There are two golf courses at Monifieth, which are administered by a local Trust. The lesser is the 5,100-yard, par 68 Ashludie course and the principal is the 6,650-yard, par 71 Medal course that is used as an Open qualifying venue along with Montrose, Panmure and Downfield when the Open is played at nearby Carnoustie. Monifieth (Medal) is the most westerly of three renowned links on the Angus coastline, the others being Panmure and, of course, Carnoustie (Championship).
There are four clubs – three of whom have their own clubhouses beside the 18th green – which play over the Monifieth links: Monifieth, formed in 1858, Broughty (1878), Ladies Panmure (1893), Grange (2005). The Monifieth Medal course was first formally used for golf in 1845 when Alan Robertson and Alexander Pirie of St Andrews designed a nine-hole course, which was extended to 18 holes in 1880. The Panmure golf club also played here at that time but due to increasing congestion, they moved to their present home at nearby Barry in 1899.
The course is built over undulating links with some old dune ridges, often gorse covered, between fairways and, unusually for a links, many holes also have tree lined fairways.
The Medal has a reputation as a hard, uncompromising course, which is bounded on one side by the main railway line to the north. There are no prisoners taken when battle commences on this layout, particularly when the prevailing wind blows in from the Firth of Tay and brings into play tough stretches of rough that awaits errant shots.
Monifieth has large, fast, firm and true greens and clever bunkering, which are the hallmarks of this very much-underrated links.
The Monifieth Golf Links Trust manage two wonderful golf courses that are the home to a trio of golf clubs.
It’s easy to see why the more famous of the two courses on this cherished piece of golfing land, the Medal, was awarded Final Open Qualifying status in 2007 when The Open was staged at nearby Carnoustie.
The three clubs; Grange, Broughty and Monifieth all have their clubhouses standing proudly along the edge of the main course. It’s a fair, challenging and extremely rewarding links course that doesn’t even have a sniff of a weak hole.
I had high hopes ahead of my visit to Monifieth and it more than delivered on its promise of being a fantastic day of links golf.
Unusually for a links course there is no view of the sea, instead splendid pine trees adorn many of the holes here and these only add to Monifieth’s charm blending into the linksland majestically.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
The first real challenge, in terms of length, comes at the 4th, a par four of 456 yards. In summer, the fairways are extremely firm and fast running so even this hole does not play to its normal length. The green is in an attractive setting, backed by a stand of fir trees. If you push your second shot right you will be faced with a difficult chip over a large mound at the edge of the green.
Be careful as you exit the 13th green because you have to walk past the 15th tee before you arrive at the 14th. Holes 14 and 15 are the only holes which run north/south with the other sixteen all in an east/west direction. The last three holes run in a line back to the clubhouse, with the 18th being a good par five finishing hole.
The Medal course provides plenty of quality golf: firm, bumpy and narrow fairways and very true greens. Most of the bunkers are situated so as to catch the approach to the green. A minor criticism would be that on a number of holes there was quite a walk to the next tee but that should not deter you from enjoying the links experience at Monifieth.
This review is an edited extract from Another Journey through the Links, which has been reproduced with David Worley’s kind permission. The author has exclusively rated for us every Scottish course that he played and featured in his book. Another Journey through the Links is available for Australian buyers via www.golfbooks.com.au and through Amazon for buyers from other countries.
Four years to the day after first playing the Medal course, I returned to reacquaint myself with this fine links layout. It’s an honest, unpretentious course that offers a very fair test on a tract of land with more than its fair share of humps and hollows.
For a course that must see plenty of traffic during a season, it was in absolutely fantastic condition so late in the year and our 4-ball was very impressed with the speed and condition of the greens.
I love the opening half dozen holes that follow the railway line away from the clubhouse but holes 8 to 13 are probably the strongest on the card, playing away from the coast, where the routing uses the natural sand ridges to great effect.
The lovely par three 14th is your last chance for respite before embarking on a demanding quartet of holes to complete the round.
Last time I was in this area I was very disappointed with the sodden state of the fairways on a high ranking course nearby but that was certainly not the case today on the free draining Medal as it more than lived up to my high expectations and delivered exactly what I was looking for.