Panmure, founded in 1845, is about two miles outside of Carnoustie. If you could draw a picture of what links golf is you wouldn’t be far away with a sketch of Panmure. Swirling and gusting winds protect and surround rolling dunes. Blind tee shots abound and lead to undulating greens that are hard to hold and even harder on which to putt. Firm surfaces means the ball travels a long way but this brings its own dangers with the kind of rough that likes to wrap around club heads and send balls off at funny angles lurking just off the fairway.
Having been sheltered around Yorkshire courses for most of my golfing career, I’m somewhat embarrassed to say this was my links debut. Maybe I was inspired but the surroundings, but not too many times have I enjoyed a better feeling than seeing the ball soaring high into such a wonderful backdrop.
The 6th is the signature hole. Hogan, named after the legendary American champion Ben, was said to be his favourite in Scotland. The Wee Ice Mon practised for two weeks at Panmure ahead of his successful tilt at the Open in 1953 – the only time he played in the championship.
He was very taken with the course as he learned to play off the tight lies and suggested adding a bunker on the right hand side of the green. It has enthralled ever since.
The clubhouse is a replica of the Calcutta Golf Club building – a result of the association between Panmure and the Calcutta Jute Trade. It remains as it looked a century ago, with only the entrance area having been altered.