Thursday, 29 May 2014

Carnoustie Classic 2014

If you haven't played golf or even visited the area of Carnoustie - you are missing something in life that everyone should experience at least once in their golfing lifetime.
There are a few golf events that are up for grabs in Carnousite Country, I was invited to play in the Carnoustie Classic, which is over four days of playing four links courses. Montrose Medal, Panmure, Monifieth and Carnousite.
All links - all different - all demanding yet playable.
11th green at Monifieth
Participating in the Carnoustie Classic with about 140 other contestants of mixed abilities, both male and female from countries in Europe to further afield as Australia and USA making this a truly international and amazing fun event.
Playing Monifieth on day one the first 6 holes were against the wind where if you started with a smile on your face, you ended up one until the 6th green had been played, frozen smiles like the joker in the wind are great, but not when you're in a bunker and get sand splash.  Sand splash with gritty teeth isn't so nice. A wonderful course with a selection of club houses serving one course. Starting in a skort, full waterproofs for wind protection soon followed, but by the end of the round back to skort and t-shirt. Forget all types of weather in one day, we had a fair mix on one round of golf!  Members of Monifeith club were extremely friendly and very welcoming with the added bonus of being able to joke and laugh along with the visitors.  Great fun.
12th hole Panmure

Day two heralded a late tee time on Panmure.  Panmure can date its history back 1845 and has the odd splattering of Royal blood thrown into the mix for good measure.  Probably due to fighting the English...... but thats another story.  Not your typical links course, but definitely with links features, in fact it is about a mile from the sea but still retains its 'links' charm.  The clubhouse has been designed with wood panelling and a trophy cabinet to die for.  An established membership who opened their arms and welcomed us into the fold.  Even playing late in the day and mixing with a local school taking lessons on the course we were made to feel at home

Well into the competition, the leaders were starting to break away and hold their nerve.  The beauty of the stableford format coming into play for many of us allowed the odd blow up hole, or in my case few holes. With friendly banter and camaraderie a-plenty the week was starting to shape up into a great experience.

2nd hole Montrose Medal
A beautiful sunny day met us for playing Montrose Medal for day three.  The first takes you away from the clubhouse into the abyss, and it isn't until you get to the second tee that you really start to appreciate the golf course and it surroundings.  The 5th Oldest course in the world which celebrated its 450 year birthday in 2007 is a sight for sore eyes, this links style course is the Luna landscape links, with dunes and blind shots it is a course that you have to think about and one you'd want to return to.  Extremely pretty yet still very playable it sits very well with the other courses for the Carnoustie Classic.  Again more than one clubhouse serving the two courses.

Finals day and being the first tee time really helped as we only got caught in the final few holes with the rain. An amazing course to test the final day nerves (for the winners anyway!), otherwise just play each hole as it comes and enjoy this wonderful links course.  Staying 'on-site' at the Carnoustie Hotel helped for the final day, especially in light of the turn in the weather, and like all links courses, weather does make a difference!
A couple of holes of note - Hogans Alley (6th) aptly named after Hogan drove day after day in the Open to the narrow stretch of fairway between the bunker and out of bounds to put him in A1 position.
The infamous Barry Burn 16th hole is a test towards the end of the round and one which has no room for complacency.  Looking fairly inconspicuous, but don't be fooled.
Dont miss
It would be rude to not mention Simpsons of Carnoustie.  Simpsons is the second oldest golf shop in the world and is located opposite the Carnoustie Hotel.  Opened in 1883 and still to this day selling a variety of golfing products a trip into the shop doesn't so much as transport you back in time, more opening its arms to you as a golfer.  It has little features to make your step over the threshold worthwhile - check out the bag tags hanging from the ceiling from all over the world.  The Simpsons family are what made golf so great, from Jack winning the Open in 1884, to Robert finishing 4th twice and was joint runner up in 1893 as well as assisting Old Tom Morris in the redesign of the Carnoustie Championship Course. You can imagine dinner was a lively one at their table in the evening after a round of golf and a few tots of whisky- poor Mrs Simpson - I hope she played!

It is true Carnoustie is the course best known for the area and the one which brings in the golfers - and it is a great course, but there are so many other great courses in the area too.  Why not let us help you out with a few more choices to really make your Carnoustie Country visit a trip to remember.
In association with Angus Council and the four golf clubs the Carnoustie Classic will be available to play again next May 2015, Interested?
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Or contact me, Sarah by email to sarah@redteebreaks.com

Thank you
to Angus Council who hosted us for the Classic and much more.
to Arnold Clark who provided us with a nippy Renault to enable us to really enjoy the area and not be late for the golf (might have failed on that one, but I cant blame Arnold Clark for that!)
to the four golf courses mentioned for letting us play your amazing golf courses and making us feel welcome

Comments welcome