Montrose (1562) - Angus & Dundee - Scotland

Montrose Golf Links,
Traill Drive,
Montrose,
Angus,
DD10 8SW,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1674 672932

  • Golf Club Website

  • 1 mile from Montrose centre

  • Contact in advance - restricted at weekends


Did you know that Montrose Golf Links is considered to be the seventh oldest course in the world? Records state that golf has been played here since 1562, but the first golf club wasn’t formed until 1810. In 1845 Prince Albert granted the club royal patronage. Royal Montrose Mercantile is the 3rd oldest existing royal club in the world; only the Royal Perth Golfing Society and the R&A predates it. There are now two separate golf clubs playing over these ancient links, overseen by the watchful eye of the Montrose Links Trust.

Over time, no fewer than four separate areas (Mid Links, South Links, East Links and North Links) have been involved individually and collectively in the development of the golfing grounds in Montrose. There were seven holes in play around 1810, with the course starting in the middle of the town. By 1849 there were eleven holes, played as a round of seventeen holes.

Old Tom Morris fashioned an 18-hole layout in 1863 (making Montrose the 2nd oldest 18-hole course in the world, after the Old course at St Andrews) and this layout was subsequently altered by Willie Park Jr. in 1903 before Harry Colt was engaged to make further modifications in 1913 (having designed the Broomfield course six years earlier). Apart from Martin Hawtree re-aligning the 2nd in 2008, the course as it is today is the one that Colt laid out more than a hundred years ago.

The course is a traditional Scottish links course with delightful crisp turf, dunes, whins (gorse to southerners), deep bunkers and tall wavy grass that changes colour and dances in the wind. The holes are laid out in an unusual T-shaped configuration. The front nine plays mainly along the shoreline and offers excellent views across the North Sea. Holes 10 to 13 turn inland before you head back home, towards the sea.

A golfing trip to Scotland would not be complete without playing this nostalgic links course. It represents a fine golfing challenge; Montrose hosted the Scottish Professional Championship in 1967 and 1970 and Final Qualifying for the Open Championship held at Carnoustie in 1999 and 2007.

In July 2018, the former name of the current 18-hole layout (“Medal”) was dropped and the links was re-branded "The 1562 Course" to mark the return of the Open Championship to Carnoustie. The “1562” refers to the year James Melville, son of a local minister, was recorded as being taught the game at the age of six by the Reverend William Gray, giving Montrose its claim as the 4th oldest golfing ground in the world.

In November 2019, Royal Montrose Golf Club merged with Montrose Mercantile (formed in 1879) to become Royal Montrose Mercantile Golf Club. The Montrose Caledonia Golf Club, founded in 1896, has a separate clubhouse nearby.

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Reviews for Montrose (1562)

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Description: Did you know that Montrose Golf Links is considered to be the seventh oldest course in the world? Records state that golf has been played here since 1562 but its mighty neighbour Carnoustie has long overshadowed it. Rating: 7 out of 10 Reviews: 30
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Javier Pintos

After a disappointing loss at The Tassie the choices were hang around and rest (still 4 rounds were planned which is enough!) or go for a rematch and Montrose was the choice after again being recommended to visit it … I put myself back at home after the trip and would have not been happy if I missed it. It is not only the history but the chance to continue learning about how great the Hidden Gems are in Scotland so off to the Car and in 6 cylinders battle the wind at Montrose!

The Logo is that Church which you see from every spot on the course and is one of the ones I like more among all the ones I have played. You even see it when arriving to Town and when you go pass on your road to Aberdeen

There is a common thing in golf when talking about Course Maintenance and this is that green is good and yellow is bad … absolutely NO! Yes, we love to see Augusta National in her immaculate emerald green condition but I also love semi yellow fast running fairways in blend with very well greens and gorse showing their yellow flowers … the picture is as good and the playing conditions are just as good as links golf can get.

Physical demand and a little bit of adrenaline lost made me not take advantage of the downwind stretch as my driver was not working but when I got to 10 a click was made as if not the ride towards the club house would have been way tougher. It is amazing to get a 2 iron go for 250yds and on the next hole crush a drive to “only” 230yds, just beautiful links golf conditions!

It is good to add that we arrived early and lunch at The Club House with the mandatory tasting of The Soup of the Day is just the way it has to be done … Golf in Dreamland!

The course goes away 1 to 7 from the Club house to come back 8-9 and with a slight direction chance 10-13 before turning back to play semi away 14-15 and then back 16-18. So wind will give and take away in pieces but when playing into on the final stretch the last 3 holes are a very tough end of round, hard to imagine how difficult it can be to close a match play or stroke play round with some pressure on your back.

My favorite holes? All of them, but give it a detailed look to these:

Par 3 3rd, a short one playing with a deep hole before the green, 1yd short and start to pray.

Short Blind par 4 5th … reachable but not easy at all and that short bunker to the green is located in the exact spot.

10th from elevated tee with wind across and one of the best picture of the course and church is awesome.

Par 5 14th with semi blind second shot, similar concept to Carnoustie Spectacles but not as high … loved it. And even more when you get a 3 wood run forever and reach the green.

Par 3 235yds 16th is an absolute beast!! And not to a flat green but to a severed slope one where pin positions can make you change the strategy of the tee shot. Many will hate to hit a 2 iron on a par 3 … it will be a very easy 4 if you play safe. The best hole on the course!

Another great course, another new experience, another wonderful afternoon of low stingers and high fliers that roll forever. Guys, Scotland has a lot of great golf out there. Do not miss it while your body allows you to wake this Golf Paradise.

May 09, 2022
7 / 10
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Tim Elliott

What a treat it was to play this wonderful links course that is so open to the ravages of strong winds from the North Sea that its continued existence seems open to doubt. The dunes are battered by winds and high tides which sometimes deposit vast amounts of sand on fairways adjoining the sea. I was lucky enough to play my round of golf here with the Greens Director who reassured me that plans are already in place to safeguard the future of Montrose 1562, the 5th oldest golf course in the world.

The 1562 comes from the earliest recording of golf being played on this hallowed ground. Although the course has changed a lot since then, it is still a glorious challenge at this remote but beautiful outpost perched on the eastern edge of Scotland. The fresh air, the vast open linksy landscape, the springy turf and the ever-present bright yellow gorse which framed many of the holes, are huge uplifting features at this ancient layout.

On a cold late April day, the sun shone most of the time, the wind was no more than a strong breeze and there was no rain, so we were lucky. Nevertheless Montrose’s Greens Director played in shorts, golfers are a hardy (or mad) bunch up here!

There is a superb collection of holes and some quite penal bunkering but the course is a more than fair challenge. I particularly liked the second and fifth holes running alongside the beach, the three par3s, two of which required precise short irons over daunting terrain and the third at 16 your best drive into the prevailing wind to reach a heavily contoured green some 230 yards away. The longer holes all varied nicely in length which kept the golfer on his toes throughout.

If you like links golf, I would suggest that playing 18 holes at Montrose should be on your ‘must-play’ list, you won’t be disappointed.

April 28, 2022
7 / 10
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T P Dean

My day visiting Montrose started on the practice putting green next to the main road. Whilst I was there, a couple with two young children came off the street with putters in hand to enjoy a family putting game. This was the first day of my latest Scottish golf trip and that scene perfectly summed up the essence of Scottish golf for me. In the same vein, the course at Montrose Golf Club gets to the heart of why, like many of us, Scottish links golf holds a special place in my heart. It’s unfussy, beautiful, rugged, and immersed within the community.

I’m going to start my course review by describing the first two tee boxes which are both magnificent in their own, understated manner. The 1st tee is set back amongst the suburbs, backed up against the road and houses. It brought back fond memories of the opening tee shot of Gullane No 1. The 2nd tee is glorious for an altogether different reason. This time, the tee is a more picturesque setting, perched high above the beach with views out across the sea and back to Scurdie Ness lighthouse. Here you drive back over the 1st green and across the boundary fence that separates the beach from where the land blends into sea across the right hand side of the property. Combine this with the tabletop par three 3rd and Montrose has quite the memorable start.

The course itself started life as a 25-hole course, back in the days before Old Tom made 18 holes commonplace. The course as we play it today is mainly Harry Colt’s work and is played closer to the coast than the original layout. Albeit this is something that is famously soon to be the course’s downfall as coastal erosion eats away at some of the holes that border the beach.

Personally, I’m a sucker for links golf with lumpy, bumpy fairways and Montrose provides this in spades. The most sumptuous of these is on the 4th hole that turns you back inland, whereas the 5th hole returns you back uphill to the coastline with a driveable short four. 6 and 7 then follow the coastline, and are the holes most likely to be affected by the coastal erosion, before yet more lumpy land greets you on the 8th as you revert back to playing inland and move away from the coast. We’re almost halfway through the round and each hole thus far has been a gem.

The course thereafter doesn’t quite have the same eye-catching nature of the opening stretch, but these are still good golf holes that are scattered in and amongst gorse. The most noteworthy holes include 12 and 14, the former being a lovely little par three with a line of four bunkers that protect the front of the green, whereas 14 returned me to nightmares of my golfing past with a nod to Conwy’s infamous closing stretch where the gorse pinches in from both sides. But thankfully, unlike the aforementioned course in North Wales, Montrose’s back nine opens up again shortly afterwards. 16 is a long par three graced by the most beautiful of contoured greens, and the closing couple of holes aren’t bad either. I particularly loved how the closing hole returns you back towards the more urban setting of the town; similar traits to St Andrews or North Berwick here.

When we returned back to our starting point, the young family had long disappeared from the putting green, but the warm, welcoming spirit of how my experience started had remained throughout the round. This is a course laced with history and it’s a club that’s embedded amongst its community. It would be a horrible shame if this old relic ended up being washed away to the sea one day and those coastal holes became something of the past. I do hope a solution can be found.

October 27, 2021
7 / 10
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Steve Caldwell

A very old place, you get the true feeling of history here, without any long socks etc... Plain and simple, a great old fashioned test of links skills, super layout and good turf condition. Amazing value for money..

October 13, 2021
7 / 10
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Phil Ree

Montrose has a famous front nine but its back nine is just as interesting, only without the views. I played on a day windy enough to be blowing my bag over, and it was still playable and fun. There are just one or two places on the second nine where gorse pinches in.

The best sea view is from the 2nd tee, but for its reputation Montrose doesn’t play that close to the beach. You’d have to do something really bad to find your ball down there. There are a couple of weaker holes you could point fingers at, but there is far more good than bad here. Its fairways are among the most rumpled you can find as well, albeit some are in dodgy condition.

A couple of reachable par 4s mean there’s a healthy mixture of scoring and scrutiny, with the Y-shaped layout providing some respite from the wind. Montrose is a solid choice if around Carnoustie or heading further north.

October 01, 2021
6 / 10
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David Oliver

It has a feel that you are playing golf on a course "from olden times" and it is wonderful for it. As many reviewers have mentioned there is a sense of melancholy as a number of holes are subject to destruction through coastal erosion. Although the conditioning of the fairways was patchy the greens were superb and rolled true at a good pace. Some wonderful holes including par 3, 3rd which requires a carry over a dip in the dunes, the par 4, 9th which turns slightly right to left with a great fairway bunkering and the par 4, 17th which requires an approach to a raised green with some excellent contouring to the left of the green. I loved the course's charm - really glad I played it

August 30, 2021
6 / 10
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Jim Robertson

Montrose (Medal), one of Scotland's great old seaside courses, is seriously threatened by coastal erosion.Lovers of links golf should make sure they play here sooner rather than later. James W Finegan, in his masterly book 'Scotland - Where Golf is Great', is somewhat dismissive of Montrose but does state "this is classic seaside golf". No one could disagree with that assessment. The good opening hole is followed by my favourite hole, a par 4 with a humpy, bumpy fairway played along the coastline. The par three 3rd is a devil strongly reminiscent of 'Het Girdle' the 4th on the King's course at Gleneagles.The rest of the front nine is a delight with a series of classic par fours. The back nine is harder but less fun. The last three holes stand out for their difficulty. The brutal 220 yard par 3 16th is followed by the best hole, a treacherous par four with trouble all along the narrow fairway and an elevated green to compound the challenge. The closing hole takes us back towards the town and a well-earned rest. If you had to select an affordable, unpretentious course to illustrate the irresistible allure of Scottish links golf, Montrose might just be the one.

May 21, 2020
7 / 10
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Joaquin Singer

I agree with most reviews. This course has some beautiful holes in the front nine (2nd to 7th) right on the edge of the sea, and adds another coupe of great holes with the 16th and 17th.

I played it in August with my dad and conditions were great. Tee to green they were in great condition.

I would not put this at a 1st class Scottish course level, but for £30 for a 3pm round on Sunday, I found it outstanding value.

It was also really quiet for a Sunday. So I think it's quite a gem.

September 17, 2019
7 / 10
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Shane Derby

The start of my very first Scottish golfing odyssey directed me towards Montrose Golf Links this afternoon. As a links devotee I was eager to see what joys awaited me on the links fairways of the home of golf.

Montrose will be of greatest interest to golfers on the front nine stretch through the first 7/8 holes. After that the holes seemed somewhat repetitive from a distance and playability perspective.

As previously pointed out, parts of the front nine may not be there in the very near future due to coastal erosion. Surely the local council can get their finger out and stump up for some rock armour on the beach side of the property to make sure that the 1562 links lasts well into this century!

A nice course...with a friendly welcome..... not quite a must play but worth a trip if you are in the area.

Food and drink option must be Roos Leap which is right beside the course carpark!

May 29, 2019
4 / 10
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Kevin Henley

Unsure why this is so far down the ranking list.

Fabulous true links layout where you can taste the sea.

Some tough holes, some with dunes and some with gorse.

April 30, 2019
8 / 10
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