During 2011 I had my first round at Carnoustie and we had the bad idea to play 7000yds par 72 in a cold windy day … We were beaten by KO! I played it 2 more times par 70 and 6500yds which is more fun and still a huge challenge. This year I had my fourth round and after breaking 80 the last 2 times, this one again The Monster won again! It was a sunny, a little bit cold and windy day. The high note on this visit is to have it played again with 11 friends and in a fun match play contest. On the front 9 I hit the ball decently but the putter and very silly mistakes (like unnecessary going for the green on 3) made it a 5 over, on the back 9 ball striking was worse but I battled finishing 3-5-4 for an 82 (11 over).
The course was as usual in great shape, since you arrive Club Staff provide a service at the highest level. The Golf Building was under renovation for the 2018 Open Championship but this didn’t mean a loss of quality service, the experience was as usual great and the very nice proshop had tons of nice souvenirs which we of course all bought.
Playing not that good will be an advantage because I could tell you what NOT to do or try! Going for the green on 3 is totally unnecessary: chances of success despite having the distance are very little and although the lay up tee shot is tough, the chances of birdie are better (I did birdie 3rd last year). Par 3 8th looks harmless but downwind and with a 9 iron it was impossible to hold the ball on the green, in those conditions hit a shorter club and land it before the green, the only danger is the right side bunker (and OB left of course!). On 11th downwind we could get close to the green again, but bunkers on both sides are too penalizing, so better lay up. Spectacles … into the wind .. 460 yds … driver and 3 wood but it was too low and both “eyes” caught the ball, better lay up and get an easy 5! 17th downwind … both in 2012 and 2016 I drove it over the burn but a slight misshit will be wet so better lay up if you are not 100% sure to go over. 18th is tough, you need 2 good shots to get a 4. If you miss the driver, just lay up. Jean Van de Velde showed how big the disaster can be.
As I said in my previous reviews “Carnasty” might not be the nicest, but it is one of the fairest and better maintained links courses in the world. It is a challenge from 1 to 18, no weak holes and no distractions allowed if you wish to score. It is a must play, always. Every St Andrews trip has to have Carnoustie Championship in the schedule. And if you are allowed to get more pics with the Claret Jug the experience is complete, even if you get off 18th gree “Birdie free”!!!
Date: June 29, 2017