Carnoustie will examine every element of your game and call for length and accuracy, strategic thinking, nerve and stamina

Carnoustie Championship Course Review

Green Fee Range: £82.50-£210

Medal Tee: Par 72 – 6,948 Yards

Visitor Times: Monday to Friday – 09:00-16:00, Saturday from 14:00, Sunday from 11:30


Carnoustie Championship Course Review

Host of 2018’s Open Championship won by Francesco Molinari, Carnoustie is a fiendishly difficult links especially when the wind is up.

There’s a strong case for saying that Carnoustie’s Championship course presents the sternest test of golf in the country and is arguably the toughest course on the Open rota.

Carnoustie Golf Links Championship Course Review

Set over undulating and supremely firm links land, ditches thread a path through and alongside many holes, out of bounds is an intimidating presence from a number of tees and the perfectly placed bunkers have a magnetic, if unwanted, appeal.

This is a course that examines every element of a player’s game.

Carnoustie seen from above during the 2018 Open. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

The layout demands length and accuracy, careful strategy and a delicate touch. As such, any successes around this marvellous course are hugely rewarding and satisfying.

Golf has been played at Carnoustie for hundreds of years, but the Championship course is more recent – Allan Robertson laid out 10 holes in 1850, then Tom Morris made it 18.

The par-3 13th.

James Braid oversaw alterations in the 1920s before local man James Wright completed the finishing touches prior to the Open Championship of 1937.

He was responsible for redesigning the final three holes, aiming to “toughen them up”.

If there is any doubt that the course is the most difficult on the Open rota, there is none that the closing three holes serve up its toughest finish.

The par-4 17th, known as ‘Island’. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

The 16th is a par 3 of 245 yards played into the prevailing wind.

The famous Barry Burn then snakes across the 17th and 18th holes, threatening from the tee on both holes and for the approach to the last.

The closing par-4 18th.

It was in the base of the burn, short of the final green that Jean Van de Velde’s 1999 Open dream became a farcical nightmare.

The course serves up narrow fairways, out of bounds, perfect bunkering and the snaking Barry Burn which all ask demanding questions of your golf game throughout.

It is always kept in tip-top order with greens that are true but home to subtle breaks. The closing four holes serve up a real sting in the tail but are still great fun to play.

Course changes since previous ranking


Proposed course changes


Carnoustie Championship Course Review – Golf Monthly Verdict

The most demanding and dramatic finish on the rota. Exceptional conditioning