When serious golfers make the trip to the Mecca of golf …Scotland …they generally head straight to the Old Course at St. Andrews or maybe Glen Eagles. Those in the know also include time spent in Carnoustie, which is literally just across the Tay.
Carnoustie is a charming seaside village where golf is king and the golf visitor is treated like one. You’ll find new friends in every pub and hotel and with a choice of three terrific courses to play, it’s a golfer’s dream destination.
The three main courses at Carnoustie are the Championship Links, the Burnside and the Buddon and each is individually packed with character and challenges.
The Championship Links are the oldest, and it is said that golf was being played there as early as the 1520s. What we do know is that the course as we know it now was really first designed in the 1840s with a few design tweaks done after that. It’s possibly the most challenging course in Scotland if you listen to the pros who both love and dread tournaments there. It’s a quintessential links course with a gentle rolling terrain near sandy beaches but don’t be fooled by its gentle looks. It is perhaps the greatest challenge in golf with scratch golfers rarely beating the par 72 with less than a 75 day. The sand traps are vicious and the burns are sneaky but to be able to go back home saying you played it will make you the envy of your golfing friends. The greens fee are not inexpensive at approximately $200 for a round, but what price glory?
The Burnside Course is a great introduction to golf and is a course, which, if it stood geographically apart from the Championship course, would certainly be much more recognized. But it’s proximity is a blessing for the visiting golfer! It’s a shorter par 68 course with unique challenges of its own. The tree lined fairways and gentle terrain lull you into a sense of security and then one of its tricky little traps will snare you …oh all in a great day of golf! The 5th, 9th and 14th par three holes are the ones you’ll go home talking about especially if you manage a par after their wicked little tests of your game.
The Burnside is a bargain at about $62 per round!
The Buddon course is the newest of the three Carnoustie courses and was built in the 1970s along the outer edges of the other two. Tree lined and with man made lakes, it’s a lovely and gentle course at a par 66. The land originally belong to the Ministry of Defense so all of the holes are named for famous military battles adding a little humor to your game. This is a favorite course for locals as it provides plenty of challenges in a lovely and scenic setting. Many serious golfers like to start off with this course in the morning before playing one of the other two in the afternoon …just for a little warm-up.
And, at $54 it’s well worth it
Carnoustie will again host the British Open in 2007 but it’s more accessible than the Old Course at St. Andrews and no golfer who visits Scotland should pass an opportunity to play on it. They even offer a great package deal for the three courses.
For $240 you can play all three courses over a three day period and even get morning coffee and breakfast rolls thrown in …not to mention some great camaraderie from the caddies and local golfers. These are priceless stories to take back home!