A handsome links with an outstandingly good middle section


Panmure Golf Club

Date Reviewed
May 29, 2016
Reviewed by Ed Battye
Panmure is a classy and historic golf club with a wonderful natural links course located near Carnoustie, Angus, in the East of Scotland.

It is the sixteenth oldest golf club in the world dating back to 1845 and is one of the 26 clubs that originally helped purchase the Amateur Championship trophy first played for in 1885.

This James Braid influenced links – par 70, SSS 72, 6,551 yards - has been recognised several times over the years with many significant competitions being staged on the course including local and national amateur tournaments as well as final qualifying for The Open Championship.

The start and finish to Panmure is often unfairly labelled pedestrian and whilst the opening three and closing four holes certainly don’t offer the rollickingly good golf that can be found in the heart of the linksland it is far from dull and certainly earned my respect on a recent visit - there are some subtle touches which can easily be missed.

Greenside bunkering at the 302-yard opener is excellent which means if you find yourself just slightly out of position you could easily be fighting for your par on what could, and perhaps should, be an early birdie opportunity. The second is a graceful par-five whilst the third gives us an indication of what is to follow with just a hint of movement in the land as it sweeps to the right.

Jumping forward a moment, the angled 15th is a par-three that might not be visually satisfying but at 234-yards is likely to require a well struck 3-wood or even a driver for most players before the demanding run for home is maintained at 16 and 17; two-shotters that continue to ramp up the pressure on the golfer with a score in his hand or a championship on the line. That strain could easily become too much at the grand closing hole of 462-yards with out-of-bounds lurking ominously down the right. A couple of mighty blows are required to get home in two to a green that sits under the gaze of the striking clubhouse that looms ever nearer over the closing stretch.

If the beginning and the ending of the Panmure story are good – and they are – then the middle chapters are simply riveting. The main character of the plot is the all-world sixth hole but the supporting cast is also particularly strong.

The first glimpse of brilliance comes when nearing the green complex of the fourth where your approach can be played in a number of different ways to achieve the desired result; along the ground, through the air or a combination of the two. It's an explosive introduction and is quickly followed by the excellent short fifth which is not particularly a looker from the tee but as soon as you catch a view of the green complex its merits are clear to see.

However, the centrepiece of the entire links is the 414-yard sixth. A par four of incredulous quality that you keeping glancing at throughout the round because its plateau green can be seen from several parts of the property; and it looks magnificent from all angles. A semi-blind drive over heather into the unknown creates anticipation for the first time visitor who is then greeted with a rumpled fairway that quickly narrows and then snakes up to a green partially hidden in the sandhills but visible enough to show you the perils of missing short or right.

And so Panmure continues, hole after hole of sheer exuberance, joy and strategy. The brutal seventh and exquisite short ninth are further highlights on the outward half with the recently redesigned eighth filling the gap nicely and where a drive down the left is favourable for a more accessible approach to the green.

The championship credentials of this elegant inland links are abundant at the 10th and 11th before more intrigue surrounds us at the 12th where the course shakes hands with neighbouring Monifieth but not before a winding burn is crossed short of the raised green. More good fun follows at the 13th with a sunken putting surface adding even more charm and character to a section of the course that is plentiful in this regard. The demanding par-five 14th, running alongside the railway line, acts as the fluent transgression back to the flatter closing stretch.

Between four and fourteen Panmure has everything a golfer could dream of and as for the rest of the holes nothing a links connoisseur will not appreciate. Playing from the tight, almost glassy fairways gives that crisp feeling only good quality seaside turf can provide, the touches of heather add a wonderful texture to the course and the moderately undulating hillocks add visual appeal as well as imparting their strategic influence.

Panmure is an understated, discrete, handsome and distinguished links with a certain amount of panache and one that should form an essential part of any golfing itinerary when playing in this part of the country.

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