Sadly time to leave Scotland
It is with a heavy heart that the Travelin’ Golfer leaves Scotland and Carnoustie Country today. It has been a remarkable week in all respects. Perfect golf, perfect weather, fine hotels, and some outstanding dining. And jolly good hosting by the multi-talented Jane Taylor.
It is always perilous to compare and rank courses, but if I didn’t do that why would they pay me the big money (is there a sarcasm emoji)? So here it goes, the ranking for this week:
1. Carnoustie Championship course. Carnoustie is in a class of its own, a remarkable golf challenge, maybe the most difficult course in all of Scotland, paired with outstanding quality down to the very last detail. Never, ever say no to a round of golf here.
2. Panmure. In spite of a somewhat weak opening (but a few good warm-up holes) and a weak ending, this course is one that I could play over and over again. Great variation even if you played it only in sunshine and no wind. Add some weather, and Panmure offers you a new course every time you tee up. The classic clubhouse is perfect for swapping stories over a pint after your round, just remember to bring your jacket and tie.
3. Montrose. The winds of time and the winds of the sea make this classic course a real lesson in old style links golf. We were lucky to play it in full sunshine and were treated to panoramic views of both the course and the never ending beach below.
4. Monifieth. Like Panmure, the course starts tentatively with a couple of straightforward par fours, but then it gets interesting really fast, and especially the second nine offers up some fine links golf, with a few surprises. Somewhat unusual for a links course are some tree-lined fairways, but it only enhances the landscape and golf experience. An unassuming course, with a small kiosk-like hut where you pay your greenfee, the course was a true delight.
5. Scottscraig was a mixed bag. Not in that it had any bad holes, but in that it was really two different courses in one. A traditional links experience on the front nine, and a parkland back nine. Lots of tradition here, the course was a qualifying course for the Open Championship in the past. You have to bring your best game right from the start, as the first hole is narrow and very bumpy, with a semi-blind shot to the green unless you are a really long hitter.
What about Edzell?
Its not really fair to include Edzell in this list as it is the only parkland course we played this week. It is a fine track, further enhanced by a visit to the outstanding whiskey/gin/vodka/craft beer bar at the Glenesk Hotel next door. A better way to think of this course would be as the number one parkland course, and also a fine place to go if you’ve been beaten down by weather and wind on the coast side links for a few days, as the climate is milder here a few miles inland.