It’s British Open week: A visit back to Carnoustie

A fews years ago I made a two week piligrimage to Scotland which I told on this website in full one year ago. 10 days into the trip I played Carnoustie. After a week and a half of playing on courses with dramatic coastlines to distract you from the game at hand, Carnoustie was all muscle and no pretty dress. With The Open returning to this Scottish burg this week for the first time since 1999, I thought a rehash was in order:

As magnificent as St. Andrews was on Wednesday afternoon, that’s how difficult Carnoustie was on Thursday morning. The weather was dreary, the scenery was dreary and the course was completely unforgiving.

My memories of that day include hitting my opening tee shot into the burn, grease footprints on the greens, squeezing my ball through Hogan`s Alley for my one par of the day and a series of 400+ yard par fours on the back nine dead into the wind. As a matter of fact, the course was so brutal on me that it wasn`t until my final approach at 18, when Rob and Chris reminded me of Van de Velde`s famous meltdown that I even remembered the historical significance of Carnoustie. Chris birdied 18 out of the green side bunker. I`d say that his impressions of the course were considerably better than my own.

Back to the future:
I’ve had a couple of years to reflect on my 3 1/2 hours of hell on Carnoustie. Since then, everything I have read is true. The course has no scenery to speak of. The wind seems to shift at every turn so that it blows stiff into your face. There are no easy holes. I have never thought of returning though I would in a second if the offer was tended!

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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