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If you’re in the midst of pencilling your arrangements for a golf trip to Scotland, there’s a good chance that Carnoustie Golf Links is at or near the top of your list.

Carnoustie consistently ranks as one of the most challenging golf courses in the world and the most difficult of the Open Championship venues. Over twenty years have passed since the 1999 Open Championship, but the pain it inflicted on the world’s best players that year is still a large part of the lore surrounding Carnoustie. The winning score of 290 strokes (Our own Paul Lawrie) remains the highest total by a champion since 1947. And yet, despite this somewhat notorious reputation, Carnoustie draws thousands of golfers from around the globe each year to take on its venerable links.







The 6th - Hogans Alley

Ben Hogan famously won the 1953 Open Championship in his one and only start in the tournament. Along with his earlier wins at The Masters and U.S. Open, he remains the only player to have won the first three legs of the Grand Slam in the same calendar year. The 6th hole at Carnoustie Golf Links – known as Hogan’s Alley – not only commemorates this feat, but the Hawk’s daring play on the hole itself. In each of the four rounds, Hogan took on the out of bounds up the left side of the fairway, which set up an easier route to reach the par-5 in two shots. Each and every time, the ball began over the white stakes and faded its way back into the fairway. The rest, as they say, is history.

The 10th - South America

There are two reasons to enjoy the 10th hole at Carnoustie Golf Links. The first is the halfway house, which lies just beyond the green with an assortment of food and beverages to carry you to the finish. Or reset your game, as may be the case. The second enjoyable feature of the 10th hole is the story behind its name: South America. The tale goes that around the turn of the 20th century, a long-time caddie decided that he’d seen enough of Carnoustie. The caddie was, as he boldly proclaimed, bound for South America. The night before his departure, his friends threw him a going away party at the local pub. The next morning, he was discovered asleep in one of the bunkers on the 10th hole. When a golfer nudged him awake, the bewildered caddie asked “Am I in South America?”

The 16th - Barry Burn

Consistently ranked as one of the toughest par-3s on The Open rota, the 16th hole at Carnoustie is known as Barry Burn. But not to worry…Unless you hit a wild snap hook off the tee, the burn is not in play here. Which offers just an ounce of relief as you survey the 200+ yards that stretch ahead. Several formidable pot bunkers guard the front of the green, so it’s a good idea to take an extra club. But if the 16th is playing into the wind, your driver may not be nearly enough.

The 18th - Home

Carnoustie Golf Links has branded itself in recent years as “Golf’s Greatest Test,” and the 18th delivers a stern final examination. If you happen to be visiting when The Open is at Carnoustie, the sight of the looming grandstands adds yet another layer of intimidation. Like all things with links golf, the wind will play a key role here. If it’s playing at your back, you may leave the 18th wondering what all the fuss is about. On the other hand, if you’re playing into the teeth of the wind, clearing the Barry Burn suddenly becomes a daunting proposition. Then again, you should be rather used to that after 17-holes at Carnoustie.


In 1953, Ben Hogan won his only Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links, before he arrived at to compete in The Open Championship, Ben Hogan spent two weeks preparing for the tournament next door at Panmure Golf Club. But this was not any normal preparation.

Hogan not only had to learn how to play links golf, he had to adjust his game to the smaller golf ball used in the U.K. at the time. Day in and day out, Hogan methodically prepared in the 17th fairway at Panmure, far from the media spotlight next door at Carnoustie.

Hogan’s favourite hole on the course, however, was the par-4 6th hole. When sharing with the club his appreciation for the hole, Hogan commented that a greenside bunker would make it even better. The bunker was promptly installed, and the 6th hole was renamed in Hogan’s honour.

Carnoustie has hosted The Open Championship on eight occasions, most recently in 2018.

the barry burn

Like the famous Swilken Burn, Carnoustie has its own feature with the Barry Burn which begins over two miles away, the stretch of the Barry Burn which meanders its way through Carnoustie Golf Links has made it infamous in the game of golf. It flows past the previously mentioned 10th hole and appears no less than half a dozen times in the closing stretch. In fact, depending upon what tees you’re playing, you may have to cross the Barry Burn five times on the final two holes alone. Of course, it’s the sight of Jean Van de Velde, standing in the Barry Burn, hands on his hips in dismay, that everyone thinks of first with a mention of Carnoustie.

Surrounding courses in proximity to Carnoustie Golf Links are Royal Montrose G.C., Panmure G.C., Monifieth Golf Links, & St Andrews to name but a few.

The hardest tee shot in Open Golf and I walked on to the tee thinking I was an 18-year-old showing off, how I got that wrong.”

Padraig Harrington - 2007 & 2008 Open Champion


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