Carnoustie Golf Links

Carnoustie Golf Links
Club information
Location Scotland Carnoustie, Scotland
Established 1850
Type Public
Total holes 54
Designed by Allan Robertson, Old Tom Morris, James Braid
Par 72 (71 for The Open)
Length 6,941 yards (6,347 m)
(7,421 yards (6,786 m) for the
2007 Open Championship)
Course record 64 by Richard Green, Steve Stricker, Colin Montgomerie, Alan Tait, Shane Lowry, Alexander Norén
The Burnside
Designed by James Braid
Par 68
Length 5,972 yards (5,461 m)
Buddon Links
Par 68
Length 5,921 yards (5,414 m)
Location in Scotland
Location in Angus, Scotland

The Carnoustie Golf Links are in Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland. Its historic championship golf course is one of the venues in the Open Championship rotation.


Golf is recorded as having been played at Carnoustie in the early 16th century. In 1890, the 14th Earl of Dalhousie, who owned the land, sold the links to the local authority. It had no funds to acquire the property, and public fundraising was undertaken and donated to the council. The original course was of ten holes, crossing and recrossing the Barry Burn; it was designed by Allan Robertson, assisted by Old Tom Morris, and opened in 1842.[1] The opening of the coastal railway from Dundee to Arbroath in 1838 brought an influx of golfers from as far afield as Edinburgh, anxious to tackle the ancient links. This led to a complete restructuring of the course, extended in 1867 by Old Tom Morris to the 18 holes which had meanwhile become standardized. Two additional courses have since been added: the Burnside Course and the shorter though equally testing Buddon Links.

Carnoustie first played host to The Open Championship in 1931, after modifications to the course by James Braid in 1926. The winner then was Tommy Armour, from Edinburgh.

Later Open winners at Carnoustie include Henry Cotton of England in 1937, Ben Hogan of the USA in 1953, Gary Player of South Africa in 1968, Tom Watson of the USA in 1975, Paul Lawrie of Scotland in 1999 and Pádraig Harrington of Ireland in 2007. The last three championships were all won in playoffs.

The Championship course was modified significantly (but kept its routing used since 1926) prior to the 1999 Open, with all bunkers being rebuilt, many bunkers both added and eliminated, many green complexes expanded and enhanced, and several new tees being built. A large hotel was also built behind the 18th green of the Championship course.[2]

Tee off down Hogan's Alley, Hole #6, at Carnoustie. Avoid going out of bounds down the left!

The Amateur Championship was first hosted by Carnoustie in 1947; the winner was Willie Turnesa. The world's oldest amateur event has returned three times since: 1966 (won by Bobby Cole), 1971 (won by Steve Melnyk), and 1992 (won by Stephen Dundas).

The British Ladies Amateur was first hosted by Carnoustie in 1973, and will return for the second time in 2012.

The Senior Open Championship was held at Carnoustie for the first time in 2010, with Germany's Bernhard Langer winning. The Women's British Open was held here for the first time in 2011; the winner was Yani Tseng.

Carnoustie is one of the three courses hosting the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, an autumn event on the European Tour; the others are the Old Course at St Andrews and Kingsbarns.

The Golf Channel's reality series The Big Break, in which aspiring golfers compete for exemptions on professional tours and other prizes, filmed its fourth season at Carnoustie in 2005. As that year also saw the Ryder Cup at The K Club in Ireland, that year's show was based around a US vs Europe theme, with the two teams competing for European Tour exemptions.

In North America, the course is infamously nicknamed "Car-nasty," due to its famous difficulty, especially under adverse weather conditions. Carnoustie is considered by many to be the most difficult course in the Open rota, and one of the toughest courses in the world.

The term Carnoustie effect dates from the 1999 Open, when the world's best players, many of whom were reared on manicured and relatively windless courses, were frustrated by the unexpected difficulties of the Carnoustie links, which was compounded by the weather. One much-fancied young favourite, a 19-year-old Sergio García of Spain, went straight from the course to his mother's arms crying after shooting 89 and 83 in the first two rounds.[3] The Carnoustie effect is defined as "that degree of mental and psychic shock experienced on collision with reality by those whose expectations are founded on false assumptions." This being a psychological term, it can of course apply to disillusionment in any area of activity, not just in golf.

The 1999 Open Championship is best remembered for the collapse of French golfer Jean van de Velde, who needed only a double-bogey six on the 72nd hole to win the Openand proceeded to score a triple-bogey seven, tying Paul Lawrie and 1997 champion Justin Leonard at 290 (+6). Lawrie won the four-hole aggregate playoff and the championship.

The Open Championship was once again contested at Carnoustie in July 2007. The eight-year absence was far shorter than the lengthy 24 years it took to return to Carnoustie, between 1975 and 1999. Harrington triumphed over García in a four-hole playoff. The 18th hole once again proved itself among the most dramatic and exciting in championship golf. Harrington had a one-shot lead over García as he approached the final hole in the fourth round, but proceeded to put not one but two shots into the Barry Burn, on his way to a double-bogey 6. García, playing in the final pairing of the day, reached the 18th with a one-shot lead over Harrington, but bogeyed the hole after missing a putt from just under ten feet away, setting up the playoff. In the four-hole playoff, which ended on the 18th, Harrington took no chances with a two-shot lead on the 18th; his bogey was enough to defeat García by one shot.

The Open Championship will return to Carnoustie in 2018.[4]

The 18th hole at Carnoustie and the Barry Burn

On January 17, 2014, it was announced that Carnoustie Golf Links - which operates the six publicly owned courses, including the Championship Course - had appointed its first-ever female chairman, Pat Sawers.[5]

The Open Championship

This is a list of The Open Championship champions at Carnoustie Golf Links:

share (£)
R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
1931 United States Tommy Armour 73757771296 (+8) 100
1937 England Henry Cotton 2nd74727371290 (+6)100
1953 United States Ben Hogan 73717068282 (−6)500
1968 South Africa Gary Player 2nd74717173289 (+1)3,000
1975 United States Tom Watson 1st71676972279 (−9) PO7,500
1999 Scotland Paul Lawrie 73747667290 (+6) PO350,000
2007 Republic of Ireland Pádraig Harrington 1st69736867277 (−7) PO750,000
201819–22 July

The Women's British Open

Winner of the Women's British Open at Carnoustie Golf Links.

R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
2011 Taiwan Yani Tseng 2nd 71 66 66 69 272 (−16)

The Senior British Open

Winner of The Senior Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links.

R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
2010 Germany Bernhard Langer 67 71 69 72 279 (−5)
2016 21–24 July


Carnoustie Golf Links - Championship Course
2007 Open Championship

HoleNameYardsPar HoleNameYardsPar
1Cup4064 10South America4664
2Gulley463411John Philp3834
3Jockie's Burn358412Southward Ho4994
6Hogan's Alley578515Lucky Slap4724
7Plantation410416Barry Burn2483

Lengths of the course for previous Opens (since 1950):[6]

The 12th hole was played as a par-5 through 1975.

Length of the course for Women's British Open

Length of the course for Senior Open Championship

Course record

Carnoustie is known as 'The Beast'. It is one of the venues for The Open Championship.

The course record is 64, achieved by:

Alan Tait ScotlandScottish Daily Express National Pro-Am1994
Colin Montgomerie ScotlandScottish Open12 July 1995
Steve Stricker United StatesThe Open Championship21 July 2007
Richard Green AustraliaThe Open Championship22 July 2007
Paul Lawrie Scotland Alfred Dunhill Links Championship 6 Oct 2007
Se Ri Pak South KoreaWomen's British Open29 July 2011
Inbee Park South KoreaWomen's British Open29 July 2011
Katie Futcher United StatesWomen's British Open31 July 2011
Shane Lowry Ireland Alfred Dunhill Links Championship 28 Sep 2013
Oliver Wilson England Alfred Dunhill Links Championship 2 Oct 2014
Alexander Norén Sweden Alfred Dunhill Links Championship 6 Oct 2016

See also


  1. The World Atlas of Golf, second edition, 1988; Scotland: Where Golf is Great, by James W. Finegan, 2010
  2. Scotland: Where Golf is Great, by James W. Finegan, 2010
  3. The Real Carnoustie Awaits British Open Field, The Golf Channel, 18 July 2007
  4. "Royal Birkdale and Carnoustie to host The Open in 2017 and 2018". R&A Championships Limited. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  5. "Carnoustie appoints first female chairman". bunkered. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  6. "Media guide". The Open Championship. 2011. pp. 22, 203. Archived from the original on 18 April 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012.

External links

Coordinates: 56°29′49″N 2°43′01″W / 56.497°N 2.717°W / 56.497; -2.717

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