Crosstie was at its calmest when we played. We enjoyed a nice gentle breeze on a sunny September Sunday. Probably why most of us played so well, although as you would expect there were a few comedy errors on the last three holes.The course is not a pretty one and with the exception of the first two holes there is not a links feel as I know it. I am used to isolated, rugged coastline links. Carnoustie plays mostly inland and is surrounded by other golf courses, a railway and a hideous hotel. It is also very much a local golfing area and there are links after links running along this coastline. No special treatment is given for Carnoustie either, the starters hut is a basic one and there is no plush clubhouse awaiting to comfort well healed Yanks and Southerners like our selves. Also unless someone told you and there weren’t links bunkers most of the course could have passed as a parkland course.But what a course it is. You have to really think how you play this course even without the wind. We played off the Whites rather than the Yellows (strangely the easier option) and hired a caddy to guide our four ball round (a wise idea at £15 each). The rough though was cut down to tourist level i.e. an inch or two of wispy/tufty grass and I think this did take away from making the course feel like a true links and in reality made the course a lot easier as you were never in danger of losing a ball.All of us agreed it was the best course on the tour, despite the stunningly beautiful Kingsbarns the day before. There are no weak holes and because there had been a College amateur championship the day before the pin positions were as tough as they come, on the short third it was on the front right by the burn; on Brae the fifth it was on the plateau at the rear ……….. and I four putted. There are too many strategic features to note them all but it was a real true test of golf for any handicap, even before the very famous last three holes which are as tough as they come. Why is the 16th the toughest par three on the open rota? Because it is a short par four for most people …… 245yards. The very famous last two holes are masterpieces, the ultimate risk and reward holes with the 18th throwing up even more problems with the out of bounds on the left.
Date: September 20, 2006