Open preview: A look at the golfing venues in Angus

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu July 7, 2018 17:16

Angus in the east of Scotland, where next week’s Open Championship is taking place, is known as a golfing mecca. Sarah Forrest visits the area to see how welcoming it is for golfing tourists

It is true, Scotland does not have the best reputation for lady golfers, whether that is to welcome them or whether that is looking after their own. However, Angus’ open doors approach is a sure winner for both sexes. This trip to Angus, aka ‘Carnoustie Country’, has certainly opened my eyes, it is an area one can go golfing but it is also an area to visit for holidays.

Edzell Golf Club

There are some truly beautiful golf courses all within 30 minutes. To get a true Angus welcome, try Edzell Golf Club, an 18 and a nine-hole course and good practice facilities. This James Braid heathland setting is located in Edzell itself, a Scottish village retaining its character and charm of old. Interestingly there are more members of Edzell Golf Club than there are residents in Edzell!  With established links back to Carnoustie Championship Links, this friendly club should be on your must-play list. Besides the golf Edzell has a 360 degree bar which is famed in the Guinness World Records as having the most variety of whiskies commercially available.

Montrose Medal is one of my all time favourite courses. It has recently changed its name in a re-branding exercise to the 1562, an appropriately named club clearly spelling out its heritage and drawing attention to itself as the fifth oldest golf course in the world. And what a course it is too. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, is clearly the motto here as the course design hasn’t changed for over 100 years; it still captivates the imagination of golfers and surely non-golfers alike with its rugged sea cliff-top views from the second hole onwards. A bold and progressive move for an established club, not to mention one in the golfing arena whose traditions are slowly and progressively changing. Montrose is simply just keeping up with the times yet gently reminding visitors of its deep routed past in golf. Even a rubbish game of golf doesn’t stop you from smiling as you finish off on the 18th and reflect back in the clubhouse, remembering those sea views, the valleys and dips of the fairways and the large receptive greens. The clubhouse doesn’t scream history or heritage, it is simply a welcoming space to relax in the bar or grab a bite to eat, it really isn’t trying to be something it isn’t, but what it is it does well and that is friendly, open and honest.

Murrayshall Old Course

Another day dawns as our excitement is contained on our drive over to Panmure Golf Club. A trophy cabinet to mull over as the silverware glares triumphantly back at you saying: ‘you’re simply not good enough to win me’! As the first starts away from the clubhouse, you don’t really appreciate the splendour of the sprawling building until those last few closing holes as it has been modelled on Royal Calcutta Golf Club – the oldest golf course outside the UK. Panmure carries its own history, famed as the practice ground for Ben Hogan prior to his Open win.  While a links course and certainly playing like a links course with its sand base, it is a mile from any coastline, it also has established trees on the course, as such some purists might say it isn’t a true links course – either way it’s a great track, forgiving and unforgiving in equal measures, challenging tee shots demand a straight drive.

How could my day get better? Gin? The Gin Bothy to be exact – a bothy is a traditional, usually stone built, building used to cater for the weary traveller, often managed by the Mountain Bothy Association to provide a simple overnight stay in a place for people who love ‘wild and lonely’ places; so assume there are no facilities – except of course when visiting the Gin Bothy, where the cottage industry has been taken to new heights in the area and gained a worldwide reputation for great gin. The owner stumbled upon gin flavours when trying to make use of the leftover fruit from jam making; a perfect marriage was established as the gin recipes got more and more elaborate.

Panmure GC

Where to stay in Angus? Murrayshall House Hotel and Golf Courses. This golf resort has two 18-hole golf courses which wind themselves around 365 acres of land and the former country house of the Murray family. At only 30 years old, the course designers have maximised the established park and woodland, and captured the country estate feel, balancing the hotel offering with ease.   The imposing grey granite hotel is undergoing a series of renovations with some of the refurbishment already completed to bring it securely into a good solid four-star establishment. Murrayshall also has a great restaurant on site with a good array of locally sourced, freshly prepared food with care and attention.

Near Montrose is the Links Hotel, a perfect location to relax, while The Carnoustie Golf Hotel yields views from the 1st and back up the 18th fairways as early morning golfers bash away as the dew is still heavy on the grass.

Montrose Medal

There you have it, just a few reasons to look at Carnoustie Country for your country membership and welcome retreat, and this is all without mentioning Carnoustie Links Golf Course itself. Offering three golf courses on site, The Buddon, The Burnside and, of course, Championship Links, which draws the eye away from the hotel to the welcome abyss of golf, interspersed with unwelcome interludes of the Barry Burn weaving around the course to stop the big hitters taking it for granted, instead demanding thought being put into each shot. Be mindful that the course has actually been shortened for the Open, testimony to James Braid, Allan Robertson and Old Tom Morris as the forward thinking golf course designers.

Angus – a  place to relish and enjoy some good honest, diverse golf offerings, sample local food and try whisky or gin, or in my case both – a friendly place to be for golfers and non-golfers alike, no distinction between the sexes, just golfers.

Sarah can be emailed via sarah@golfgurugroup.com

 

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu July 7, 2018 17:16
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