The Panmure Golf Club was founded in 1845, when seventeen gentlemen met and commissioned Allan Robertson and Alexander Pirie from St Andrews to lay out nine holes in the area of Monifieth. They were paid the princely sum of thirty shillings. A further hole was added in 1851, but discarded twenty years later.
In 1880, Panmure was extended to eighteen holes, but before the turn of the century, with the number of clubs playing the course increasing, the Panmure Club resolved to move and settled on the present site in Barry in 1899.
The Dundee Advertiser published on 24th November 1897 had reported that “the ground was surveyed, Tom Morris was engaged to go over it, and as his opinion was favourable” but it appears some financial problem with two of the land owners delayed the project by a couple of years.
This Open Qualifying course, a few miles south from Carnoustie on the road to Dundee, lies inland from the Monifieth Links, but Panmure has all the characteristics of a championship links.
There have been changes, and the course has been lengthened from its original design, many of the changes coming from suggestions of James Braid in 1922.
Ben Hogan spent two weeks on the links prior to the Open at Carnoustie in 1953, getting used to the terrain, tight lies and the 1.62 inch ball. It is even reported he cut the 17th green to his specification, and returned the cleaned mower to the head greenkeeper! He won the Open by four shots, creating a course record with 68 in the final round!
There is a gentle beginning before Panmure opens up beyond the pine forest. Hillocks and heather present the same challenge as the more traditional sand dunes. The 6th played at an angle is only 387 yards, but the second shot to the raised green poses a stern test.
The real quality of the course is in the next few holes – so often the case in links golf – either side of the turn. The 7th is the longest par four at 418 yards, the 8th threads between hills and the 10th a long dogleg right, before a change of direction at 11. 12 and 13 are not long, but penalty awaits a wayward shot.
The longest hole, par five 535 yards 14th, precedes a long par three, 234 yards, and then three par fours, long but fairly straight, takes you home.
A classy golf course but one of two halves – the holes nearer the clubhouse, and the half on the wild links-land. It’s also a real tough layout when the wind is against, which it seemed to be until my final half a dozen holes. Then it was relatively plain sailing.
It’s one of the purest courses I’ve played, its greens are top notch and there is an elegance around the whole place. Highlights were the par 4 6th which Ben Hogan made famous, having a shared fairway then its green stood ominously up a hill. The 12th is a pretty par 4 with a burn zig-zagging in front of the raised green. There are certainly some unique holes built into those sand dunes.
I was happy with my visit, there are some more mundane semi-heathland holes but they’re intriguing enough and warm you up for the main attractions. Panmure’s worthy of any Scottish itinerary.
Great links course living in the shadow of its neighbour.
Model village perfect clubhouse and a good links course well worth adding in to any Carnoustie tour.
Panmure’s greens were by far the best we putted on during a week when we also played at St Andrews and Montrose. Perhaps this was/is due to less visitor play, perhaps a higher maintenance budget or perhaps even the course's more sheltered position behind the railway line and the military shooting range has a role to play. Who knows?
Anyway, by including Panmure on your itinerary, you will not only be playing first-class links golf, you will also experience a real golf club and if you choose your starting time judiciously, far less congestion than at other courses in the region.
Played Panmure on Sept. 11 and greatly enjoyed it! The wind was ferocious -- right to left and slight into my face on most of the front nine and, thankfully, often at my back on the back nine. As is often said, the middle part of the course is spectacular, with the undulations and dunes, etc. The fairways were in very good shape, as were the greens (which had been verticut recently but to no bad effect). I "loved" the rough ... often billowy and wild and, amusingly, FULL of rabbit holes, etc. (so watch your step, lest ye break an ankle ... better yet, keep it in the short grass). I played alone, late in the day, and it was magical with the shadows, etc.
A real treat and an easy drive from my hotel in Dundee! Highly recommended.
The start and finish to Panmure is often unfairly labelled pedestrian and whilst the opening three and closing four holes certainly don’t offer the rollickingly good golf that can be found in the heart of the linksland it is far from dull and certainly earned my respect on a recent visit - there are some subtle touches which can easily be missed.
Greenside bunkering at the 302-yard opener is excellent which means if you find yourself just slightly out of position you could easily be fighting for your par on what could, and perhaps should, be an early birdie opportunity. The second is a graceful par-five whilst the third gives us an indication of what is to follow with just a hint of movement in the land as it sweeps to the right.
Jumping forward, the angled 15th is a par-three that might not be visually satisfying but at 234-yards is likely to require a well struck 3-wood or even a driver for most players before the demanding run for home is maintained at 16 and 17; two-shotters that continue to ramp up the pressure on the golfer with a score in his hand or a championship on the line. That strain could easily become too much at the grand closing hole of 462-yards with out-of-bounds lurking ominously down the right. A couple of mighty blows are required to get home in two to a green that sits under the gaze of the striking clubhouse that looms ever nearer over the closing stretch.
Panmure is an understated, discrete, handsome and distinguished links with a certain amount of panache and one that should form an essential part of any golfing itinerary when playing in this part of the country.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
The 6th is a super hole and is rated index 1. When Ben Hogan practiced here for the 1953 Open, it was this hole which really took his fancy. A draw is needed with the drive followed by a most difficult approach to this 387-yard par four. You hit slightly uphill to an elevated green that is protected by a steep grass-covered dune on the front right.
Hit two good shots on the 12th and it’s an easy hole. First there is a meandering burn that forms an S along the fairway commencing about a hundred yards short of the green and then there is the elevated green with grassy humps and deep pot bunkers nearby.
Panmure is an underrated course. The holes from the 3rd to the 14th especially, are all well-conceived and challenging for even the best of players whilst they are not impossibly difficult for high handicappers. Strategy, rather than brute force, is the order of the day here, particularly from the tee.
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.