship to Paul.
Padraig Harrington claimed his first-ever open on the Championship at Carnoustie and Padraig still insists that his pitch shot from 49 yards on the 72nd hole was his finest ever golf shot.
Open Champion Winners at Carnoustie
Carnoustie has made Open Champions of, Francesco Molinari (2018), Padraig Harrington (2008), Paul Lawry (1999), Tom Watson (1975), Gary Player (1968), Ben Hogan (1953), Henry Cotton (1937) and Tommy Armour (1931).
Carnoustie has made an enormous contribution to the game of golf.
The Burnside Course
The Burnside has often been used for Open Qualifying when the Championship Course has been the host of the Open.
The Burnside opened for play in 1934, designed by James Braid.
Although much shorter than the Championship at just over 7000 yards and with a Par of 68. The Burnside still has a standard scratch of 70 and is by no means an easy contest, What the Burnside lacks in length it more than makes up for with tight heather lined fairways, pot bunkers and of course as the name indicates the famous Barry Burn which winds its way through the layout.
Ben Hogan who only participated in the Open Championship (and won) once qualified on the Burnside before lifting the infamous Claret Jug on the Championship Links later that year.
Many of the stunning golf holes on the Burnside could easily be placed on some of the world’s top links courses, The 5th and 14th holes are prime examples of stunning links golf.
The Par 3’s are phenomenal and some of the best you will find on the coastline, and although the main reason that most people would visit Carnoustie would be to play the Championship course, The Burnside is as good as you will find anywhere.
The 18th Hole has wrecked many a scorecard despite only measuring 307 yards.
The Buddon Course
The Carnoustie Buddon Course opened for play as an 18 hole course back in 1981 when Dave Thomas and Peter Alliss designed the original course on former Ministry of Defence land. All the holes are named after battles as recognition to the military, who have been good neighbours to Carnoustie since the 1830’S. On the seaward side of the course, you will see one of the most important army training areas in the whole of Britain.
The Carnoustie Buddon Links is a fantastic test of golf with great natural beauty. It starts and finishes as a links course with several holes in the middle of the round tree-lined. Boasting attractive lakes rich with local wildlife especially on the 11th hole, this course consistently creates a great experience for all golfers.
The public Links of Carnoustie are amongst the world’s best golf courses, and we highly recommend a round on the Burnside when you visit Carnoustie for your next golf break to Scotland.