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DESIGNER: Allan Robertson, Tom Morris, James Braid
PAR: 72
SSS (Course Rating): 74
TYPE: Links

What can you say about the "Beast" that is Carnoustie Golf Links? Whether it is praise or blame that you seek to apportion, the names of Robertson, Morris and Braid are those 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 golf 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. 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, though certainly long, 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. After 15 grueling but majestic holes, the virgin player is still unprepared for the "toughest finish in golf". If you par the last three holes, you will invariably walk from the 18th green with your head held high - if not, as Jean Van de Velde found to his eternal cost, you may just lose the money.

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 Golf Course Hotel (on site), Rusacks Hotel (55 minutes), Scores Hotel (55 minutes), St. Andrews Old Course Hotel (55 minutes), Gleneagles Hotel (70 minutes)

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