Carnoustie (Burnside) - Angus & Dundee - Scotland

Carnoustie Golf Links,
20 Links Parade,
Carnoustie,
Angus,
DD7 7JF,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1241 802270

  • Graeme Duncan

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  • Keir McNicoll

The Burnside course at Carnoustie has been used in the past for qualifying when the Open has been held on the Championship course and no less than Ben Hogan entered the tournament this way for the 1953 Open before going on to lift the old claret jug later the same week.

What it lacks in its 6,028-yard length is more than made up for by tight fairways, heather, whins, pot bunkers and, as the name suggests, the Barry Burn which wanders through part of the course and features at several of the demanding par three holes. Greens are small, contoured and hard to hold, especially in dry summer conditions or when the wind gets up.

The short holes are a real feature on the Burnside and the 158-yard 5th, named “Burn” and 228-yard 14th, called “Scoup” would not be out of place on any championship course. A strong finish is to be faced, with the long par four 17th – “Sinkies” – measuring all of 473 yards and as difficult a par four to be found anywhere. No respite either at the 307-yard, par four, 18th hole, called “Lismore” where the out of bounds fence has wrecked many a scorecard.

Its illustrious neighbour may overshadow it but the Burnside has its own character and charm and is a fine test of golf in its own right – the par of 68 and a Standard Scratch Score of 70 tells you the Burnside is no pushover.

The three courses at Carnoustie – Championship, Burnside and Buddon – are public links and several local clubs play on them, including Carnoustie Caledonia, Carnoustie Mercantile, Carnoustie New Taymouth, Dalhousie and Carnoustie Ladies – which is the oldest female golf club in the world, having been established in 1873.

There is another club, Carnoustie Golf Club, who also use the three links. It was formed in 1842 so it is one of the ten oldest clubs in the world. At the turn of the 19th century, many Carnoustie members traveled abroad to play and teach golf and some were founding members of the US and Australian PGAs – in recognition of this, Carnoustie have been permitted to use the crests of these two Associations in its signage at the entrance to the clubhouse.

Three former Carnoustie members, Alex, Willie and McDonald Smith, won many professional tournaments in America and Alex’s two US Open winners’ medals from 1906 and 1910 are on display in the clubhouse for all modern day golfers to see.

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Reviews for Carnoustie (Burnside)

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Description: The Burnside course at Carnoustie Golf Links has been used in the past for qualifying when the Open has been held on the Championship course... Rating: 6.2 out of 10 Reviews: 13
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Ralph Wardlaw

Genuinely perplexing how this doesn’t rank in the top 100, especially when you look at some of those that do!

As many have said the first few holes aren’t great but at the same time I wouldn’t say they were terrible holes. Certainly when you compare it to a course like Peterhead the first 5 holes are better than there.

From 5 onwards though, the course really does get going. 5 is a fantastic little par 3 surrounded by water on 3 sides. It can be as little as a wedge down wind or a 5 iron into the wind. Absolutely terrifying at times!

6 through to 13 is a lot of mid length par 4s that you always feel like you should make plenty of birdies on but inevitably you fail to do so. The star of the show in that stretch is probably the par 3 9th. 160 yards to a table top green that falls off on all sides. A great short hole. 14,15 and 17 are all good in the closing 5. 16 used to be a great little par 3 though personally I don’t like it much since it has been changed. 18 is a bit like 18 on the old course. Not much too it on paper though the amount of food rounds I’ve seen destroyed by a high slice OB is incredible!

Definitely worth playing if you’re in the area and should definitely be ranked about 75 or so in this site. A travesty that it is not.

September 15, 2020
7 / 10
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Phil Ree

Burnside’s short yardage doesn’t make it easy. In some way’s it’s tougher that its big sibling next door – tighter fairways, smaller greens, more gorse and heather. The first 3 holes also have OOB along the right, a nightmare in the wind and for us slicers.

So I didn’t think Burnside was a fun course, I got beaten up but would recommend it as a companion to the Championship 18. It’s certainly on another level to the Buddon which partly runs amid trees and ponds. The first few holes leave a little to be desired, but from the short 5th which plays over the Barry Burn (or into it in my case), the course comes alive.

Highlights were the short 9th and its table-top green, 13’s punchbowl green, and the long 17th which looks and plays like the 17th next door. A few holes certainly wouldn’t be out of place on the Championship course.

Therefore I feel the Burnside should deserve a place in the Scottish top 100, not necessarily high up but it’s well worth playing. If I revisit Carnoustie I’ll happily give it another go.

August 03, 2020
6 / 10
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Jim Robertson

As Carnoustie is my favourite golf course, one of the many joys of playing Burnside is that it lies (for the most part) inside that majestic links meaning that at any time you can glance over to one of the many great holes that abound there. But Burnside offers a lot in its own right. There are some lovely shortish par fours and a couple of cracking par threes, notably the 5th. It is often said that the 17th is the equal of its counterpart next door and the 18th is played straight at the hotel, one of world golf's iconic views. In addition, Burnside offers several,opportunities to go for a wee paddle a la Jean van de Velde! Because of its situation, Burnside is over-priced (£75 for a summer round in 2020) but that should not detract from its quality. Interestingly, Golf World currently ranks Burnside at #70 in Scotland, whereas this website does not have a place for it inside its Scottish top 100.

May 24, 2020
7 / 10
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Michael

As my membership here covers the three courses I will try to be unbiased in my assessment. In my opinion this is the second most enjoyable to play of the golf courses at Carnoustie. It has several good holes such as 5,8,11,14,17. It has large undulating greens which sadly this year have not been in the best of condition possibly still recovering from neglect which they may have suffered around the time of the open. The course in large part is not heavily bunkered but where it is present it is often strategically good. It often carries width and room for error off the tee if not through the width of the fairways then through the lack of gorse, hazards and bunkers tight to the fairways on many holes.

October 23, 2019
6 / 10
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Ed Battye

I suspect that many golfers will dismiss the other two courses at Carnoustie in favour of just playing the main attraction. That would be a mistake because both, especially the Burnside, offer some really good golf.

If it wasn’t for a particularly lacklustre run of holes between two and five on the Burnside I would place this course in a similar bracket to many other distinguished and notable links venues in Scotland.

The opening hole on this par 68 layout (5,972 yards) is a nice way to start the round with decisions to be made from the tee and a tricky green complex to contend with. However, the next four holes did very little for me and walking off the fifth green I felt particularly flat.

What follows over the next 12 holes though (the last is a nondescript finisher) is a remarkable transformation from what has gone before. We now enjoy a run of holes that is of such a high standard it’s impossible not to be impressed. The natural movement in the land is excellent, the bunkering is very good, the green complexes are in a different class and the use of angles is very clever. The holes are more visually appealing, they are strategically superior and simply require the golfer to hit better shots.

It’s a shame the opening holes on the Burnside don’t match the quality of the rest of the course but if you can forgive its slow start then you will love it.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

May 31, 2017
7 / 10
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Kevin Henley

Played this again whilst in town for the Craws Nest Tassie again.

SUCH A PITY THAT THE BURNSIDE HAS BEEN DROPPED FOR THE BUDDON !

So many of the holes mirror holes on the Championship and although it is a the smaller sister do NOT under-rate her or expect to be an awful lot easier if the wind blows !

September 18, 2016
8 / 10
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Warren
Burnside gets better the longer you stay out there. After about 6 holes I thought it lacked the links character of the 3rd course, Buddon but once you get past the opening holes you hit the same land the Championship course is built over and it comes alive. Does not have the length of a great course but there is a real links flavour throughout the last 12 holes. If you keep it straight off the tee you should not have much more than a 7 iron in for most par 4s. I played it in a 2 club wind and the way the holes are directed you get the good with bad. I am to play the Championship course tomorrow so I expect it will outstrip Burnside by some margin but nevertheless this is a nice course that has it's fair share of thick rough and well contoured, large greens (like Buddon). If it had another kilometre of yardage to put it around the 7000 yard (6300m) mark it would be a 5 baller. WDE
July 27, 2014
6 / 10
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stephen macdonald
i played the Burnside today on a fine late summer/early autumn day , on arrival i was charged £5 pounds more than i had been quoted on the emails i had going back and forward which was quite disappointing especially when i showed the starter the emails ,but then i got onto the course and after a gentle start i got into the course , i feel the layout is very special and challenging and the condition of the course is fantastic , just the feeling of looking across the fairway and seeing holes where the open has been played added that bit of magic to the occasion I myself am making an effort to play Scotland top 100 courses and have decided to follow the 2011 list when this course was on the list knowing it will take a few years to complete Im not keen on playing 110 courses in my attempt to play the top 100 but with my limited knowledge and experience i think you would very much be struggling to find 100 better courses in Scotland (i have played at least 5 in the top 100 not as good as this )and i think you would have no chance of getting 100 better golf experiences , just the history the condition etc play the Burnside i doubt you will leave unimpressed SM
September 20, 2013
6 / 10
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Hugh

Definitely the Burnside is the understudy to the Championship course at Carnoustie but just like the Portland at Royal Troon and the Kintyre at Turnberry the Burnside is totally overshadowed by the outstanding Open Championship course which sits next door. I think the Kintyre is the second best “relief” course in Scotland. The New course at St Andrews is the premier second course in my view but the Burnside is certainly worth playing as a warm up to the Championship and I think the course is slightly better than some of the reviews below suggest. The famous Barry Burn comes into play, and the 17th “sinkies” is a great hole, the par threes, especially the 5th which is as good a one-shot as you’ll find anywhere are worth the cost of the modest green fee. It will never be as good as the Championship course but the Burnside could be so much better if only its fairway bunkering was half as good as the Championship course.

March 05, 2010
6 / 10
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JAMES
March 05, 2010
The same could be said of the Cashen Course next to Ballybunion (Old) but if the Cashen Course was a few miles away, most golfers would rate it much higher. It is already in the Top 20 in Ireland for sure !
Andy MacLean
Play this course before the Championship course or you will be dissapointed. There are some very good holes out here, but the overall feel is just average. ANDYMAC
July 24, 2009
4 / 10
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