Montrose golf dates from 1562, making it the fifth oldest golfing land in the world.
The original golfing terrain was known as The East Links, but around 1900 the town council commandeered part of the land for leisure and commercial development forcing the links to take up new ground in the dunes to the north and east.
Over the years the links evolved with the help of Old Tom Morris, Willie Park and Harry Colt.
Old Tom designed an 18 hole course in 1863- the second oldest 18 hole layout in the world after St Andrews Old Course.
Further changes were made by Willie Park in 1903.
There are now two courses at Montrose- the 1562 course which redesigned by Harry Colt in 1913, and the Broomfield course which Colt designed in 1907.
The 1562 course has remained relatively unchanged since, apart from some realignment work on the 2nd hole by Martin Hawtree in 2008.
Montrose is a traditional Scottish links course sited in rolling dunes land right on the coast.
The front nine largely follows the primal dune with the ocean to the right, while the back nine is more inland, flatter and winds home through gorse and long grass.
The links starts and finishes in the town, further adding to the old world feel.
We played at the end of a long hot summer this year and the course was baked.
It was not at it’s most eye catching, but the low ball was running and the higher flighted balls were buffeted by the coastal breezes.
The bunkering looked a little battered in places, but was were well placed and caught out the errant shot.
The greens were first class.
After a couple of months on the road I was a little jaded, but Montrose exceed my expectations and put a spring in my step.
After a nice first hole from town to sea, the 2nd to 4th holes grabbed my attention- the second is a strong par 4 playing parallel to the beach, followed by a eye catching tabletop short par 3, and then a short strategic par 4 in slightly more protected terrain.
It is an impressive sequence of holes.
The back nine occupies quieter terrain, but the architecture here stands up, with a nice variety of holes going off in different directions. The greens are a strength, but the bunkering is also a feature.
Notable holes include:
- hole 2 (Bents), a strong par 4 along the beach
- hole 3 (Table), a short par 3 to a dramatic riased tabletop green
- hole 4 (Butts), a delightful medium length par 4 through undulating terrain to a well bunkered green
- hole 12 (Pouderie), a nicely bunkered short par 3 (see pic mid page)
- hole 13 (Gates), another nice short par 4 with the green guarded by ominous looking row of bunkers
- hole 15 (Wilderness), a strong par 5, with a lovely green complex
- hole 17 (Rashies), a long par 4 with a brutal raised green
- hole 18 (Dean's Drive), just a nice mid length par 4 to finish..(see pic top of page)
Montrose 1562 is showing it’s age, but will be appreciated by the educated travelling golfer as an important contributor to the development of Scottish Links golf as we know it.
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