New golf courses have virtues all of their own but those that date back practically half a millennium have a certain charm impossible to match. One such example is Montrose, located on the golfing-haven east coast of Scotland that is the very cradle of the game. Whether you believe golf as we know it today was invented in these isles or across the North Sea in the Netherlands – and there is no definitive answer – what is beyond doubt is that it was here the game acquired widespread popularity. And with courses like this one, it is a small wonder.
Montrose offers links golf with a bit of everything; holes that hug the coast, sporty par 4s and 5s, a stretch where you have to negotiate your way through the gorse, humps and hollows galore, a chance to putt from everywhere, some potentially ruinous gusts from the occasional elevated tee, outstanding greens and, when we played here, a baked and brown layout that grabbed your senses even at 7am on a Sunday.
This is golf in its original, most basic form – and it is all the better for it. The length, shape and difficulty of the holes are determined less by the architect than the demands of the land. It is easy to imagine what it was like here centuries ago before the grass was cut and greens and tees defined because that is all that has changed. You almost think it would have been impossible to arrive at any other routing.
Given the sign that you’ll see on your arrival you won’t be able to miss the history of the place and rightly so.
If you think your club has a nice bit of history to it then you haven’t lived. At one stage back in the day it could boast having the greatest number of holes of any course, at the time Musselburgh had five while Montrose had 25.
In one event over these holes Willie Park (115), winner of the first Open, finished second ahead of the reigning Open champion Andrew Strath (his brother Davie has the bunker named after him at St Andrews) and Jamie Anderson who would go on to win the Open three times in succession.
The winner was a T Doleman who won £10 for his 112 strokes.
One famous son of the club was Chay Burgess who left Montrose to become a pro in the States where he became the coach and mentor to Francis Ouimet – he also became the first ever soccer coach at Harvard University.
Why is it special?
Montrose is situated on the most famous coastline in the world for links golf where golf has been played for more than 450 years, boasting the status of being the 5th oldest golf course in the world.
Montrose Links is also home to two courses: the 1562 and the Broomfield. The former features in our ranking of Scotland’s Top 100 courses and challenges golfers with its undulating fairways and fast greens, made more difficult when the wind whips inland from the sea. The latter is by no means a course requiring drives of hundreds of yards; instead, the key to conquering this deceptive course is a delicate touch and the ability to accurately control the ball from the tee.
Harry Colt was the designer behind the final layouts of both courses, who used the coastline’s natural dunes to great effect.
Where is it?
Montrose golf course is 20 miles north of Carnoustie, 40 miles south of Aberdeen and, as you’ll have noticed, slap bang on the coast of the North Sea.
Where does it rank?
Where is it?
Montrose is situated on the east coast of Scotland in the county of Angus in the town of Montrose.
Get in touch with Montrose
For more information about the club and course, visit its website or call them on 01674 672634.
Have you played Montrose before? Let us know in the comments, or tweet us.
- RELATED: Played by NCG: Montrose Golf Course
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