Carnoustie Golf Links is Superbly Traditional, Surprisingly Modern
Article by Golfshake Ambassador Andrew Picken
Carnoustie is one of my favourite golf course complexes in the world.
Superbly traditional, surprisingly modern.
Experiencing it has had a major impact on my golf and writing. It was the catalyst for me beginning to research golf and its history. This has led to a raft of opportunities to increase my addiction to the game and its heritage tenfold.
I was incredibly lucky in 2018 in being able to stay at the hotel within the venue. It was before the Open that was won so brilliantly by Francesco Molinari. The accommodation, restaurants and overall facilities are nothing short of superb.
Unfortunately, because of the Open I was only able to play the final three holes of the Championship Course and was mortified that my tee shot on the 18th nearly decapitated an unfortunate golfer playing on the green of the nearby course.
There are three excellent courses at this venue. The Championship needs no introduction.
The Buddon was opened in 1981 having previously been the ladies' course built on Ministry of Defence land. Dave Thomas and Peter Alliss designed the original and it has been improved over time to become a superbly entertaining and challenging course in its own right.
Carnoustie has a welcoming, friendly feel for the visitor despite its world-class standing. It clearly respects the traditions of the game but it is not frightened to innovate and move forward.
There are a host of golf references around the hotel and I find myself wandering around noting the various memorabilia displayed. When visiting please check out the Pro Shop in the Links House. It is immense, well-stocked and luxurious, also ensure that you give yourself enough time to check out the Performance Academy as the golf simulators available are some of the best that I have seen.
Local youngsters can access the facilities free to encourage them into the game. The simulators have most of the world’s iconic courses built-in. They are designed to appeal to the younger audience as they feature a zombie option. Not a phrase I have used often. The targets change to zombie characters during the practice session. It is brilliant fun, I had to be dragged away.
The attitude to junior golfers at Carnoustie is absolutely superb. They have a section called the Carnoustie CRAWS which are linked to local schools. They have access to the short courses on the facility and in order to encourage participation lessons are provided and it is a wonderful introduction to our game.
To see kids playing with parents on the putting green next to the opening tee many Open Championship was a very positive thing for me. The little girl was using a putter that was bigger than her and she was barely the height of the pin flags but she was having great fun with her Dad and that to me is what this game of ours is all about. I heard her squeal with delight as she sunk a putt. It was a sound we should be encouraging at all possible opportunities.
Historic & Modern
The Championship Course felt well known to me even though I had not played it fully before. The closing holes are widely acknowledged as being the most challenging in major golf. I remember Jean van de Velde's and his finish in 1999.
I looked back further in my mind’s eye to my golf hero, Ben Hogan, and his 1953 Open victory. Having researched his triumph and its links to Panmure it was with heightened anticipation and excitement that I relished the prospect of following in his footsteps. Exciting and daunting, just as it should be.
There are no pretensions to Carnoustie, just an aura of quiet confidence. All the staff know how good this place is and seem genuinely to want the visitor to share in its magnificence.
Our experience in the Rookery Restaurant after our round was excellent. The food and service were exemplary and the views overlooking the closing holes are fabulous.
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