It is strange how your perception of a course changes as you develop as a golfer. “Flat and boring, with trains” is how my golf partner remembered Monifieth from the last time she played it, ten years ago, when she was just a beginner. This time around she’s a 14 handicap, and her appreciation of the course has completely changed.
As it should. Monifieth Medal is a wonderful little course, a few miles south of the more famous Carnoustie. Here, as with many of the courses in the area, there are several golf clubs, all playing on the same land. You pay your modest greenfee at the small starters hut, and you’re good to go. If you need a trolley, rent one at the pro shop nearby.
The first couple of holes run along the train tracks and are straight and relatively wide, providing for a nice warm-up stretch. Then the fun starts.
Going out, several of the holes run along the dunes, the only protection from the wind. With hard, bumpy fairways, it is essential that you know where to land your shots, something that only gets more difficult in the wind. On most of the holes you get a good view of the fairway and the green, but there are a few blind tee shots, with surprising gullies in the fairways. On the blind holes you have to trust the markers that indicate the line. There’s also an abundance of pot bunkers to contend with.
The greens were in very good condition, true and fast. A few have several levels, but most are fairly flat, yet not easy to read. Experience is essential.
The back nine are a bit further inland, and therefore more sheltered from the wind. A few of the holes could even pass as parkland, as some of the fairways are tree-lined, unusual for a links course.
There’s also a second course on the grounds, the par 68 Ashludie.
The Medal course was first laid out in 1845 by Alan Robertson and Alexander Pirie, and in 1880 it was extended to the current 18 hole layout. It has been used as a qualifying course for the Open Championship when the Open has been played on the nearby Carnoustie.
We did indeed see some trains, but the course was neither boring nor flat. It was in fact one of our favorites on this trip, unassuming but challenging. We will certainly play it again if we get the chance.