St Andrews Carnoustie Golf Vacation
Also includes, Kingsbarns, Dumbarnie & Gleneagles
Also includes, Kingsbarns, Dumbarnie & Gleneagles
Your St Andrews Carnoustie golf vacation features some of Scotland’s most illustrious names. The St Andrews Old course needs no introduction. It is the home of golf, and the course we receive the most interest in. Carnoustie is the toughest links course on the Open Championship rotation, a classic test that any golfer visiting Scotland will want to pit themselves against. Kingsbarns makes up the trinity of established top-50 ranked links. In 2020, Dumbarnie opened and looks destined for the world’s top-100 list. We also add the St Andrews New Course, sister track to the Old course, and probably the most complete test of a links golfer that St Andrews has to offer. Faraway Fairways have gone further. The world’s finest moorland layout, the Kings course at Gleneagles is slotted as your opening assignment, although you might always decide to play the 2014 Ryder Cup course instead. For good measure we’ve included a couple of final Open Qualifying venues at Panmure. and Monifieth. Finally we include a choice from a trio of dramatic cliff-top courses. ‘The Castle’, ‘Kittocks’ and ‘Torrance’ course are the most photogenic that St Andrews has to offer.
The St Andrews Carnoustie golf vacation is the most popular enquiry Faraway Fairways receive. Kingsbarns, Dumbarnie and Gleneagles add further world-class quality. Combinations involving these will normally feature in about 90% of proposals that we receive.
TransportSelf-drive works best. Hired driver feasible
LogisticsTwin centre; daily ‘back-to-base’ structure
Non-Golf OfferStrong - Edinburgh, St Andrews, Stirling, Glamis Castle & Fife
MileageLow - (225 miles) Approximately 6 hrs
Travel ClassLuxury, Premier and Affordable
Old CourseHigh - likely to play through the ballot. Walk-Up-Rule close to guaranteed
SUNDAY - Gleneagles, King's Course
The aristocratic King’s Course is a masterpiece of golf course design, which has caught the imagination of both professional and amateur alike. Lee Trevino remarked whilst standing on the first, “that if this is heaven I sure hope they have some tee times available”. Selecting the right club for each approach shot is the secret on the King’s. It is certainly one of the most beautiful and exhilarating places to play golf in the world, with the springy moorland turf underfoot, the sweeping views from the tees all around, the rock-faced mountains to the north, the green hills to the south, and the peaks of the Trossachs and Ben Vorlich on the western horizon.
SUNDAY - Gleneagles Queen's Course
Threading through high ridges on the north and west sides of the estate, the Queen’s course is the most aesthetic of the Gleneagles trinity. It presents you with lovely woodland settings, lochans and ditches as water hazards, as well as many moorland characteristics. At 3,192 yards long, the challenge of the first nine can be deceptive, with even some of the best players finding it a test to make par into a fresh south westerly breeze.
MONDAY - Panmure
Panmure golf is less than 2 miles from Carnoustie and hosted final Open qualifying as well as many national and regional championships. The greens are fairly small and the bunkers deep. Tight fairways lined with gorse demand good placement from the tee at the expense of distance. Whins and thick rough abound throughout the course and can destroy a poorly managed game. Accuracy is often more important than length and each hole should be played strategically. Approach shots also require precision and on occasion clever improvisation is necessary. The course is perhaps most readily associated with Ben Hogan who practised extensively at Panmure prior to the 1953 Open at Carnoustie. The sixth hole of the course was rated in his top 18 holes.
MONDAY - Monifieth
Monifieth’s Medal course is a combination of parkland and links with undulating ground flanked on many holes by rows of pine trees. The course has been used numerous times as a final Open qualifying venue for Carnoustie. Indeed, it was here that a young Tom Watson began his association with Scottish links golf on his way to lifting his first claret jug in 1975. Time spent thinking on the tee will pay off, especially with out of bounds down the right of the first 6 holes. This golf course rewards strategy and precision, making it perfect for anyone who wants to sharpen their tactical golf skills. Deep revetted bunkers are another feature.
TUESDAY - Carnoustie
American media commentators wasted no time dubbing the Tayside course ‘Car-Nasty’. Few would deny the claims of Carnoustie to the crown of toughest Open venue of them all. Carnoustie is long and menacing. It has a number of challenging holes, particularly the par fives. The Spectacles’ (14) and ‘Hogan’s Alley’ (6) are the two toughest assignments on the stroke index. The par 3 sixteenth is another shocker. It’s the enduring image from the 1999 Open of Jean van de Velde paddling in the Barry Burn however, that cemented Carnoustie’s legend. Sports Illustrated described the course as “a nasty old antique brought down from the attic by the R&A after 24 years” as scoring soared. Carnoustie revels in such notoriety. If the wind gets up you’re unlikely to ever play a tougher assignment.
WEDNESDAY - Kingsbarns
Records of golf being played at Kingsbarns date to 1793. The modern course opened in 2000, and is set on three-tiered levels, sloping towards the coast. Nearly every hole has stunning views of the North Sea. The par 3, 15th requires a tee shot over the waves, and vies with the 12th for the accolade of ‘signature hole’, a par 5 which hugs the shoreline to an exposed green. Perhaps of greatest significance is the number of times it beats more illustrious neighbours in surveys amongst visiting Americans since its always immaculately presented. Kingsbarns completes the trio of East Coast giants that host the European Tour’s Dunhill links challenge each year alongside Carnoustie and the Old Course.
THURSDAY - St Andrews Castle Course
‘The Castle’ is the newest addition to the clan St Andrews. Set atop cliffs it’s perhaps more Pebble Beach, than Scotland, yet the course has successfully cultivated a links character. The elevation provides stunning vistas of the bay and town below, making it one of the most photogenic courses in the country. You won’t be the first person to pause and smile as you look down into the town of St Andrews itself with all the historic landmarks on the skyline and simply think Wow! The course is really quite dramatic as the sea can usually be relied on to put up a display of raw energy. The eighth and and the par 3, seventeenth, ‘the Braes’ are particularly awesome.
THURSDAY - Kittocks or Torrance
The Kittocks and Torrance courses are slight departures from the links tradition of St Andrews, being a few miles outside of town on a stunning cliff-top location overlooking the bay and town below. With a splendid sense of isolation and exposure they both play ‘linksy’. The result is spectacular. The Kittocks course is a long and challenging, requiring nerves of steel to navigate its many holes running alongside the coastline. It’s played host to Europro Tournament 2007 and 2009 and Scottish Youths National Championship 2016. The Torrance course is characterised by its deep revetted bunkers, and large greens and has hosted the Seniors European Tour Event six times between 2009 and 2014. They tend to be held in similar regard.
FRIDAY - Dumbarnie
Dumbarnie is Scotland’s newest world class golf links, (2020) and is expected to rank in the world’s top-100 when the next lists are published. It’s located on an escarpment, 80 ft above sea-level at its peak, the design has made good use of the natural contouring to introduce views of the sea on two loops of nine. The terrain has been worked into a series of hillocks, knobs and knolls. A number of elevated tees have been used to provide the drama of hitting drives out to the ocean. Unusually for a links, water has also been introduced, albeit mainly confined to burns rather than lakes. The fairways are wide and forgiving with driveable risk and reward par 4’s a particular feature of the lay-out
SATURDAY - St Andrews Old Course
St Andrews, the home of golf, needs little introduction nor hype from us. The first surviving record of the game being played here dates to 1522. The town oozes atmosphere and the course is soaked in heritage. The view from the iconic Swilcan Bridge looking back up the final fairway to the magnificent R&A headquarters and red bricked Hamilton Hall is one of the most instantly recognisable in world sport, never mind golf. ‘The Road Hole’, the 17th, is the signature assignment. No hole yields more bogeys in the Open than this one. Another unique feature are the massive double greens. The secret? don’t be over-awed. Keep out the 112 bunkers, especially so ‘Hell Bunker’ at the 14th. Then attack the course! St Andrews is actually one of the more obliging links, so don’t leave wondering what might have been. It can be tamed!
SATURDAY - St Andrews New Course
“New” in the context of St Andrews means 1895! The course is often said to be the town’s favourite. It’s a tighter and more defined course than its regal neighbour, and aided by yellow gorse bushes, it tends to be more aesthetic too. The ‘New’ runs adjacent to the Old course and as a consequence has similar characteristics. The fairways are undulating but not as dipped as the Old course, leading to fewer hanging lies. A traditional out and back nine, only the 3rd and 15th share a green. The burn wends its way through a low dune system and features some particularly charismatic holes. The 464yd tenth is often cited as the pick. Think about it logically. It’s likely that the newer course that was designed for purpose, would be the better golf course than the ancient artefact. The good folk of St Andrews know!
The St Andrews Links Trust don't publish ballot strike-rates. Faraway Fairways do occasionally succeed in extracting an off the record opinion however. In addition to this, we’re also able to draw on our own evidence, and that which we’re able to extract from credible co-operative partners (usually hotels) plus what other tour operators might tell us. We have a good guideline idea of strike rates by month of the year and by day of the week
It needs to be stressed that these are indicative averages only. Different parts of a month will behave differently dependent on any end of factors. The ballot is quixotic and unpredictable, Extended runs of good or bad luck can, and do, happen. They are provided in good faith, but can of course fail, and can't therefore be used as a basis for compensation
Multiply by the number of days you are available to give you a guideline
MONTH OF THE YEAR
DAY OF THE WEEK
St Andrews 'Guaranteed' Tee Times
There is a heavy price premium on a guarantee a tee-time. Plus they usually involve a minimum hotel stay in St Andrews of at least three nights, playing an additional St Andrews course is mandatory, and normally a minimum food & drink spend in a specified hotel. So are they worth it? The answer to that question really is "it depends ...". If money is no object, and you don't mind paying much more than you might need to, and you're short of time, then they might be. Otherwise Faraway Fairways wouldn't be convinced and would tend to encourage folk to try the 'advance guaranteed ballot' as a first resort
St Andrews advise the following for the Old Course. “A current official handicap card (Golf Club affiliated to a Golf Union/Association) record or certificate must be presented to the starter prior to play. Maximum handicaps – 36 for both gentlemen and ladies. St Andrews will not accept letters of introduction from a local Club Professional”.
Carnoustie - operates a handicap threshold of 28 for gentlemen, and 36 for ladies respectively. Players who are unable to meet this standard are invited to tackle the alternatives we’ve nominated instead.
Some known issues to consider
St Andrews, Carnoustie, and Kingsbarns jointly host the Dunhill Links challenge in the first week of October
The university's graduation week takes place in mid June for a full week of June. This causes a price spike in hotels and sold-outs about 9 months before. It does however improve your prospects of playing through the ballot by about 5% each day as there are less golfers in St Andrews
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