Carnoustie (Burnside) - Angus & Dundee - Scotland

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


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  • Colin McLeod

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  • Colin Sinclair


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Carnoustie

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: 4 out of 6 Reviews: 9

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.

5 / 6
Carnoustie (Burnside)
May 31, 2017


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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 !

5 / 6
Carnoustie (Burnside)
September 18, 2016


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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
4 / 6
Carnoustie (Burnside)
July 27, 2014


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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
4 / 6
Carnoustie (Burnside)
September 20, 2013


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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.
4 / 6
Carnoustie (Burnside)
March 05, 2010


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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 !
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
3 / 6
Carnoustie (Burnside)
July 24, 2009


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The Burnside is a good warm up for the Championship course, Carnoustie Burnside - Photo by Jim McCannnothing more and nothing less. I cannot see why the Standard Scratch Score is two more than par for the course as it seems a very straightforward track to me with only one par five on the card and only a couple of dozen bunkers throughout – it felt similar in places to nearby Monifieth and Panmure where I played recently, thanks mainly to the small tree copses dotted around the property. After a fairly gentle front nine (where OOB threatens at holes 2, 3, and 4 and the Barry Burn protects the 5th hole) the round really warms up on the inward half with a far more interesting set of holes. The 11th is called “Deil’s Ha’”with good reason – it may not contain greenside bunkers but a severe slope from back to front on the green tests putting skills to the full. The par three 16th is a little squeezed in - surely the adjacent 17th tees could be moved forward a little – but the penultimate hole is a real cracker, crossing the Barry Burn twice, just like closing hole on the big course. Burnside is a good way to spend a morning in preparation for the sterner golfing examination in the afternoon next door. Jim McCann
3 / 6
Carnoustie (Burnside)
August 26, 2008


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Having recently visited Carnoustie and cancelled our round on the Championship course due to the compulsary mats that were brought in for the month before the Open, we only played the Burnside and therefore there I felt a certain disappointment that probably unfairly clouded my view of this excellent course. More heathland in feel than links, the Burnside is well laid out, challenging and good value at £35 a round. The greens are gently rolling, the fairways reasonably generous on the longer holes and the bunkers as expected small, deep and challenging! The course was not in bad but not great condition, probably due to the heavy rains that had fallen for a number of days and also that I imagine every available greenkeeper was busy preening the Championship course! If you are in the area and can combine this with the Championship course it will be a wonderful day to remember!
4 / 6
Carnoustie (Burnside)
June 29, 2007


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Well, what can I say? In my view the Burnside IS a gem and I would absolutely recommend you play it. If it wasn’t positioned next to the Championship course it would surely be more widely known and more highly regarded. The layout is interesting and holds attention even for the low single digit golfers and although its shorter than its neighbour is a great test of golf and maintained in the same immaculate condition. For about £30 per round the Burnside is a steal and worth every penny.
4 / 6
Carnoustie (Burnside)
November 14, 2006


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