Carnoustie Golf Courses
Links Parade,
Carnoustie, Tayside DD7 7JE
Tel : +44 (0)1241 853249 Fax : +44 (0)1241 852720

Evidence of golf at Carnoustie dates back to the 1520s - a time when golf was played by peasants along the sandy sub-soil and open, rolling terrain of the Scottish east coast. Allan Robertson laid out the first 10 holes in 1842 while 25 years later, old Tom Morris added a further eight. James Braid added new bunkers and greens in the 1920s to make Carnoustie a real championship test.

Carnoustie has been the platform for many dramatic Opens with golfing legends such as Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton, Ben Hogan and Gary Player winning golf's greatest prize.

In recent years, the Carnoustie Championship course, often rated among the top three golf courses in the world, has returned to world-prominence as the host of the Scottish Open in 1995 and 1996 and the venue for the 1999 Open Championship.

18 km east of Dundee, by A92 tsr A930

Further Information
Carnoustie is a public course managed by The Links Management Committee, a consortium of Carnoustie, Dalhousie, Caledonia, Mercantile, New Taymouth and Carnoustie Ladies Golf Clubs. For more information on Carnoustie Golf Courses see

Course Details

Course Name: Championship Holes: 18 Yardage: 6941 SSS: 75
A classic links course steeped in history with a reputation for ferocity. Voted the top course in Britain by many of the golfing greats and has been described as Scotland's ultimate golfing challenge. Host to the 1999 Open.

For an appreciation and independent view of this course please see golfer reviews.

press here for Carnoustie Golf Courses course reviews
Course Name: Burnside Holes: 18 Yardage: 6020 SSS: 69
The Burnside Course is shorter than its big brother which encloses it on three sides but is a great introduction to the world of links golf.
press here for Carnoustie Golf Courses course reviews
Course Name: Buddon Links Holes: 18 Yardage: 5420 SSS: 66
The Buddon Course has been extensively remodelled to make it more enjoyable for the average golfer, some of its holes would not however be out of place on its big brother the Championship Course.
press here for Carnoustie Golf Courses course reviews

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Carnoustie championship course

    John Leonard wrote on: Oct 12, 2008

    The last time I played the championship course was about 12 years ago and my finish in heavy rain was memorable. At holes 16, 17 and 18 against a stiff par of 3, 4 and 4, I finished 9, 4, 4. I think I took 4 or 5 to exit a greenside bunker at 16!!


  • my home course

    colin geekie wrote on: Jan 21, 2006

    I grew up and learned to play golf in Carnoustie. My best round was a scratch 72 when i played off of 10. I was one under standing on the 17th tee and finished with a six on the 17th and the 18th was a minor disaster. I hit a good second shot to the back of the green but because the light was fading, I could not judge the putt. I three putted. I say disaster because this was the best round of my life. I have always felt privileged to have been brought up on this course and having met a lot of golfers from around the UK I have felt that a handicap earned over Carnoustie was always worth 4 or 5 shots better than other golfers handicaps.
    By the way, this round was twenty years ago.


  • RE: Europe Golf courses reviews E. Paul Lian, Scottsdale, AZ USA 05/01

    wrote on: Jan 19, 2004

    My e mail address has changed toL


  • Europe Golf courses reviews E. Paul Lian, Scottsdale, AZ USA 05/01

    E. Paul Lian, Scottsdale, AZ USA wrote on: Apr 30, 2001

    Today I had the opportunity of playing 'The Beast'. Bill Thompson got me introduced to Derrick and George, a couple of Carnoustie' finest members. We go off #1 at 10:00 AM and finish about 4 hours later. I was proud of my 45 - 43. I had to play a VERY strong backside in order to keep it under 90. 'The Beast' is just that.... challenging, TOUGH, but fair.... and loaded with history. George seemed to be the resident historian and pointed out several interesting titbits (such as the Nicklaus Bunker on 10) as we worked our way around the course. After the round, Derrick and George took me across the street to the members' club for the 'House Speciality' and a Guinness. George then gave me a tour, pointing out the Championship medals and trophies from hundreds of years ago. He proudly highlighted Bill Thompsons' medal for winning one of the most prestigious competitions at Carnoustie.... Congrats Bill.... and thanks again or your efforts in getting me introduced at your club!!
    There is no finer game than golf.... where else can people from different parts of the world meet as strangers.... and leave as friends.... in just a matter of a few hours.... Carnoustie is awesome!!
    PS I played Carnoustie on May 21, 2000, my 55th birthday. We celebrated the occasion over dinner at Gleneagles, just a short 90-minute drive away. How good can life get? !!


  • Europe Golf courses reviews Tom Leatherbarrow 12/99

    Tom Leatherbarrow wrote on: Nov 30, 1999

    The back nine continues in much the same vein, the most memorable holes being the 10th with its island like green and the fourteenth, the famous Spectacles. However, it is the finish which has done so much to engender the legend of Carnoustie. The trouble really begins at the sixteenth, a long par 3 which, from the very back, stretches to approximately 250 yards.
    Seventeen is dominated by the Barry Burn which forms an island fairway before a difficult second shot and eighteen is dominated by the fairway bunkers, including Johnny Miller's bunker, prior to the long second again over the Barry Burn.
    If there is a key to playing Carnoustie, it probably lies in getting off to a steady start and then ensuring that par figures are secured on the holes which offer some respite, notably the 3rd, 8th, 12th and possibly fourteenth when played as a par 5. The golfer cannot afford to give away too many shots on these holes as it is unlikely that the damage could be repaired on those long par 4s and around the treacherous finish!!!!


  • Europe Golf courses reviews Bill Harley 07/99

    Bill Harley wrote on: Jun 30, 1999

    My father and I played Carnoustie in August of 1993. I had a caddie who was around 70 years old and had been caddying there for many years. His name was Andy Coogan and he was a great coach around the links. It was the third course that we played after first playing North Berwick and Gullane. Due to Carnoustie' reputation, I was really excited about playing this monster. I have played to a 3-5 handicap for years and thankfully on this day, I hit my driver great and with a good caddie I had a great round going. I parred the first seven holes and was three over when I teed off on fifteen. I triple bogeyed the 15th after driving into one of the right hand bunkers. I learned that you just need to get your ball in play out many of those bunkers instead of trying to go for the green . In fact, my caddie apologised for letting me try to go for the green. I parred 16 and 17, however, a double at 18 left me with a 78. (it was playing to par 70. Spectacles was a par 4) All in all, it was a great course and I was still proud of my score despite, the poor finish. I must admit that we played the course on a somewhat mild day and I think in heavy winds that this course would be insufferable, but still fun


  • Europe Golf courses reviews Vic De Melo h'cap South Africa 04/99

    Vic De Melo h'cap South Africa wrote on: Mar 31, 1999

    Played Carnoustie on a windy morning ion mid-March and can support the view that it will be a definite challenge to those taking it on at the 99 OPEN. However don't be intimidated because if played with a good balance of caution and cunning it can be a great experience particularly in the wind.


  • Europe Golf courses reviews Brian Futoransky 9/98

    Brian Futoransky wrote on: Aug 31, 1998

    I played the Championship Course two years ago while I was on a student visa living in London. I went to Scotland to play the Old Course, but came back telling everyone I played Carnoustie. Hogan, Nicklaus and Player walked those fairways, but it is the Scottish weather and the demanding links that make this course memorable.


  • Europe Golf courses reviews Ron Monaco 9/98

    Ron Monaco wrote on: Aug 31, 1998

    On September 19th, 1995 at 8:30 AM, I stepped on the first tee of the worlds' most difficult golf course. A low handicapper and well traveled; I say this without reservation. My playing partner that day was Stephan Kennedy, a local who just earned his Touring Card as a proffessional. As I bent down to put my tee in the ground on #1, I thanked him for arranging such perfect weather but said I really had hoped for a little wind and rain to make this round truly memorable. By the time I had placed my ball on the tee and took my first practice swing, the skies clouded over, the wind was approaching 20 MPH and the first sprinkles had started to fall. By the time I reached my ball for the second shot, we were in the middle of what my caddie called 'true open weather.' I couldn't of been any happier. Making par on #6 (Hogan's Alley) along w/a couple of birdies only made a great day better. But I must admit, my 82 (normally a bad day for me) felt like a 72. Good Luck to the Open Players in '99'. My guess (seeing how Hogan is no longer w/ us) for a winning score at the Open next year will be 2-3 OVER.


  • Europe Golf courses reviews Lawrence Martin 9/98

    Lawrence Martin wrote on: Aug 31, 1998

    This is the most difficult and wonderful golf course I've played in Scotland. The day I played,it was par 70 at 6800 yds. You're always at the edge of disaster and trouble awaits you on every swing. Courage and skill, sprinkled with luck, will see you through. Par #17 and you've the right to brag.


  • Europe Golf courses reviews James Elwood 9/98

    James Elwood wrote on: Aug 31, 1998

    I played 11 courses in Scotland in 10 days this year including the Open Rota venues. I found Carnoustie's Championship course to be the best test of golf of all courses played. It may not have the ocean views of Turnberry, or as much history as St. Andrews, but IT IS the BEST golf course in Scotland. With the Open coming here in
    1999, the course is in fantanstic shape. Do not miss playing at Carnoustie.


  • Europe Golf courses reviews P.V. Griffin, II 9/98

    P.V. Griffin, II wrote on: Aug 31, 1998

    My best friend and I played Carnoustie on July 22. We were staying in Crail and drove up to Carnoustie hoping to be able to get a tee time. We arrived at the course around 10 and to our surprise the starter asked us if 12:20 would be ok. We looked at each other and told her that it would be just fine. This was quite unbelievable since we had heard how difficult it was to get on Carnoustie and St. Andrews. We had played St. Andrews the day before within 20 minutes of arriving at the course. Carnoustie was a different experience. The ground seemed softer and the holes seemed to be more clearly defined. It was truly a grand experience. The weather was nice and sunny with a brisk breeze blowing. The greens were absolutely perfect. They like St. Andrews did not have the breaks that they appeared to have. A caddy is a must on either of the courses. It will be thrilling in 1999 when the Open is played there to remember how I had played the holes that the pros are now playing. I really enjoyed the course itself more than St. Andrews. The sand dunes at Carnoustie give great definition to several of the holes. The course is not that difficult if you can keep the ball in play.


  • Europe Golf courses reviews Jeff Leach 9/98

    Jeff Leach wrote on: Aug 31, 1998

    I played this course in 1974 and was pleased recently to see that it is back on the rotation for the British Open. The day I played was windy and overcast and it was a bear! This is back when you played the british ball (smaller). On the back nine I found an american ball in the rough. I gave it a ride into the wind and thought the ball was going to come back and hit me. Having read some of the more recent comments about this course it seems that it is in much better condition than when I played it. While I was no professional, I could not imagine anyone shooting par on that course in that wind. The starter confirmed my suspicions in telling me that Gary Player had played earlier
    in the morning and shot an 80. Two weeks later he won the British Open.


  • Europe Golf courses reviews Robert Brown 9/98

    Robert Brown wrote on: Aug 31, 1998

    We played Carnoustie this June (1998), after playing on successive days St. Andrews Old Course, Gullane #1, Turnberry, Troon, and Prestwick. As it turned out, I'm grateful that I had played these other courses first to give proper perspective to Carnoustie's reputation of being a punishing loop.
    We are a group of 8 Philadelphia golfers whose abilities range from former PGA Professional to a couple of us who used a bit of license to meet the handicap requirements at several of the Open courses. Our host, Joe, proprietor of the soon to be famous Hogan's Alley intoned the stern challenge that awaited us in the morning and offered that one of our guys, the already famous Paul Dolan, who is a true 17 would be in triple digits at Carnoustie.
    The weather was favorable, no sleet until the 18th green, and set up on the MacDonald Smith tees, we played the course at less than 6500 yards, with only Hogan's 6th playing as a five par. In our defense, I would submit that Spectacles is undoubtably a more difficult 4 par at 456 yards, than a par 5 with only 25 yards added. Our tee time wasn't until 12:20, so I had ample time to meander through the dunes and dip my wedge into the North Sea to temper it for the upcoming test. I wish I had brought my driver, too.
    I had a great time meeting the challenge of Carnoustie, and found it to be strangely familiar, as if it melded elements of the classic seaside course that it is, with some of the features that I associate with courses in rural Pennsylvania. #6 Long is a hole that captured that atmosphere. Anyway, back to the story of our hero, Paul Dolan, representing the US and Sandy Run CC. Paul carded a 91, and ran back to Hogan's Alley to let Joe know that Carnoustie had not bested him. Not one to be bested himself, Joe replied casually, 'Well of course you scored OK, at 6405 yards the course was set from the ladies' tees.'


  • Europe Golf courses reviews Rick Nowosad 9/98

    Rick Nowosad wrote on: Aug 31, 1998

    Played it in June and once before in 1977. Simply a very stern challenge but 100 fair. No gimmicks, no blind shots, not one hole that an average single digit handicap player wouldn't be able to par reasonably often under benign conditions. Yet tied together as a unit, one of the hardest courses one will play and a delightful challenge as a result.


  • Europe Golf courses reviews Peter Imber 9/98

    Peter Imber wrote on: Aug 31, 1998

    I have had the chance to set out to play Carnoustie on two separate occasions. The first time was in a fierce wind. On the back nine the wind gave way to a heavy rain even for Scotland, I believe. My father and I kept playing but we ended up finishing on the Burnside course unintentionally. We just couldn't see. On a second trip we got in a whole round playing the right holes. I have never played a harder golf course. I don't think I've ever felt as humbled by a golfing experience. But I'd go there again in a second. There was one hole that had a tree near the green. Links courses are not supposed to have trees, I remember thinking. But then again this was a links course like no other. If there will be bad weather for the 1999 Open there, breaking 80 will be a good score. Possibly a real good score.


  • Europe Golf courses reviews Evan W. Fleisher 9/98

    Evan W. Fleisher wrote on: Aug 31, 1998

    Pro golfers beware! This course is going to bite a few people next year(1999 Open). Definitely not a fairer, but unrelenting test of golf in all of Scotland. You must be on your game and concentrating on every single shot, or you will pay for it here. Holes are long, fairways tight, and rough unforgiving. Not really a true seaside links feel with many trees scattered about the course, but the winds bring that links feeling right back. The #16 hole Barry Burn is as hard a par-3 as you will ever play in your life. I hit my best driver of the trip there, and came up just short of the green. Slightly dejected, my caddy turned to me and said 'Don't worry, Jack Nicklaus said that this hole was unfair as you should always be able to reach a par-3 with your longest club in the bag.' Apparently he hadn't.


Comments Leave a comment