Arguably it isn’t the longest course, there are 6 par 3’s and 3/4 par 5’s. It measures 4967/5800 so is an easy walking course. In the shadow of its big boy neighbours you can catch a glimpse of the PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles as you enjoy playing Auchterarder. Life started in 1913 when Ben Sayers designed a 9 hole golf course. In the early years maintenance was done by goats grazing the high ground. With WWII came the call up of a lot of its members, it also saw the golf course return to pasture land once again. Post war and into the 1950’s and 1960’s the Old Nine was recognised a good place to play. In 1979 it became an 18 hole course. More recent works include an extension to the clubhouse in 2002. It was lovely to see some of the names of the holes. No. 7 is called Dinnae Stray, a par 4 SI5/9 332/473 yards. The exit off the tee is a little intimidating with established trees left and right. It does open up a little but the green with its amphitheatre of trees around the back of the green add drama. Quite an appropriate name though!
Being so close to exceptional links courses, playing Blairgowrie offers a great, yet equally tough golfing experience. Usually without the buffeting wind! An established woodland course with a huge dollop of heathland thrown in for good measure. Carved out of scots pines, silver birch and enough heather to bring everyone good luck, except when playing golf. It isn’t unusually to see red squirrels and roe deer wandering around this peaceful setting. I loved the way the course ran around the site, in amongst the tall trees and ball grabbing heather. The fairways clearly laid out in the woodland as if a band aid had been ripped off a hairy leg. I’m sure thats not how golf course designers do their planning, but it does conjure up the image I want! This classic mature golf course with its unique design mix of MacKenzie and Braid is a pleasure to play. I can’t wait to get back. You could say two great designers of the time put their mark on this course. .
It is unclear where the name Carnoustie came from. Most likely it is from Scandinavian nouns of Car and Noust, meaning Rock and Bay respectively. As you stand on the first tee of the Championship course, the hotel behind you, you’re pretty much out there alone. The Tee box, despite it proximity to the clubhouse and Links House is almost in the middle of the course, or so it seems. Barry Burn makes a menacing appearance early on, but slinks back into oblivion until the closing holes. It is a relatively flat course, quite open and the weather is in play pretty much all the way round. Playing Carnoustie was one of the rare moments where I had done some research before visiting. Being such an iconic course, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss out on any experiences. You know how it is when you go on holiday only to return home 2 weeks later being told you should have visited….. The greens are generally quite large at Carnoustie, they are short cut and roll like anything - or have the days I’ve played! The oldest Ladies Club in the World is at Carnoustie with gender discrimination being a nasty word. That’s the only time ‘nasty' should be used when referring to this golf course.