Leaving Carnoustie Country, entering Fife
Checking out from Carnoustie today. Not easy to leave the Tom Watson suite. The views, the history. But all good things must come to an end, as Chaucer said so long ago. Luckily, this time around we still had some good golf left to ease the pain. First out was Scotscraig Golf Club.
At Scotscraig you have to bring your A game right to the first tee. No easy warm-up holes here. The first hole is a tricky par four, with the green hidden from view on your approach, unless you are a long hitter. The fairway is very hard and bumpy, and you definitely feel like you are on a links course right from the start.
However, is it a links course? Even though the water is very close, you never actually see it from any of the holes. And as you play on, especially on the back nine, the course changes character and starts to resemble a parkland course, with trees lining the fairways. So is it a parkland? Well, there are also some heathland, or maybe moorland, plenty of gorse and heather, so it is very hard to put the course in a particular category. Or maybe categories, as the front and back nine are different enough to fall in different categories.
And this is part of the challenge. You are never quite sure what is coming next. What is certain is that strategy is more important than length. Bunkers are well positioned, and shots to the wrong parts of the slick greens are adequately punished. It is by no means an easy course, and it can with a few exceptions hold its own against many of the more famous neighbors.
The front nine are the better holes in my opinion, with the index 1 forth hole, a short par four being the best. A very attractive hole, tricky with a well protected, raise small green.
The back nine is more open and flatter, but it has a few nice holes, the par five 14th being my favorite.
Quite a bit of work was going on when we visited the course. It will be exciting to see what improvements come out of the work.
Scotscraig Golf Club, being the 13th oldest course in the world, has a very illustrious history. The club was first founded in 1817, but the course only survived until 1934 when it was ploughed up. The the current layout was laid out by James Braid in 1923. Scotscraig also served and an Open Championship qualifying course.
Scotscraig Golf Club is a nice addition to a golf tour of Carnoustie Country, and you will enjoy it. However, if you have limited time you should play Panmure and Montrose first.