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.
Monifieth Medal lived up to its reputation as a fine example of a links course when I played it today. The first three holes run along the railway and take you away from the starter’s hut towards Panmure.
Three of the remaining holes on the outward half are excellent: hole 4 (“Featherbed”) with its large mound in front of the green; hole 7 (“North Buddon”) where the burn threatens the tee shot; and hole 9 (”Long Hole”) which incorporates a real big dipper of a fairway from tee to green.
On the back nine – and I’ve used the phrase before, but no apologies for repeating it – the course just gets better with every hole and there were particular favourites at a) the right dog legged 10th which has a hidden lateral water hazard at the bend in the fairway, b) the semi blind, short par three 14th and c) the 435-yard 17th where five cross bunkers in front of the green provide more than ample protection for the putting surface.
The early holes were frost bound when we started our early morning round so putting was a bit of a lottery but by the time the greens had thawed on the inward half, they were running both fast and true. I can only reiterate a comment made by another reviewer; if you are in the area and want a top quality 36-holes of golf then you will not beat a round at nearby Panmure and here on the Medal course.