Carnoustie Country - Golf and So Much More
Article by Golfshake Ambassador Andrew Picken
Golf has been played in and around Carnoustie for more than 450 years. It is a place where golfers seeking adventures embrace the challenge of the links, take a gentle stroll through stunning parkland and indulge in the beauty of heathland courses.
From the glens of the glorious Angus and Perthshire countryside to the rugged beauty of Scotland’s east coast, Carnoustie Country comprises 34 golf courses of all shapes and sizes, a host of cosy pubs and a range of accommodation options all within an hour’s drive.
Golf in Scotland is rarely as beautiful, diverse or as easy to access.
Carnoustie is located just 45 minutes from St Andrews and is ideally situated for Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports. My journey took only 85 minutes from East Midlands airport.
In 2018, it will host The Open Championship for the eighth time, when Jordan Spieth will defend his title and a huge amount of interest will be generated by the return of 14-time major champion Tiger Woods. There are other bucket list courses within the group such as Kingsbarns but do not ignore gems such as Panmure and Montrose Medal.
I love my golf with a traditional heritage and this group of courses can be tailored to produce a golfing package that will suit all budgets and styles.
The 147th Open, 15-22 July 2018
The 147th Open returns to Carnoustie with the best golfers in the world vying to take on the iconic Championship course. The Open has been played here seven times before, always delivering unmissable drama. Known as one of the most challenging courses in the world, only the best prevail at Carnoustie. Legends of the game such as Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Tom Watson are among those who have won The Open at Carnoustie. It was also the course where Jean Van de Velde came to the 72nd hole in 1999 requiring a double-bogey six to win, walked off the green with a seven on his card and then lost a playoff to Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, who had begun the day shots shots off the lead.
Carnoustie Country Classic 2018, May 13-17, 2018
Due to the success of the 2017 event and the return of The Open, the Carnoustie Country Classic sold out in record time. In response, a waiting list has been introduced in case of any cancellations. The Carnoustie Country Classic has a dedicated following, with golfers from across the UK and beyond taking part. Regarded as one of the friendliest tournaments in the golfing calendar, it is a 72-hole stableford competition with men’s, seniors and ladies categories. Playing a round on the Montrose Medal, Panmure Barry and Monifieth Medal links courses (all former Open qualifiers) as well as the famous Carnoustie Championship course, the Carnoustie Country Classic captures Scottish golf at its best.
Scottish Mixed Pairs Golf Week, July 2-6, 2018
The Scottish Mixed Pairs Golf Week is one of Carnoustie Country’s most popular and sociable tournaments. Incorporating five rounds of mixed golf including foursomes/betterball and greensomes, it is played over some of the most compelling courses in Perthshire and Angus. Scottish Mixed Pairs Golf Week is understandably popular, with around 400 competitors taking part.
Scottish Golf Pairs Challenge, September 3-7, 2018
The Scottish Pairs Golf Challenge is played over five spectacular courses, giving entrants a chance to test their golfing skills and enjoy some of the most beautiful countryside in Perthshire and Angus. It is contested by pairs of men, ladies or mixed, with the men having a maximum handicap of 24 and the ladies 32. More importantly, it is contested over a unique mix of the finest heathland and parkland courses on offer, including the 2014 Junior Ryder Cup course; Blairgowrie Rosemount and stunning layouts at Forfar, Alyth, Kirriemuir and Strathmore.
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, October 4-7, 2018
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is one of the most prestigious tournaments on the European Tour. Celebrating the very best of links golf, it is played over three magnificent courses - Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and The Old Course at St Andrews. It has a unique format that sees a world-class field of golf pros team up with some of the biggest names in entertainment and sport to play each of the courses over the first three days. The final round is contested over the Old Course. Admission to Carnoustie is free.
10 of the Best Courses in Angus and Dundee
This area isn’t just about golf. Please don’t forget the other elements that make up an epic golfing adventure - the accommodation, food and drink are all exemplary.
As part of our trip we were shown the incredible Glenesk Hotel in Edzell. It overlooks the fairways of Edzell Golf Club - another gem that does not get the wider recognition it deserves outside Scotland and its loyal membership.
There is a quiet, understated elegance about this club and course that will ensure that I will return to better sample its delights.
Next to the golf club is the independently owned Glenesk Hotel, which features a spa and swimming pool, along with an excellent restaurant and a unique bar.
The 360 Degree Bar in the Glenesk Hotel,features in the Guinness Book of Records for ‘the most varieties of whisky commercially available’. It offers more than 1,000 malts, 200 gins, 80 rums, 70 vodkas and a wide selection of local ales.
With the unique whisky tasting sessions you can sample malt whisky from every working distillery in Scotland. It is a wonderful way to spend some time learning about Scotland’s favourite tipple and its many flavours. It was a real revelation matching the whisky with food flavours. As a “golfing gastronaut” I was enthusiastic in my research and will return to further my studies in the future.
This is a perfect venue to use as a base for further exploration of Carnoustie Country. The reference works on the bar provide a biblical review of all the different whiskies on offer. The tasting notes accompanying each whisky are informative and great fun.
As if this wasn’t enough we were also given a further taste sensation by having the opportunity to visit and explore a Gin Bothay This resulted in being able to try some of the most subtle but delicious gins that I have ever had the pleasure to drink. We were encouraged to try 40% proof pure gin that was so smooth as to be able to be drunk without tonic. We were taught how to choose complementary flavours in the tonics that added enjoyment to the flavoured gins that we were able to sample.
I loved the chilli gin, with tonic and ice drunk through a chocolate straw.
Rhubarb gin was sweet but when sampled with a lemon tonic and a sprig of rosemary became an ambrosia from the gods. This was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon away from the golf and I would recommend it to any groups visiting the area.
Many activities such as this are widely available throughout the region. This is a superb tourist destination for groups.
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