Any excuse is a good excuse to get out of the office on Friday afternoon. But when the reason for one´s absence from in front of the computer screen is a round of golf at one of Scotland´s historic links courses then no justification is required!
It was last Friday that I was invited to attend a press event at Montrose Links to celebrate its remarkable 450th anniversary this year making it the fifth oldest course in the world. Sitting in the heart of Carnoustie Country only an hour away from St Andrews and Gleneagles and thirty minutes from Carnoustie itself, Montrose is an ideal base for a memorable golfing break. There are incredible thirty golf courses within a 40-mile drive of Carnoustie Championship and Montrose is just one of them. I have never visited the links before so I was really excited about the opportunity. The icing on the cake was that we would get to meet the legendary Scottish golfer Catriona Matthew on the day.
As the April weather reigned in Scotland the conditions outside were rather chilly and windy but sunny. We started with a delicious soup and sandwich lunch at the welcoming clubhouse. Warmed up and pleasantly full we headed out to the pro shop to pick up our clubs as today we were not playing the usual golf – we were playing hickory!
Equipped with a pencil bag containing seven clubs we headed onto the second course at Montrose Links – the Broomfield. It is an 18-hole layout with all the qualities that you would expect from a links course: rugged beauty with wide, fast running fairways, nasty pot bunkers and undulating, beautifully contoured greens.
This was my second time playing with hickory clubs but this time it was using newly made replicas. I have to say one thing though: I am becoming a real fan of hickory golf! For a golfer like myself, who plays occasionally and is still learning the game, the hickories are great fun to play. Yes, they give you less margin for error when you are hitting the ball but at the same time you get a better feel for the swing and get used to the clubs more quickly as you have less of them. What I also really enjoy is carrying the small pencil bag rather than dragging a trolley around stuffed with clubs some of which I can´t hit consistently anyway. It is a very liberating feeling while playing and it is much faster. The three of us played seven holes and it took us just an hour to get around. The course and the hickories were a perfect match for a short but enjoyable round of golf.
We then had a chance to attend a golf master class with the former Ricoh Women´s British Open Champion Catriona Matthew. Catriona who also happens to be the Carnoustie Country Ambassador took time to explain different aspects of the game including bunker play, driving, putting and the short game. She was friendly, always ready to answer any questions from the 30 or so onlookers and with her relaxed and easy swing she just made the game look incredibly easy. Later on she officially opened the lengthened 11th hole on Montrose Medal Course with a drive to mark the 450th anniversary. As you would expect it cruised beautifully straight before landing dead in the middle of the fairway.
Overall I had a fantastic day at Montrose and can´t wait to go back there to play both of the courses. And I will be equally happy whether I have a hickory or a graphite shafted club in my hands.
Picture by: Graham Hood Photography/www.carnoustiecountry.com
Posted on April 19, 2012 by admin@golfcomms