The Takeaway: Carnoustie is perhaps the best example of how good a course can be on a piece of land that isn't overly impressive. The world class routing is features a superb variety of hole lengths and directions, delivers a professional test, and does a masterful job of incorporating the watery Barry Burn. The flat terrain, lack of inspiring scenery despite the close proximity to the ocean, and forgettable middle stretch of holes hold it back from being Scotland's best, but it is certainly one of the better championship courses you can tee it up on. Grade B+
Designer: Old Tom Morris in 1867 (10 holes 1839 Allan Robertson, 1926 James Braid)
Cost: £200.00 Click for current rates
Phone Number: +44 (0) 1241 802270
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Carnoustie Golf Links's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - Links Parade, Carnousite, UK, Scotland
Accolades: Ranked 9th in Scotland by Golf Course Gurus. British Open rota 1931 (Tommy Armour), 1937 (Henry Cotton), 1953 (Ben Hogan), 1968 (Gary Player), 1975 (Tommy Watson), 1999 (Paul Lawrie, runner up Jean Van de Velde), 2007 (Padraig Harrington), and 2018 (TBD).
What to Expect: Carnoustie stands as one of the great municipal golf courses in the world. In the same vein as Bethpage's Black course and Torrey Pines' South course, the Championship course at Carnoustie offers visitors a chance to tee it up on a major championship venue owned by the city in which it resides. Like those fellow munis, Carnoustie has a reputation of being one of the toughest courses you'll ever encounter which has earned it the nickname Car"nasty." That being said, the course isn't as brutally difficult as its reputation and frankly is just a great overall test of golf worthy of its spots on the British Open rota. Getting to the expansive property is an unassuming venture through the quaint town before going through a tight tunnel that traverses under a railway. Upon exiting the tunnel you are presented with a glimpse of the amount of land the famed links occupy. There are three courses to play at Carnoustie so making a day or two of your visit there is certainly a welcome opportunity. The property is as flat as anything you'll encounter in Scotland which is great for walking but a disappointment in terms of ocean views or drama in the terrain. Opposite of Royal Troon where the middle six holes are the best, Carnoustie has six good opening holes, six fantastic closing holes, and six forgettable holes in between. The variety of hole lengths, directions played, and challenges presented is absolutely brilliant and makes the course an enjoyment round after round after round. Perhaps the most impressive feature though in the routing is how well incorporated Barry Burn is; a meandering water hazard which may have become the most famous ditch in the world in 1999 when Jean Van de Velde's encounter with it cost the Frenchman the Open championship. The deep burn has several ball retrievers placed along it which are close to 20 feet long and allow players a chance to retrieve their pellet when they find the watery bottom. For those looking to have a true championship experience, caddies are available for hire while maneuvering the walking only course. While Carnoustie is a really good course and a stout test, however the lack of variety in the terrain combined with the weak stretch of holes though the middle of the course hold it back from being a top 5 offering in Scotland.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 18th (Home) Hole – 499 Yard Par 4
Best Par 3: 16th (Barry Burn) Hole – 248 Yards
Best Par 4: 17th (Island) Hole – 461 Yards
Best Par 5: 6th (Hogan's Alley) Hole – 578 Yards
Birdie Time: 3rd (Jockie's Burn) Hole – 348 Yard Par 4
Bogey Beware: 10th (South America) Hole – 446 Yard Par 4