It’s easy to see why the more famous of the two courses on this cherished piece of golfing land, the Medal, was awarded Final Open Qualifying status in 2007 when The Open was staged at nearby Carnoustie.
The three clubs; Grange, Broughty and Monifieth all have their clubhouses standing proudly along the edge of the main course. It’s a fair, challenging and extremely rewarding links course that doesn’t even have a sniff of a weak hole.
I had high hopes ahead of my visit to Monifieth and it more than delivered on its promise of being a fantastic day of links golf.
The opening stretch at Monifieth runs right alongside the main Aberdeen to London railway line with out of bounds a constant threat on your right. After a modest opening hole with a lovely undulating fairway, a trait throughout the course, it begins to move through the gears over the next few holes. They climax with the excellent fourth where the green is located amidst large dunes on all sides with only a narrow entrance to run your ball through and onto the putting surface.
The next, a par three of almost 200 yards, is no less demanding and like both other short holes on the course (11 and 14) it has a beautiful green complex with a number of bunkers eager to capture the wayward shot.
A blind drive at the 6th requires bravery as you play alongside the train track for the final time. As it transpires a lone bunker down the left is the only real threat but it is perfectly located where the ideal place for an approach to this angled green would be.
The 7th is a beautiful looking hole with a thrilling drive, which must carry a burn, to a fairway that meanders through shallow dunes. The outward half closes with two birdie opportunities; a short par four followed by a two-tiered par five with a rumbling fairway that cascades down to the lower level at around the 300 yard mark before a series of bunkers must be negotiated on the approach to the green.
The second nine is perhaps not quite as demanding, it certainly isn’t as long, but it undoubtedly has the best looking holes and is initially played over more undulating terrain than the rest of the course. The 10th, 12th, 13th and 15th are simply stunning looking par four holes as you stand on the tee and salivate at the prospect of playing them. Each one melts into the natural landscape perfectly and requires accuracy rather than length on both the drive and the approach.
We were fortunate to play the course towards the end of May when the gorse was almost in full bloom and this certainly added an extra dimension to some of these holes on this lovely part of the course.
The round finishes strongly too as you return to flatter ground. The strategic par four 16th has several bunkers to avoid on both the tee shot and the second whilst the 17th at 435 yards is no pushover. The finishing hole, a shallow dog-legging par five around a prominent bunker on the inner elbow, is a fine closing hole and whilst it may present a birdie opportunity for some trouble lurks throughout its 530 yards.
Unusually for a links course there is no view of the sea, instead splendid pine trees adorn many of the holes here and these only add to Monifieth’s charm blending into the linksland majestically.
In many ways the second course as Monifieth, the Ashludie, is a miniature version of the Medal course. Although slightly further away from the coast the terrain is not only similar in type but also in quality.
The course is 1,500 yards shorter than its big brother but with slightly smaller greens and more aggressive contouring around them the challenge is no less diminished and arguably a lot more fun. It’s the type of course that feeds your imagination and enables you to conjure up shots that you rarely get chance to play on most other courses. The Ashludie features in our best golf courses under 6,000 yards and is a par 68.
I can’t speak highly enough of this lovely ‘wee course’ and unless it’s demanding championship golf that you’re seeking for your second round of the day this is more than worth a play.
The raised green at the 275 yard first sets a tone that resounds throughout the full 18 holes. There are a number of short par fours that alone wouldn’t be out of place on many a top golf course. As a collection they come together to produce a lively and entertaining round of golf.
If you’re visiting Monifieth please make sure you make the time to play both courses, you won’t be disappointed. The greens we were greeted with on both courses were amongst the fastest and most consistent we had played all year. They were an absolute joy to putt on.
Monifieth is well located for those building a trip to the East side of Scotland. As well as being on the doorstep of Carnoustie the courses are only a 30 minute drive from St. Andrews and I would say an essential stop-off for those travelling further North en-route to the many excellent courses in and around Aberdeenshire.
Eyemouth is an easy-going, golf course with many different sections but mostly plays along the clifftops of the beautiful coastline close to the England-Scotland border.
There is something about Elie that puts you under a spell. It is a truly magical links that, after just one round, has won a place in my heart and mind forever.