Played Carnoustie on July 10th with my son Scott in the morning on a nice cloudy Scottish day with a slight breeze. Just made our tee time as the drive from Edinburgh was quite a challenge as we made a few wrong turns in the roundabouts. Overall an excellent links and very testing Open Championship venue. The links was very fair with excellent ball striking essential as fairway and green bunkers are very well placed. Good job Old Tom and James Braid. The links played very firm and fast the day we played and the fairways and greens were in excellent condition.
Individually all the holes were great golfing experiences. The first (Cup) has a blind second shot if do not keep it to the left side of the fairway. The third (Jockie's Burn) allows a wide variety of options on the tee shot with Jockie’s Burn ready to gobble up a shot short of the green on the second shot. The fourth (Hillocks) is the only double green on the course shared with the difficult number 14. Number 5 (Brae) has a long (56 yards) narrow tiered green that was just a nice golf hole. Number 6 (Hogan's Alley) can make one appreciate the great ball striking of Hogan as he kept his drive left of the bunkers all four days of the 1953 Open Championship. The eighth (Short) is a nice short par 3 with a false front -- short is not much of a problem as the fairway is perfectly manicured making putting up the hill relatively easy.
The par 4 tenth (South America) green has well placed bunkers and the Barry Burn waiting for an errant second shot. The 13th (Whins) is a nice par 3 protected on 3 sides by bunkers. The last 5 holes are all great holes with the long par 4 fourteenth (Spectacles) possibly the most difficult on the links as a long blind second shot is protected by the 2 large spectacle bunkers and two additional bunkers closer to the green. The 15th (Lucky Slap) is just another long strong solid par 4 with well placed fairway and greenside bunkers. The 16th (Barry Burn) is a long 235 yard par 3 that is just difficult and a par is a nice achievement. The 17th (Island) and 18th (Home) are both great challenging par 4s with the Barry Burn swirling around to collect errant shots. In addition, both greens are well protected by bunkers and the 18th has OB left if not careful.
What can you say -- just a great test of golf and great golfing experience. Can see why great ball strikers like Hogan, Player, Watson, Armour, Harrington, Cotton, and Lawrie have won Open Championships here. Click here to see a You Tube slideshow of some pictures I took during my visit. Jim Brady
Date: July 29, 2013