Montrose Links – The 1562 Course

Nestled along Scotland’s beautiful north eastern coastline within the charming seaside town of Montrose, the 1562 course at Montrose Golf Links holds a prestigious title as the fifth oldest golf course in the world, with records showing that the sport has been played here since the year of its name.

In this blog post, we share some of the history and highlights of this outstanding golf course on the Old Tom Morris trail, as well as the area’s many attractions for visitors and locals alike…

Montrose Links
AddressTraill Dr, Montrose DD10 8SW, Scotland
Location Montrose / Angus & Dundee
Style Links
Length6,547 yards
World Ranking44th

Course design

The 1562 course has been described as “a magnificent stretch of marvellously natural ground”, with rolling fairways, fast greens and the easterly coastal winds that would dare any keen golfer who’s up for a challenge. 

As a classic Scottish links course, the 1562 provides a testing round even for a proficient golfer. The design features rugged surroundings of gorse and sand dunes, elevated tee positions, deep bunkers and plenty of outstanding greens, with incredible views of the Angus coastline accompanying you in the first half of the course. 

The course begins with a generous fairway to the first hole and stunning scenery as the first 9 holes lie parallel to the North Sea. Holes 10 to 13 turn inland before heading back towards the sea slightly for the final 5, with the course laid out in an unusual T-shape. 

Course history

Although golf has been played here since 1562, and received Royal patronage in 1845 by Prince Albert, it wasn’t until 1863 that Old Tom Morris transformed the course to an 18-hole design. After some modifications in the years that followed, the 1562 course follows the same layout as that which was brought to life by Harry Colt in 1913. 

The exhilarating challenge this course presents has been showcased a number of times in the golfing world. In 1967 and 1970 Montrose hosted the Scottish Professional Championship, as well as the Final Qualifying for the Open Championship in Carnoustie in 1999 and 2007.

To mark the return of the Open Championship in Carnoustie, the course was renamed from the former “medal” to the 1562 Course we know it as today. This paid tribute to the year the course became a golfing ground when the son of a local minister was recorded as being taught the game at the age of 6 by Reverend William Gray, thus giving Montrose its title as the 5th oldest golf course in the world.

Regional history

Situated on the mouth of the River South Esk, Montrose became a prosperous North Sea port and market town, known for jam-making and jute-processing. The town was named a royal burgh in 1352, after King Edward I of England surrendered Scotland here in 1296. Although he is one of Scotland’s lesser known historical icons, James Graham, Earl of Montrose, was one of the country’s greatest heroes who fearlessly led a number of victories on behalf of King Charles I. 

During the 1900s, the tower of Lochside Distillery became a prominent structure to the north of the town. It was a unique piece of architecture in Scotland which resembled the design of German breweries. Montrose is also home to Britain’s first operational military airfield which was established in 1913 and reopened in WWII, with a part of it now belonging to the Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre. 

Local hospitality and retail

Where to stay

Montrose offers some excellent hotels to make your stay in this seaside town one to remember. The Links Hotel is a beautiful Victorian building right on the edge of the golf course and just a few minutes from the town centre, with a cosy bar, outstanding restaurant and coffee shop. 

Another charming family run hotel is Grey Harlings, which offers excellent hospitality, stunning views over the golf course and a lovely beer garden – perfect for unwinding after a day on the dunes!

For a more authentic experience, Montrose has a number of lovely guesthouses and B&Bs to give you a little slice of home during your stay here. Some of the town’s finest guesthouses include The Limes Guest House, The Hermitage and Gardener’s Cottage to name just a few.

Where to eat

Nestled among this relaxed, coastal town, you’ll find a diverse range of places to eat and drink in Montrose. With a classic sports bar menu and fantastic pub grub, Sharkys Bar & Diner offers a diverse range of food and entertainment in the heart of Montrose – a perfect retreat after a day on the links. Other excellent bars in Montrose include Northern Vaults and Diamond Lils.

Stroma Bistro is a lovely, family-run restaurant which has become a much-loved venue for its home-cooked dishes and fresh produce used, while Ma Yom Thai Restaurant offers delicious flavours of the far east and Roo’s leap provides a tasty fusion of Scottish and Australian steakhouse dining.

For a casual lunch or morning coffee, Pavilion Café is a delightful venue converted from the town’s former Victorian Bowling pavilion. With yummy cakes and sweet treats, as well as freshly made meals, this is not one to be missed.

Where to shop

At the core of Montrose is a thriving high street with a museum and art gallery that showcase the town’s rich history – from the earliest archaeological discoveries to the Jacobite risings – and talented local artists.

Hidden in the Angus countryside, just a 10 minute drive from Montrose, is the much loved House of Farnell – a unique gift and coffee shop which specialises in Danish/Scandinavian homeware. Inside you’ll find a huge array of sophisticated products – and the Danish pastries in the coffee shop are a must-try!

Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Scotland without a visit to some of the fascinating distilleries across the country – and Montrose is home to a few. Arbikie manufactures a range of premium Scottish spirits, and is home to a limited edition rye whisky. For fine malt whiskies you can also explore Glencadam or Glenesk distilleries, or discover Black Thistle distillery and Gin Bothy for superior gin and vodka. 

Iconic landmarks

The town remains a popular destination for visitors, with a charming old town centre, a museum and art gallery, as well as a thriving nature reserve thanks to what is known as the Basin. This almost landlocked lagoon of mud on the edge of the town is home to wildfowl and birds, who can be spotted from the Montrose Basin Wildlife Centre. You can also enjoy the views from the renowned Langley Park Gardens, with its beautiful wild flower meadow and pond. 

For more of the great outdoors, you can wander along the golden sands of Montrose Beach or the promenade and view the Scurdie Ness Lighthouse. Just 3 miles south of Stonehaven you’ll find Boddin point and Lunan Bay, each with breathtaking views over the north sea.

The best photo spots

  • Montrose Basin
  • Scurdie Ness Lighthouse
  • House of Dunbar
  • Montrose Beach
  • Langley Park Gardens
  • Boddin Point Lime Kilns
  • Ferryden Viaduct

Our top tips for playing this course

  • Hit it low and avoid ending in the North Sea
  • The Church spire provides the perfect line for the 18th green 
  • Be prepared for a tough few closing holes! 
  • Don’t be short at the 3rd.
  • Stunning coastal views of the North Sea on the first few holes. 
  • Longest par 3 on the Old Tom Morris Trail

Watch Stephen Proctor’s Montrose Dispatch here

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