It is with a heavy heart that we leave Scotland and Carnoustie Country today. It has been a remarkable week in all respects. Perfect golf, perfect weather, fine hotels, and some outstanding dining. And jolly good hosting by the multi-talented Jane Taylor.
It is always perilous to compare and rank courses, but if I didn’t do that why would they pay me the big money (is there a sarcasm emoji)? So here it goes, the ranking for this week:
1. Carnoustie Championship course. Carnoustie is in a class of its own, a remarkable golf challenge, maybe the most difficult course in all of Scotland, paired with outstanding quality down to the very last detail. Never, ever say no to a round of golf here.
2. Panmure. In spite of a somewhat weak opening (but a few good warm-up holes) and a weak ending, this course is one that I could play over and over again. Great variation even if you played it only in sunshine and no wind. Add some weather, and Panmure offers you a new course every time you tee up. The classic clubhouse is perfect for swapping stories over a pint after your round, just remember to bring your jacket and tie.
3. Montrose. The winds of time and the winds of the sea make this classic course a real lesson in old-style links golf. We were lucky to play it in full sunshine and were treated to panoramic views of both the course and the never-ending beach below.
4. Monifieth. Like Panmure, the course starts tentatively with a couple of straightforward par fours, but then it gets interesting really fast, and especially the second nine offers up some fine links golf, with a few surprises. Somewhat unusual for a links course are some tree-lined fairways, but it only enhances the landscape and golf experience. An unassuming course, with a small kiosk-like hut where you pay your green fee, the course was a true delight.
5. Scottscraig was a mixed bag. Not in that it had any bad holes, but in that it was really two different courses in one. A traditional links experience on the front nine, and a parkland back nine. Lots of tradition here, the course was a qualifying course for the Open Championship in the past. You have to bring your best game right from the start, as the first hole is narrow and very bumpy, with a semi-blind shot to the green unless you are a really long hitter.
What about Edzell?
It’s not really fair to include Edzell in this list as it is the only parkland course we played this week. It is a fine track, further enhanced by a visit to the outstanding whiskey/gin/vodka/craft beer bar at the Glenesk Hotel next door. A better way to think of this course would be as the number one parkland course, and also a fine place to go if you’ve been beaten down by weather and wind on the coast side links for a few days, as the climate is milder here a few miles inland.
All the posts in this series:
The first couple of holes run along the train tracks and are straight and relatively wide, providing for a nice warm-up stretch. Then the fun