You have every right to fear the Championship Course at Carnoustie Golf Links. After all, the Championship Course is considered not only one of the toughest courses in the Open rota, but in the whole world. It even inspired a psychological term, the Carnoustie effect, which is defined as “That degree of metal and psychic shock experience on collision with reality by those whose expectations are founded on false assumptions.”
The Championship Course has been penalizing the false assumptions of golfers since 1842, when it first began to take shape as a 10-hole course laid out by Allan Robertson, though golf was already being played across this linksland as far back as 1527. Old Tom Morris, who helped Robertson, returned 15 years later in 1867 to extend the course to 18 holes.
James Braid made modifications to the course in 1926, a few years before Carnoustie would host its first Open Championship in 1931. It hasn’t changed much since then, though the course was modified once more in 1999 in anticipation of The Open held there later that same year.
Famous Open winners at Carnoustie include Cotton, Hogan, Player, and Watson. Ben Hogan one his first Open in 1953, the only one he played in. More recent winners include Lawrie, Harrington, and Molinari.
The 1999 Open was a particularly brutal one, with the inherent difficulty of the Championship Course supplemented by bouts of bad weather. The course knocked many of the world’s best players down a peg, including the then-19-year-old Sergio Garcia, who was left crying in his mother’s arms after shooting 89 and 83 in the first two rounds. Suffice it to say that you’ll have a better time at Carnoustie than he did.