October 3, 2022
Carnoustie Links Golf Courses – Golfs Greatest Test
When you’re a child and you’re excited about an event, you cannot wait for it to happen. Like Christmas, you get up as early as possible, only for your parents to say ‘go back to bed, it’s 2 am. We experienced that same, nostalgic feeling when we arrived 5 hours early for our 11 o’ clock tee time to play the first of two Carnoustie golf links courses, the ‘Burns Side’ course.
First, we got our bearings. We went to the range, to the putting green, to see the first tee of both the Burns Side course and Championship course before warming up our swings for what we knew would be the best two days of golf of our lives.
Despite being the ‘younger brother’ to the Championship course, the Burns Side course is not to be messed with. Many of the holes such as the 5th and 17th, wouldn’t look out of place on the Championship course. The 17th hole is a 500-yard par-4 brute and the 5th is a short wedge to a green which poses as a steep-sided island, cut off by the burn.
Luckily, the weather was warm and sunny, which is quite the opposite of what to expect when golfing in Scotland. It made the course fair, giving us opportunities to make a great score but, stray offline and you’d be reaching in your bag for another ball.
From the Burns course, you regularly get within touching distance of the Championship holes. One minute you are in the zone, enjoying a battle with the Burns as a fearless competitor, and the next, you’re standing in the midst of it all, admiring the view like a dedicated spectator.
After the final putt goes in on the 18th hole, a wave of reality washes over you – in under 24 hours you’ll be taking on the beast, The Carnoustie Championship course.
Waking up on day two, the first words we whispered to one another ‘what club are you hitting off the first tee?’ which was met with nervous laughter. We enjoyed an excellent breakfast in the clubhouse, with a helping of haggis to try and get the Scottish heritage on our side.
Before teeing off, we enjoyed fine-tuning our game at the chipping area. We practiced hitting short green side bunker shots to practice our ‘up and downs’ that was to come. On the putting green, the grass sat uniform, like a perfect green carpet and a large, Rolex clock stood ticking over you, counting down your last putts before the tee time.
The last two days we had watched people tee off with their caddies. Now it was our turn. Standing on the first tee, we felt the pressure to tread carefully, trying to avoid making a mark on what was one of the most pristine tees we’d seen.
After our two shots soared down the fairway and a gentle nod from our caddies, we were off. If you’ve ever stepped onto a great golf course, you’ll know the breathtaking feeling when every tee view knocks you back. An illusion of never-ending fairways, bunkers so big they looked unavoidable and slopes on the green so steeper than any other we’ve seen.
We were quickly onto the 6th hole famously known as Hogan’s Alley. There was out of bounds down the left and thick heather and pot bunkers, on the right. In 1953, American pro-golfer, Ben Hogan, managed to navigate his ball through every obstacle the 6th hole had to offer over four consecutive days, leading to his first and only ever victory. For us, we stood in front of the hurdles, the hairs standing tall on the back of our necks, not knowing where on Earth the ball would land.
The final three holes, the 16th, 17th and 18th are notorious for being the most challenging holes of the course. After turning into a blistering wind for the final three holes, we struggled to comprehend how anyone has ever birdied these holes.
The history at Carnoustie, regardless of the course you play, submerses you. Whether you’re simply walking on the course, crouching in the same bunker as Tiger Woods, or putting on the same green as Pádraig Harrington when he bagged his victory. You can almost see silhouettes of these golfing legends as you walk through the course and you feel a part of something really, really special.
How to make a friend of both the Burns Side and Championship course at Carnoustie:
Arrive with plenty of time to make the most of the facilities
Take lots of balls
Utilise the yardage book and ball marker which came complimentary from Carnoustie golf club alongside a scorecard and tees – mementos that will be treasured for many years
Get a caddy – the wealth of knowledge of the course and overall great advice really added to the experience
Explore Carnoustie town centre for more history
Consider Lomond Golf Company for traditional Scottish golf attire that’s suitable for all four seasons in one day.
Carnoustie is an immersive landscape, it’s much more than a round of golf, it’s a moment that will be remembered for a lifetime. It’s where you can experience Golf’s Greatest Test and make incredible, unique and unrivalled memories and walk off with the rewarding feeling of accomplishment that only comes with such a personal achievement.
W: Carnoustie Golf Links
T: +44(0)1241 802270
Written by Elliot Farmer for Luxuria Lifestyle London and International