Situated on the northern shores of the Tay Estuary, just four miles from Carnoustie, the Monifieth Medal Course is a superb championship golf links and has acted as a final qualifying venue for the British Open Golf Championship on three occasions, the last time being 1999, when the event was held at Carnoustie. Founded in 1858 and extended to 18 holes in 1880, Monifieth is obviously one of the older golf clubs in Scotland and in addition to hosting final qualifying for the Open Championship; the Monifieth Medal Course has also hosted numerous other important events, including the 1997 Scottish Open Amateur Strokeplay Championship.
There are two golf courses at Monifieth - the Medal Course and the Ashludie Course but it is the Medal layout that is the recognised championship venue. Measuring just over 5,100 yards and playing to a par of 68, the Ashludie Course was designed by James Braid and is a compact and challenging test of golf. Requiring more brain than brawn, the Ashludie layout demands accurate iron shots to well-protected greens and is a good inclusion as a second round, having played the Medal Course. There is little doubt however, about which course is the jewel in the Monifieth crown, and that is the Medal Course, which measures some 6,655 yards and boasts a par of 71.
Like all classic links courses, the Monifieth Medal layout follows the natural contours of the original sandy dunes but unusually enough for a Scottish links; much of the course is flanked by large stands of pine trees. Its narrow running fairways rise, fall, twist and turn through lush areas of semi-rough and penal rough, to fast greens, which are invariably protected by steep, well placed bunkers, designed to trap the erratic or unwary golfer. Given its par of 71 and significant championship length of almost 6,700 yards, this course is far from a stroll in the park.
As for the specifics of a round on the Medal Course, there are many memorable holes and it can genuinely be said that no two holes are alike. The challenge opens with four consecutive par fours, the last of which at 456-yards in length, is probably the signature hole here (and certainly one of the most scenic). The 191-yard, 5th is an excellent short hole, while there are burns lurking on both the 6th and 7th holes, ready to catch any loose drives. The shorter return journey begins with a simple par four if you can avoid the pond on the left but ends with three very difficult holes. If you can finish 4, 4, 5, then you have every right to enjoy that first drink!
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