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0.5 mile S of Barry
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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.
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.